County Board Votes to Implement Fee to Benefit CASA

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Published on December 16 2013 10:42 pm
Last Updated on December 17 2013 11:17 am
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham County Board members Monday voted 8-1 to enact a $30 fee on certain court cases with the proceeds to go to Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA.

Board Chairman Jim Niemann voted against the motion, saying he wanted to "go slow" on the implementation of the fee.  The legislation enacting the fee option allowed county boards leeway to impose a fee of anywhere between $10 and $30.

The Board also voted to amend the County Nepotism Ordinance to include a $100 daily fine for a violation of the ordinance.  The ordinance is designed to restrict county department heads on the hiring of relatives.  The fine is not retroactive.

Board members heard from Regional Superintendent of Schools Julie Wollerman on the downsizing of regional education districts in Illinois from 44 to 35.  Wollerman said Montgomery and Christian counties are being lumped in with the Bond-Fayette-Effingham county regional office.  The changes are effective July 1, 2015.  Wollerman expects that each county will keep its regional office, but said there could be reductions in personnel.

The Board amended the salary schedule for the Chief Managing Officer of the County Probation Department as directed by the Courts.  The increase amounts to a little more than $300.  Also approved was a revised employee handbook that addresses concealed carry by county employees, and the employee leave act.  Board members also voted to oppose adoption of a House bill amending the Prevailing Wage Act.  Niemann said the change restricts bidders on construction projects to businesses with journeymen and apprentices programs.

The County Board approved three changes on the County Board of Health, appointing Dr. Ted Fifer to replace Dr. Henry Poterucha, Derek Sanders to replace Charles Voelker, and Carol Warfield to replace Bob Shields.  The Board also approved a preliminary engineering agreement on the replacement of a bridge one mile east of Altamont on 450th Street.  State funds will cover 80% of the cost and the remaining 20% will be split between the County and Mound Township.

Board members left mileage rates for vehicles used on County business to 50 cents per mile, awarded bids for rock needed for road maintenance projects, heard that the County tax sale will take place this Friday morning at 10:00 and that judgment on delinquent taxes will be sought in court Tuesday morning on around 200 parcels.  County Treasurer Steve Dasenbrock thinks the taxes on some of those parcels will be paid before the Tax Sale, but estimates that 150 to 160 parcels will still go through the sale.

The Board took time to honor Effingham High School sophomore Avery Braunecker for finishing in the Top Five in the state in both the 50 meter and 100 meter freestyle events at the State Swimming and Diving Meet earlier this fall, and honored Connie Sudkamp who is retiring after 20 years of service in the State's Attorney's Office.  Sudkamp noted she served during Kevin Parker's eight-year term and another 12 years for Ed Deters before Bryan Kibler took office a year ago.

(CONNIE SUDKAMP)