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By Carissa Sitki
The Jersey County Board met for their monthly meeting, last Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m., where they approved several purchases to be made using Public Safety Sales Tax funds.
The approved purchases were radios for the jail in the amount of $4,144.58 from Global Technical Systems (GTS) in Jacksonville, IL; the purchase and installation of surveillance cameras for the jail in the amount of $49,709, also from GTS; as well as a license plate reader for the Sheriff’s department in the amount of $20,043.40 and an additional $1,385.05 for a real-time setting for the camera.
Currently, there is not a radio system at the jail, according to Board Member Mark Wagner, who emphasized the necessity of the purchase. “At this time [the jailers] have no radio system, no way of communicating,” he said.
Updating the jail’s camera system is also overdue, asserted Wagner. “The current system is outdated,” he said.
The new cameras will be installed throughout the entire jail building, with a few being placed outside.
During the meeting’s public comment, Jeff Ferguson approached the Board with questions about the use of the Public Safety Sales Tax funds. Ferguson questioned where the money, collected from this tax, has been going and implored the Board to conduct an audit to provide proof of appropriate use of the Public Safety Sales Tax dollars. “I would request, on behalf of the Jersey County tax payers, that this Board takes immediate action to ensure that a full forensic audit is done since the inception of this Public Safety Sales Tax,” he said, “to give us a full accounting of every dollar that has been raised.”
Following the meeting, Director of Public Safety Keith Norman told the Journal that, from what he has seen, the money has been used “very appropriately” for public safety-related expenses. He cited several major uses of the funds, including the aforementioned jail updates, among others. “The Public Safety Sales Tax also helped to fund the new quint fire truck,” he said.
There will be $10,000 per year, starting this year, coming from the Public Safety Sales Tax, to fund the new E-One 75’ quint (engine and ladder) fire truck.
Norman added that he believes collecting the money in the form of sales tax is beneficial since quality public safety benefits everyone in the county, including visitors.
A grant application request from the Downtown Country Christmas Festival was approved by the Board. The grant is in the amount of $4,500.00. The festival is set to take place on Nov. 27, this year.
Following closed session, the Board approved the appointment of Keith Norman to serve as the Emergency Services and Disaster Administration Director. The motion carried 10-2, with Board members Eric Ivers and Gary Krueger voting no.
Also following closed session was the approval of a resolution to uphold a grievance filed by the United Steelworkers Union against Circuit Clerk Daniel Schetter. The motion carried 11-1, with Board member Ed Koenig voting no.
Earlier in the evening, during public comments, the grievance against Schetter was addressed by Terrie Kallal. She spoke in support of Schetter, reading an impassioned letter to the Board on behalf of herself and others in the community. Kallal’s statements to the Board began with, “I am here to tell you how disappointed I am in many of you. Many of us continue to hear about the dissension being instigated against Circuit Clerk Danny Schetter and other elected officials. I am not sure if this is a power struggle, petty jealousy, political division, or what, but it is childish and must stop.”
The letter continues, “Mr. Schetter’s job is difficult enough without having to side-step every move because the Board throws up blockades. Let him manage his own staff. Let him deal with Union contracts as he is supposed to by law. Let him have an office, as the previous Circuit Clerk, Mr. Huebner did. This is ridiculous!”
Kallal’s letter finished with, “You need to set the example! You need to get along! You need to let these elected officials do their jobs without obstructing them!”
The Board thanked Kallal for her comments.
In other business, the Board approved:
– The ratification of collective bargaining agreement with the highway workers, including a three percent raise, four year contract, and a $200 steel toe boot allowance per year.
– Tax abatement ordinance for General Obligation Bonds (Series 2021) for fiscal year 2022 for newer bond series.
– Tax abatement ordinance for General Obligation Bonds (Series 2016) for fiscal year 2022 for jail remodel bonds.
– Permanent parcels in order to get deeds to new owners. Parcel numbers: 00539; 04-810-011-00; 08-060-051-00; 07-169-009-00; 07-076-005-50.
– Authorization to engage the services of the Public Group/Public Surplus.com for the purpose of the listing and sale of any surplus property from Jersey County. There is no cost to Jersey County to list and sell surplus property.
– An ordinance amending county of Jersey Ordinance No. 16-3, to amend territory of the Jersey-Greene Intermodal enterprise zone.
– An amendment to the intergovernmental agreement between the City of Jerseyville, the City of Grafton, the Village of Brighton, the City of Roodhouse, the Village of Godfrey, the County of Jersey, and the County of Greene.
– The Animal Control Report for September 2021.
– Committee minutes of September 2021: Road and Bridge– Sept. 7; County Service Offices and Public Safety– Sept. 7; Personnel– Sept. 8; Liquor– Sept. 9; Claims– Sept. 14; County Service Offices and Public Safety– Sept. 15; Personnel– Sept. 28.
The Jersey County Board is scheduled to meet again on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Jersey County Administrative Building, 200 N. LaFayette St., Jerseyville, IL.