County Board Agrees to Work on Refinancing Bonds

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Published on August 20 2012 10:06 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham County board members Monday voted to work with King's Financial Consultants on refinancing bonds sold to pay for the County Government Center.

The firm believes the County can save a considerable amount of money by refinancing the bonds.  However, there was a suggestion at Monday's meeting to use some of the savings to pay for a couple of other projects.

Board member Larry Vahling suggested some of the savings be used to purchase an aviation fuel tank for the county airport.  Vahling also suggested some of the savings could pay for the bridge to improve communications between county and city law enforcement officers when they are out of their vehicles. 

The motion was to move ahead with the refinancing and to look at the additional options and it was approved unanimously.

The Board also discussed whether to pay a third of the cost of a feasibility study as to whether there should be one or two 911 dispatching points.  The matter was tabled, the same action taken earlier this month by the 911 Board.

Board member Jeff Simpson, who serves with Jim Niemann as the Board members on an ad-hoc committee looking at the feasibility question, said until an outside source looks at the matter, local officials won't know what to do.

Niemann said the County can't afford the study, but said it's the only way to find out whether the current system is the best.

Board member Wayne Russell wondered about waiting until new equipment guidelines are rolled out including next generation hardware and software that would allow 911 calls to be sent by text or other interactive technology.

Board member Rob Arnold said he's still going through the available information and asked for another month before he has to vote on the question.

Former Board member and former 911 Board member Charlie Voelker asked why the system would be changed when it is working as it is.  Some have suggested that the system could be operated more economically than is now the case.

The motion to table was approved, but only on a 7-2 vote with Vahling and Board member Karen Luchtefeld voting No.

The Board also considered approving a contract with a firm for electric aggregation consulting work for the County, but the matter was tabled. 

Jeff Haarmann of Affordable Gas and Electric said his firm is up for approval by the Illinois Commerce Commission as a broker for the aggregation program and asked for his firm to be considered.  Russell said he'd like for some clarification on some issues, and Simpson said some information on the issue is yet to be received, leading to the motion to table.

The Board voted to maintain the multi-township assessment districts in the same alignment for the next 10 years, and also drew to see how the terms of the various County Board districts would be filled for the next 10 years.  Districts B, C, D and G will have two-year, four-year and four-year terms, while Districts A, E, F, H and I will have four-year, four-year and two-year terms.

The Board approved a $360 ad on a map for the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce on a 5-4 vote, with members Russell, Campbell, Arnold and Bob Shields voting No.  It was also decided to table a decision on a new copier contract until they get word on whether they have to let the work out for bids.

The Board accepted the annual audit from West and Company, but Vahling said recommendations made the firm for the past several years haven't been acted on and he suggested it was time to get with it on the issues.

Board members approved mutual aid agreements with the Illinois Coroners Association; and okayed some appointments, including Jeff Evans as a trustee of the Tri-County Fire Protection District replacing Paul Bauer, Logan Mellendorf as a trustee of the Lucas Township Drainage District, and Dr. Henry Poterucha and Dorothy Behrns to terms on the County Board of Health.  The Board also concurred in the award of a contract to Perry County Construction to replace a bridge on 250th Avenue, west of Edgewood, for $171,975.  Federal funds will cover 80% of the cost, 16% will come from State funds, and County and Township funds will each cover 2% of the cost.

Arnold reported that the dedication of the Poor Farm Cemetery at Effingham County Memorial Airport is tentatively set for September 23.