Wednesday, July 17

County budget picture improves

[JULY 17, 2002]  Logan County revenues in July came more nearly into line with budget projections, and expenditures are still being held below expectations. Budget hearings for fiscal year 2002-2003 begin in August.

County board Finance Committee member Roger Bock reported Tuesday night that fees collected have jumped to reach the 58 percent of budget expected after seven months. Income tax numbers also rose but are still 4 percent, or $109,000, short of budget projections. Worst on the revenue side is interest earned, which is running at 32 percent of the amount budgeted for the year. The result is that interest is $65,000 short of where it was expected to be at this time.

Fortunately, expenses also fall short of budget projections. Expenditures have been held to 46 percent of the year’s budget, according to Dale Voyles of the Finance Committee. "Everybody’s done a terrific job of holding expenses down," he said. The result is that outgo so far is $250,000 less than expected for seven months into the year.

Officials are being asked to keep their requests for fiscal year 2002-3 within their current budgets. Hearings for the new budget begin Aug. 26.

On the negative side for next year, the Illinois Department of Revenue estimates that Logan County will receive $210,000 in replacement tax during the fiscal year that began July 1. This is $57,000 less than the $267,000 budgeted for replacement tax during 2001-2002. Since the county’s fiscal year begins Dec. 1, the cut may also impact this year’s receipts. The replacement tax replaces what the county used to receive from personal property tax before the current state constitution came into effect.


In other financial news, the county’s tab for a recently settled suit against a sheriff’s deputy is $7,400. Mark Gleason’s civil case against Sheriff Deputy Robert Spickard has been settled, and the county owes $7,400 for Gleason’s attorney. The county’s liability policy paid for Spickard’s defense and the settlement but not for the prevailing party’s attorney. [Click here for story.]

The board unanimously awarded bids for improvements at Logan County Airport to two companies: $4,060 to P.H. Broughton & Sons for the county’s share in reconstructing and extending taxiways, and two bids of $3,278 and $1,273 to Twin Builders Construction for installing a waterline. Total cost is $47,832 for the taxiways and $56,705 for the waterline, with federal and state governments paying most of the bill. Airport Committee chair Roger Bock said bids were considerably under estimates, allowing the county to contract for both projects when only the taxiways were budgeted.

In other airport news, Damon Smith of Hanson Professional Services discussed long-range plans covering "what the county owns and would like to own and operate in 10 to 20 years." Currently the airport has a 4,000-foot paved runway running northeast-southwest and a 2,700-foot grass runway going northwest-southeast.

Smith showed sketches of three ways to build a 5,000-foot runway, needed by many corporate jets:

•  Extend the paved runway at each end. Bock said the steeple of the Lincoln Christian College chapel is "the limiting factor" on the northeast end, and "10 houses would have to come out" if this option is chosen.

•  Extend and pave the grass runway. No homes would be impacted, but as with other options, a road would have to be rerouted.

•  Build a new east-west runway. This option would mean removing more than 10 homes and would require an environmental impact study.

If expansion is contemplated, an airport layout plan must be submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration. "It would be shortsighted to leave on file the current airport plan with no expansion," Smith warned. White said a larger airport is a draw to economic development.


[to top of second column in this article]

An airport layout plan would include areas for business development. "A business park and airport can easily coexist," Smith said. Although familiar with the proposed north-side commerce park, he seemed unaware of the feasibility study for a golf course at the airport. In response to a question, Smith said a course could be included, though it would limit the options.

The issue of long-range plans was returned to the Airport Committee. Bock indicated that he would like to see more complete workups for at least the first two options.

In a zoning matter, the board deferred voting on adding two sites to the Lincoln/Logan County Enterprise Zone until after a public hearing. At last Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting, zoning officer Bud Miller, representing Regional Planning Commissioner Phil Mahler, asked for the properties of Logan Lanes and American Legion Post 263 to be included in the enterprise zone.

Both sites are located near the intersection of Fifth Street Road and Lincoln Parkway and are adjacent to property already in the zone. The purpose of the zone is to encourage job creation. Inclusion in the zone means savings on increased real estate taxes for 10 years, no building permit fee and no sales tax on building materials purchased in Lincoln and the unincorporated county. A hearing is set for 7 p.m. on Aug. 7.

Closing another issue raised at Thursday’s meeting, the county board voted 9-3 to change liability agents from J.L. Hubbard of Decatur, represented by Greg Nussbaum, to Callender & Co. of Peoria, represented by Jerry Palmer of Lincoln. Insurance Committee chair Dale Voyles, Bock and Rod White dissented. Lloyd Hellman was absent from the meeting.

In a special called meeting Friday the board renewed its liability coverage with St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company for $116,410, an increase of about 45 percent over last year’s premium including $4,200 for additional coverage for personnel and hiring practices. The special meeting was needed because the previous policy expired July 15.


