Friday, Dec. 17


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New board sets about the business of the county

A look at juvenile detention costs

[DEC. 17, 2004]  It's a new fiscal year, and a new board mulled over business of the county at the courthouse last evening. Mostly things were the same, but it was a bit like hearing an old familiar song sung by new voices. Bob Farmer conducted the meeting as the new chairman of the board, replacing Dale Voyles. Gloria Luster is vice chairman. Previous committee chairmen occasionally came to the aid of new chairmen as they did their reporting.

One chair changed out. George Mitchell took his place at the table. He replaces Dr. David Hepler, who served eight years.

The board discussed several issues and took straw votes that will be put to final vote on Tuesday.

Getting a grip on juvenile delinquent costs

In an effort to hold down juvenile detention costs, finance committee chairman Chuck Ruben announced that the county would take out a new contract to use 120 days in the next year at a rate of $80 per day with McLean County. Contracting use reduces the rate from the standard $110 per day.

The county alternates use of McLean and Peoria juvenile holding facilities. Both have benefits. The Peoria rate is higher at $115 "per bed," but the cost includes pickup and return to Logan County, including for court hearings as needed. There are no extra transportation costs for vehicle use or deputy time.

The use of the McLean County facility does not include transportation. Transportation is usually supplied by the Logan County Sheriff's Department and is estimated to cost about $70 to $80 per trip.

The use of electronic bracelet monitoring has greatly reduced juvenile holding time. Numbers of days in detention have dropped dramatically since its implementation. In 2002 there were 1,407 days of juvenile detention. The figure was down to 892 days in 2003. By 2004 only 475 days were used.

A judge may order a parent to be responsible for transportation. Sheriff Steve Nichols said that he would support this, as it would not only keep deputies on the streets, but just as importantly, it might give parents time to be with their kid. And some good communication might come from it when they have to spend time riding in the car together, he said.

It is estimated that about two-thirds of the parents would be able to comply. In cases where the parent cannot supply transportation or if a youth is difficult to handle, then a deputy could be ordered.

The duck company talks

All county employees will be presented information by AFLAC. Representatives meet with employees one-on-one for a brief overview of select insurance opportunities. Five plans have been pre-selected: accident, disability, cancer, hospitalization and personal recovery treatments. Employees will be given literature on each plan, and then it is up to them if they want to participate in one or more of the programs.

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This is supplemental insurance that the employee pays. Payments are taken out of paychecks and would help the county save on payroll taxes.

Airport grounds improvement

Phase one of a two-year transportation improvement plan on the airport grounds was approved. This year a drainage pipe will laid and graded over. The cost will be $7,400.

Animal caretakers

Annual appointments for positions in animal control were tentatively approved. Continuing in their current positions will be Vickie Loafman as warden, Sheri Roos as assistant warden and Dr. Lester Thompson as administrator.

County courthouse centennial

Logan County Courthouse centennial plans continue. Paul Gleason heads that endeavor, which includes many details, such as souvenirs. The company handling the production of a small replica of the courthouse is excited about the cannon and the Indian maiden they saw in pictures they received. They think those are interesting and are going to try to incorporate them into the models.

Hot air

Bill Sahs said that he will be working with the new chamber of commerce president, Patrick Doolin, and the vice president, Mary Conrady, on plans for the art and balloon fest. Sahs serves on the county board airport committee. 2005 will be the first year that the hot-air balloon portion of the festival will be held on the grounds of the Logan County Airport.

New committees gone to work

Board members each serve on committees chosen in accordance with their skills and talents. They receive $35 a day plus 30 cents per mile travel expense to attend committee meetings. Past chairman Voyles reorganized committees so that members would have most if not all of their meetings one after the other on the same day.

[New committee assignments]

[Jan Youngquist]

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