County Board discusses potential salary change, upcoming building projects
By ERIN SANSON
The April Macoupin County Board meeting was held on Thursday, April 13. The change in date was due to the annual Township meetings, some of which were held on Tuesday, when the County Board would normally meet.
Several issues were discussed, including project updates and agreements, potential salary changes and updates to the Animal Control ordinance and fees.
Attorney Parity Raise
Judge Ken Diehl and Public Defender Ann Clough were present to speak to members about the pay disparity between the First Assistant State’s Attorney and the First Assistant Public Defender. The salaries for both positions were set at $75,000 last summer. The Assistant State’s Attorney has since been given two raises totaling $32,500. The State’s Attorney had money in its budget to cover the pay increase. However the Assistant Public Defender is still being paid at the $75,000 rate and there is no room in the Public Defender’s budget to raise the Assistant’s rate.
Diehl and Clough proposed the Assistant Public Defender receive an extra $2,709 over the next five months to even out the pay. Board members say there is nowhere for the money to come from and that the Assistant State’s Attorney got the raises because there was room in that departments budget.
The Assistant Public Defender has only been with Macoupin County since Sept. 1, but has 32 years of experience including two terms as the Greene County State’s Attorney. In regards to the Assistant Public Defender’s experience, Deihl told the board that he had 32 plus years of experience that “We don’t want to lose, that we can’t replace.”
Board members suggested the Public Defender remain at the $75,000 pay and the issue will be reexamined when the budget process begins again. As the board continued discussing raising the pay Deihl also told members that he could not ask the Assistant Public Defender to remain for such little salary as he could take a job with the State with a starting salary of $125,000. No motion was made to increase the Assistant Public Defender’s salary.
A budget for the Courthouse HVAC system upgrade was discussed. There are two upgrade options, replace the old system with the same type of system it would just be newer or redo the current boiler/chiller system with a heat pump type system.
To replace the system with the same type it would cost about $3 million. To change systems would cost about $2.8 million.
The board is waiting on cost saving estimates with each system but decided to move forward with seeking bids for both types of system to determine which would be least expensive to install.
The board approved a motion to begin seeking bids to complete ADA compliance work on the Gazda insurance Agency building, which is now the new election building.
The board also discussed seeking bids for the abatement and demolition of the Old Clinic building. The board approved a motion to have a request for proposal written, with a cost of up to $1,000.
Board member Harry Starr was approached by local businessmen who asked to purchase the windows from the old clinic building. State’s Attorney Jordan Garrison said that as the windows would have been thrown away and they have a value of less than $30,000, a bid process would not be needed to have the windows removed. The windows would be removed as a service to the County and would not need to go out for bid. The board approved a motion to allow the windows to be removed following abatement of the building and proof of insurance from the removers.
The board discussed an engineering agreement with Cummins Engineering to assist with the Road Use Agreement, Traffic Impact Assessment, drainage study and plan review for the wind farm. Of the board members present, 15 voted to enter into the agreement. One voted against.
Due to a change in Illinois State law recording fees will increase from $10 to $20. The law previously stated that $9 of the $10 recording fee had to be paid to the Rental House Support Fund and each county received the $1 left over. The new law says $18 must go to the Rental House Support Fund and $1 must go to the Microfilm Fund and $1 to the General Fund, effective July 1. The board adopted the ordinance with changes.
The Macoupin County Animal Control Ordinance was up for discussion as well. Most of the changes were in records to fees for the animals. Animal owners will now pay $50 the first time their animal is impounded and $75 for the second, an increase from $25 and $50 respectively. The fee to microchip and register an animal increased from not allowed to exceed $15 to not allowed to exceed $30. Spayed or neutered animals have an increased annual registration fee of $12, up from $10. Owners of dogs that are found to be vicious will pay a $150 public safety fine, up from a $100 fine.
The fee for a multiple pet license increased from a $25 initial fee to a $50 fee and increased to a $25 renewal fee.
Registering a spayed or neutered animal increased from $10 to $12. Boarding fees increased to $18 per day for all animals. City turn-in fees for either cats or dogs increased to $30, the new resolution also removed the designations of puppy or kitten.
Owner relinquishment fees increased to $80 for a vaccinated animal or $100 for an unvaccinated animal. The rabies testing fee increased to $25, the non-registration penalty is now $25. Trap rentals will cost $5 per day with a $50 refundable deposit on the trap. The cost for euthanasia for a city increased to $50.
Adoption fees increased as well, the adoption fee for a cat increased to $100 while the fee for a dog increased from $90 to $175. Dogs weighing 40 pounds and under have an adoption fee of $220.
Brian Mitchell was reappointed to the Carlinville Fire Protection District for a three year term ending April 30, 2026.
Ed Marrburger and Jarid Schulte were reappointed to the Mt. Olive Fire Protection District for a three year term ending April 30, 2026.
Mark Mullen was appointed to the Girard Fire Protection District for an unexpired term ending April 30, 2026. Matt Boston was appointed to fill an unexpired term for the Girard Fire Protection District ending April 30, 2024.
Russell Alexander was appointed to the Staunton Fire District for a three-year term ending April 30, 2026.
Janna Tetzlaff was reappointed to the South Palmyra Rural Water District for a three year term ending April 30, 2026.
Board Chairman Larry Schmidt made changes to the County Board committee assignments. Matthew Acord was assigned to the Buildings and Grounds Committee and Molly Rosentreter was assigned to the Road and Bridge Committee.
A change was made to the County Board’s public comment policy. Previously the five minute time limit for public comment was an unwritten rule. In order to ensure compliance with the Open Meetings Act, it was suggested the rule be written. The board approved the proposed changes.
Jason Boente, as the President of the Macoupin County farm Bureau was at the meeting to present a certificate as a Thank You for support, following the County Board’s support of the Resolution of Support of Macoupin County Agriculture.
Brian Zilm, the district manager for U.S. Representative Nikki Budzinski, was at the meeting to announce two projects in Macoupin County that Budzinski will be putting forward for the House budget. The first project would be to redirect the drainage creek in Staunton, which is washing out building structures. The other project would be $1 million to move MCDD from its current location to the North School on Nicholas St. in Carlinville, which has previously been the ROE and the Kindergarten building.