In a memo, Gayle Neuman of the Illinois Department of Insurance gave the opinion that, because of an invalid renewal notice, St. Paul must renew the policy with a premium increase of less than 30 percent. This would mean a savings of about $13,000. Palmer said he would try to get the lower rate. If he is unsuccessful, county board chair Dick Logan said the board will file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Insurance.

In an update, Tony Campbell, vice president of Cornbelt Energy, confirmed that his company is still committed to building an Elkhart power plant. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Air, will conduct a public hearing on Aug. 1 at the Elkhart grade school gymnasium to receive comments on environmental impact of the proposed plant.

The plant will be owned by a partnership of Cornbelt Energy (51 percent), Wabash Valley Power Association of Indiana (25 percent), Turris Coal (12 percent) and EnerStar Power of Paris, Ill. (12 percent).

Campbell reported that some land has been purchased for the well field, three wells are in, and four more will be added. He said the qualifying stage for the plant is complete and he hopes to advertise for a contractor in two months and to break ground in late 2002 or early 2003. Department of Energy grants dictate a maximum gross generation of 91 megawatts, with a final output of 82 megawatts.

[Lynn Shearer Spellman]

$1 billion borrowing plan
sold at competitive rate

State credit rating remains high

[JULY 17, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — Gov. George Ryan announced Tuesday that the state borrowed $1 billion at an attractive 1.43 percent to help the state pay overdue bills. The state received a total of 44 bids on the four separate maturities that total $1 billion in short-term certificates, sold through a competitive bidding process. The low winning bids for the four pieces were submitted by Bank One, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Lehman Brothers.

The state will repay the certificates on or before June 15, 2003. Funds from the certificate sale will be on hand July 23, 2002.

"With the money the state receives from this borrowing, we can catch up on overdue bills to vendors, including health care providers, and pay income tax refunds," Gov. Ryan said.

On June 28, the governor reached an agreement with Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and Comptroller Dan Hynes for the state to borrow $1 billion. The agreement of all three officials is required for the state to do short-term borrowing.

The certificates were attractive to investors due in part to the credit ratings on the certificates. All three credit rating agencies gave the certificates their highest possible rating for short-term debt.

  On Wednesday, the state will sell its first, long-term general obligation bonds of the new fiscal year in a negotiated sale led by UBS PaineWebber Inc.

All three rating agencies also recently have reaffirmed the state’s long-term general obligation bonds credit rating. Fitch Ratings maintained its AA-plus rating, noting in its comment that the state had enacted an "austere budget." Standard & Poor’s maintained its AA rating, highlighting the state’s "adequate financial condition and moderate debt levels." Moody’s Investors Service also maintained the state’s AA rating, and commented that with "very restrained spending" in the adopted fiscal year 2003 budget, the state has restored structural balance between revenues and expenditures after revenue shortfalls in the past year.

[Illinois Government News Network
press release]

Tuesday, July 30

6:00 pm

- Bargain Night

     --All rides take 1 ticket

- Veterans Pass in Review - (Grandstand)

7:30 pm

- Logan County Queen Pageant

Wednesday, July 31

9:00 am

- Open Horse Show

7:30 pm

- Talent Contest

Thursday, August 1

1:30 pm

- Harness Racing

6:00 pm - closing

- Luehr's Ideal Rides Ride-A-Thon Night

6:30 pm

- Tractor Pull

Friday, August 2

1:30 pm

- Harness Racing

- Senior Citizens Day

7:30 pm

- 4-H Night-- Calf, Pig, Chicken & Goat Scrambles

Saturday, August 3

8:00 am

- 3 on 3 Basketball

- Chili Cook-off

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

- Carnival Opens--"Kids Bargain Afternoon"

1:00 pm

- Kids Day--South end of Fairgrounds,

     Special Events Building

- Harness Racing

7:00 pm

- Country Music Show--Wade Dooley

Sunday, August 4

1:00 pm

- Harness Racing--Downstate Classic Day

- Luehr's Ideal Rides Family Day

     --All rides take 1 ticket

2:00 pm

- 4-H Livestock Auction

6:00 pm

- Demolition Derby

Articles from the past week


  • Hearing brings overwhelming support for LDC

  • LDC support letter submitted to IHFPB by Mayor Beth Davis

  • Council accepts bid and approves budget


  • ALMH among top 10 percent of hospitals surveyed  (Business)
  • History and lessons offered on Underground Railroad signal quilts


  • Five criteria used to evaluate closure of LDC

  • Two out of every five Americans involved (Health)


  • Appellate court lifts LDC injunction; AFSCME appeals to state Supreme Court

  • County narrowly averts insurance lapse


  • Leaving LDC:
    Trauma for residents and their families

  • Mount Pulaski flips switch


  • City wants railway wait station kept open

  • City receives award for water treatment plant

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