The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by db Conard, The Quill
It took one minute and twenty-seven seconds to clear the first 7 items of the board's 18 point agenda Tuesday morning. Not one dissenting vote was heard throughout the entire Henderson County Board Meeting which was held in the Henderson County Courtroom in Oquawka.
Chairman Marty Lafary called the meeting to order and then it was all business as the must do agenda was taken care of.
Next came a report on the audit of the county's books. It was a clean opinion from the auditor which meant that the county's financial numbers were "fairly stated" which meant that the numbers added up and everyone could feel good about how the books are kept.
Millions of dollars were mentioned and and the report didn't indicate debt.
There was 2,431,929 dollars in cash and 1,570,988 dollars in investments.
These numbers reflected a difference of 171,000.00 dollars from the prior year, but does not reflect receivables due from the state which will reduce that amount significantly when the state catches up with its payments due the county.
The numbers seemed to reflect that the county is much better off than might have been expected considering the flood. County finances have been moving in a positive direction over the past two years. The auditor said there will be more figures available at the end of August that will help in determining next year's budget.
The rest of the items on the agenda included the county's need for storage shed repairs and a contractor that wouldn't return Skip Kelly's numerous phone calls.
The business definitely did not leave a good impression with a room full of board members and guests about the contractor's manner of doing business.
Kelly will continue to look for a solution for the storage problem.
The Sheriff's department contract was discussed and the new stipulation that it was now a requirement to be a union member to be a fulltime employee.
A closed shop is something that is allowed in Illinois but not in Iowa, it was said.
In addition to the contract a 4 percent cost of living raise was approved for the sheriff's department and for all other county employees.
Also, funding to enhance economic development was discussed and recommended to be added to the budget.
Of particular interest was the new interaction between the county and local churches which Marty said was proposed by Pastor Rev. Richard Johnson. This new team work has the potential for enhanced utilization of grants to help community members by using both church and government relief organizations. Marty stressed that although they would be working together, each would maintain separate funding sources in their cooperative efforts.
There has been exciting progress towards re-opening the Gladstone Lake for public use, Marty said.
Marty was excited to announce that the county will partner with Illinois DNR to get the Henderson County Conservation Area Gladstone Lake open again.
There have been numerous inquiries from citizens who are anxious to be back on the lake. Local business owners have inquired as well.
As funding in the state is a big issue, and resulting in many state park closures, this joint effort of the county and the DNR will be another part of making the county whole again after the flood.
In the new agreement the county will handle debris removal within the lake area using their heavy equipment, will take over mowing responsibilities, and will work with IDNR for relocating the ADA assessable toilet facilities.
Henderson County will upgrade the road to the hilltop area to improve access to the sight and the new toilet facilities.
The county will provide general assistance in that they will provide staff and equipment at the sight for the following general tasks:
A. Picnic tables
B. Move wooden pit privy structures
C. Remove hazardous tree limbs
D. Remove dead pine trees on campground site.
IDNR's responsibilities state that the DNR personnel will work closely with Henderson County to identify trees, hazardous limbs and debris.
In addition, the DNR site Superintendent will coordinate all efforts including local volunteers to repair the site according to the scope of work detailed in the FEMA project worksheets and to make the site accessible to the public.
Tony Newton, who oversees Big River Forest for IDNR will be working with Marty and the county on this project.
County board members are James Alexander, Marion Brown, Curt Eisenmayer, Catherine Good, Barbara Lumbeck, Terry Myers, Hugh Pence, Albert Renken, Robert Peterson, Richard Stewart and Chair Marty Lafary.
Minutes of the prior meeting on May 12th were approved showing that the board: