County Board changes meeting nights
If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By Carmen Ensinger
The Greene County Board has met on the second Wednesday of the month for at least the last 20 years, but in April all of that will change as the board voted to change the meeting night to Thursday night at their March 8 meeting.
Changes began taking place after the new board members took their seats after the last election. The board has always had committee meetings on the Monday afternoon prior to the Wednesday night full board meeting. For a brief time, these meetings were changed to early morning, but they were quickly changed back to the 2 p.m. start time when committee members found it hard to make the early morning meetings.
However, when the new board members came in, one board member had a conflict with the Monday afternoon meeting time. In fact, many of them didn’t like Monday at all. At first, they settled on early Friday morning, but one board member had a conflict with that day so it was changed to Thursday.
Now, board members are saying Thursday is too far from the Wednesday meeting and that the committee meetings were held one week and the board meeting another week.
The purpose of the committee meetings are for the specific committees, in this case the Transportation, Judiciary and Finance committees to meet and discuss items they want to bring to the full board to vote on. Because the agenda for a government meeting must be posted 48 hours in advance, this means that these committee meetings must be held at least two days prior to the meeting.
Since Monday is out because of a board member conflict and Tuesday is less than 48 hours from board meeting day on Wednesday, the only option was to move the board meeting date.
So, effective with the April meeting, the board “temporarily approved” the committee meetings to be held on the Tuesday preceding the second Thursday of the month, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the board meeting will be held on the second Thursday beginning at 7 p.m.
For those interested, this is also the same time that the Greenfield Council and the Carrollton Council meet – the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.
Speaking of committee meetings, the Transportation Committee discussed the new tandem truck that had been discussed several months ago. At first, the county was looking at possibly a wait of a year or more for a truck. Highway Engineer Aaron Haverfield said they might be able to get one a lot sooner now.
“I got a call from the dealer in Springfield and they got an extra allotment of trucks for this season,” Haverfield said. “They now have half a dozen truck openings so we could have one by the end of summer.”
This truck isn’t exactly what the county had wanted as it’s a Freightliner and the county usually goes with an International.
“However, we wouldn’t have to wait two seasons like we were looking at before,” Haverfield said. “The last time I talked to the guy at the dealership, he didn’t think something like this was going to happen.”
This dealership goes through Sourcewell so the county would not have to go through the bidding process.
“We had talked about upgrading the bridge truck and the one they had at Morrow Brothers they ended up selling,” Haverfield said. “They ended up posting it on Facebook and it was sold within a couple weeks.”
Haverfield said the bridge truck might seek out another year if they get this tandem truck.
“I think we might just get through another season if we get a tandem,” he said. “The bridge truck needs upgrading for sure, but we can hold out. So, if we have an option to get a tandem this year, we can hold off another year to get a bridge truck.”
No decision was made on the truck at this time. The board did, however, decide to use ARPA money to make some upgrades at the highway department, including upgrading to new LED lighting, installing 5 new garage doors and two new ceiling fans to circulate the heat and air conditioning.
“For the lighting, I priced some off of the internet and the lowest I could find was $170 per light and we need 18 lights,” Haverfield said. “I think we can do the work ourselves because we just basically take down the old one and wire in the new one. The bid we had to install them was ridiculously high.”
Of the five garage doors, none of the garage door openers work – they must be opened manually, meaning the guys must get out of the truck to open the door, get back in the truck, pull it in, then close the door.
“Last year someone got a quote for $11,000, but I got a bid from Alton to buy all new garage door openers for all five doors – the doors are fine,” Haverfield said. “Plus, they will readjust the springs and set the whole thing up for $7,500.”
The third and final item was for two very large reversible ceiling fans that will circulate the heat and air conditioning in the large building. The cost of each is under $1,000 each. All of the above items are eligible to be purchased with ARPA funds.
During the Finance Committee meeting, States Attorney Caleb Briscoe reported that he received almost $21,000 in funds to be used for opioid prevention.
“I thought the county would be receiving five years of small checks, but instead, last week I received a check for $20,780 which Kirby (Treasurer Ballard) has put in a separate account),” Briscoe said. “This money has to be used for opioid treatment, prevention or things of that nature.”
Briscoe said that one of the stipulations that goes along with the money is that a committee has to be formed to oversee the use of the money.
“I would think that the Health Department would want to be a part of that and I would recommend someone from law enforcement because they see the impact it has on people,” Briscoe said. “I would also recommend someone from the Probation Department because we deal with it in the court system because they know how best to spend that money.”
Board Chairman Andrea Schnelten told Briscoe she thought the problem was already taken care of.
“There is a Mental Health Committee already formed and I don’t see why that committee can’t be used to oversee these funds because it is in line with what they were formed for,” Schnelten said. “They will need someone to fill out the compliance reports and I’m sure Molly (Public Health Administrator Peters) will do that.”
Greene County Circuit Judge Zachary Schmidt informed the Finance Committee that he received a technology modernization grant through Illinois Supreme Court in the amount of $93,457. The county received one last year as well in the amount of $73,000 so this one was substantially larger.
“A big chunk of this money, $45,000, is going to the Circuit Clerk’s office to update their services and backup,” Judge Schmidt said. “The rest of the money will go towards updating the speakers and microphones in both courtrooms and we are working to get the courtroom more electronic so we have less paper filing.”