By ERIN SANSON
The March County board meeting saw a full board room, though it was certainly less of a crowd than the February meeting saw.
Several employees of Apex Energy were present at the meeting for the discussion of the wind farm ordinances and any contract questions the board may have had.
Several amendments were made and discussed to the Macoupin County Wind Energy Conversion Systems Siting Ordinance.
State’s Attorney Jordan Garrison met with attorneys representing Apex Clean Energy and the Macoupin County Farm Bureau to work out the ordinance in a way in which all three entities were satisfied. According to Garrison all but two of the proposed changes made by the Farm Bureau were adopted into the ordinance. The ordinance amended at this meeting will not be the final ordinance as it is not yet in compliance with Illinois State guidelines. A version that is in compliance with Illinois Statute is due near the end of May. One board member voted against the ordinance with the rest of the members voting to approve.
The board also approved an ordinance that would establish a policy regarding public hearings for Wind Permits. There were again several amendments made to the ordinance with input from both the Farm Bureau and Apex Energy. The ordinance was approved with no objections.
A resolution amending the general fund and special fund appropriations was passed by the board. The Grant Fund appropriation increased from $75,000 to $575,000 due to funds from the election excellence grant coming into the county’s budget. Another amendment added $20,000 to the Animal Control Fund from the General Fund so Animal Control has the cash to finish out the fiscal year. The third amendment increases the Drug Court Fund from $6,200 to $8,000 to account for in-person rather than virtual training sessions.
The board approved a resolution from the Macoupin County Farm Bureau in support of Macoupin County Agriculture.
A resolution allowing Macoupin County Public Transportation to apply for and be able to receive grant money to operate was approved. An ordinance was then passed allowing the transportation program to use funds from the Downstate Operating Assistance Grant.
The board also approved a resolution regarding work compensation for Law Enforcement. The resolution states that a report must be submitted to the County Clerk’s office quarterly stating any officers who are or had been receiving work comp. That report will then be sent on to the payroll company so the pay and taxes of the individual can be accurately recorded and disbursed.
The board decided to leave decisions regarding the maintenance and repair issues at the Animal Control Center to the Public Safety Committee rather than Buildings and Grounds. The Animal Control Center was also approved for a camera upgrade. There will be nine cameras installed, surveying the interior and exterior of the building and will allow for remote camera viewing. The system cost the county $6,900.
County Clerk Pete Duncan briefly reviewed the budget as the board is half way through its fiscal year. Around 50% of the total budget has been spent, which Duncan says is on track. The revenue has been a little lower than usual, only around 45%.
American Rescue Plan Funds were used to pay an invoice from the Jury Expense fund.
The board engaged Cummins Engineering to review any wind farm permits. An attorney has also been engaged for the review and implementation of the wind permits.
The County entered into a construction agreement for with HLR for the Brighton-Bunker Hill Road Project. The project will begin as soon as it can as the firm only has until April 1 for tree removal. The projected timeline to complete the project is Nov. 1 of this year. HLR will be replacing a 1.53 mile stretch of road, the bridge and the intersection.
A discussion was held over the creation of an Ambulance Oversight Committee, since the ambulance companies in Macoupin County are private entities that use public funds. All on the board agreed that there should be more oversight of the ambulance services. It was suggested that ambulance oversight be part of the Public Safety Committees area of responsibility.
Wesley Campbell and Lyle Stoecker were reappointed to three year terms on the Unit 7 Fire District Board ending in 2026.
Martin Jones was reappointed to the Virden Fire Protection Board for a three year term ending in 2026.
Duncan announced to the board members that financial disclosure forms can be filed online for the first time. Those interested in visiting the database can visit www.macoupincountyclerk.com and select ‘Statement of Economic Interest’ from the ‘Public Filings’ menu.
A notice from the Environmental Protection Agency was sent to the Board in regards to a landfill property to the south of Carlinville. The Macoupin County Board owns the landfill as a trustee since the taxes were never paid by the owner several years prior. The letter stated there were several areas of concern that needed to be addressed. The board voted to refer the issue to the
Buildings and Grounds Committee.
A culvert replacement project in North Otter was approved for $5,000.
Board members were reminded that the April County Board meeting will be held on Thurs. April 13 due to the Annual Township Meeting being held on the second Tuesday of April.