County Board Splits on 911 Agreement

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Published on October 15 2012 9:47 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Members of the Effingham County Board Monday split 4-4 on a new agreement with the City of Effingham and the Effingham County 911 Board on what 911 would pay the City and County for supplying telecommunicators.

911 now pays the City and County each $65,000 a year.  The new proposal was for the rate to stay at $65,000 for the next year so 911 would have enough in its budget to conduct an efficiency study and then increase to $85,000 the next year and then increase by 2% each year.

There was opposition to the idea from some on the County Board.  Jim Niemann asked where was the 911 Board in the year that the County and City had a committee operating to study whether 911 should go from two to one public dispatching points?  911 did not participate in the committee that studied the issue.  Others said that if the study isn't undertaken, 911 would have more money to pay the increased subsidy this year.

The vote on the proposal saw Chairman Carolyn Willenburg and members Jeff Simpson, Karen Luchtefeld and Larry Vahling voting in favor and members Rob Arnold, Wayne Russell, Niemann and Dave Campbell voting against.  Board member Bob Shields was not present for the meeting.  The decision means there is no agreement in place upon the expiration of the current measure.

The City Council is also scheduled to vote on the proposal.

County board members voted to sell general obligation debt certificates at an interest rate of 1.99% to pay off the cost of the Effingham County Government Center.  The certificates' lower interest rate will save the County $281,000 in interest and will be paid off in five years.

The Board laid over a proposed fiscal year budget calling for more income than outgo in the General Fund portion of the blueprint by about $2,500.  Simpson, the Budget Committee Chairman, said the measure does include raises to union employees and to non-union employees already approved.

The University of Illinois Extension budget, including $94,000 from Effingham County, was approved; there was no news to report on an application and budget for Central Illinois Public Transit, as the State continues to drag its feet on the agreement; and a per-capita contribution to South Central Illinois Regional Planning and Development Commission of $3,456 was okayed.

The Board tabled a proposal to charge offenders in jail for participating in the work release program.  Local attorney Scott Ealy said if the fee is charged, it'll take a lot of the income the inmates are earning and could discourage them from working.  Ealy said many won't see the sense in working and just serve out their sentence in jail.  He said those that would suffer would be the children of the offenders due to less household income in their homes and the victims of crime who will likely have to wait longer to be reimbursed.

The Board approved purchasing additional phone lines through a phone card plan; approved an agreement with National Road Association of Illinois for an informational kiosk to be placed on the lawn of the old Courthouse; named Charles Voelker to the County Board of Health; approved a plat of Jaiden Acres Subdivision near the southeast corner of Moccasin Road and Illinois Route 128; and heard from Arnold that the Poor Farm Cemetery will again be open for tours this Sunday, the 21st, from 1:30 to 2:30pm.

County Clerk Kerry Hirtzel said that the State Board of Elections will conduct a random test of county voting equipment Tuesday and that the Public Test of the equipment will take place at 9am this Thursday.  County Treasurer Steve Dasenbrock said the last distribution of property tax revenue should take place in a couple of weeks.