By ERIN SANSON
The Macoupin County Board met Sept. 12 for its monthly meeting. There were several items up for discussion, including Public Transportation, Election Judge pay and a new board member.
District 3 board member Matthew Acord resigned last month due to conflicts with his work schedule. John Trevino was sworn in at Tuesday nights meeting to take his place. Trevino also took on Acord’s committee placements.
The public transportation 5311 contract and downstate operating grant were approved by the board. Both items were approved previously but had to be reapproved due to an error with the signatures.
Board Chairman Larry Schmidt also announced that the transportation programs loop routes were on hold for the time being as the Department of Transportation is performing an audit on the transportation program.
The lot in Mt. Clare purchased by the transportation program was also up for discussion. The lot was purchased to provide parking for the transportation program. However, Public Health CEO Christy Blank said the lot is not needed as there is adequate parking already. Finishing the Mt. Clare lot would take an estimated $95,000 or the Gillespie parking lot could be paved and security improved. No action was taken on the item as Schmidt wants to discuss the idea with the Gillespie City Council before moving forward.
Virden Gun Battle
A resolution recognizing the 125th anniversary of the Oct. 12, 1898 Virden Gun Battle was approved by the board. There will be a program held on Oct. 8 at the United Miner’s Cemetery in Mt. Olive dedicated to these events. The program will begin at 12 p.m. Labor leaders and other historical figures will be present at the event. The program will also feature labor music and is a family friendly event.
SAFE-T Act Committee
A special committee was held Aug. 31 to discuss the SAFE-T Act and its effects on the court system. State’s Attorney Jordan Garrison presented the committee with changes to the law. The main elements were the elimination of cash bond, the requirement of pre-trial release for most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, limits to pretrial detention eligibility based on safety and risk of flight, outlines the use of electronic monitoring as a condition of release, allows for the use of risk assessment tools, outlines application of the Pretrial fairness act to people arrested before Jan. 1, 2023.
Garrison said that he had spoken to the law enforcement departments around the county and they are prepared for the roll out of SAFE-T Act requirements on Monday, Sept. 18. The minutes of the meeting say, “The law is not as bad as some of the stories an rumors have made it out to be, but there will be additional work placed upon county offices and departments to meet the requirements of the law.”
There is also a financial element to the SAFE-T Act as the loss of bail would mean less revenue into the general fund and there was no funding provided for the program. Garrison has stated he will provide the board with an update in October.
Sharon Clevenger was reappointed to the Public Housing Board for a five year term ending in August 2028.
Jacob Schwegel and Lori Hopkins were reappointed to the Bunker Hill Fire Protection District for three year terms ending April 30, 2026.
A petition for County Aid to repair a road in Scottville road district was approved. The culvert needs repairs, the County cost of repairs will be $11,000.
American Rescue Plan Funds were moved around at the meeting to accommodate requests from the Highway Department to purchase a power washer and the Animal Control to make updates an improvements to the feral cat building it recently purchased.
There was a discussion over adding the Veterans Assistance Commission to the County Audit. The action to add the Veterans Assistance Commission was tabled until the cost could be figured.
The election judge pay was increased by $20 following action from the State to reimburse the $20 if the County increased pay by that amount. The new pay will begin March 19, 2024 and will be $1290 per day. The salary reimbursement revenue projection and Election budget were also increased by $5,000 each to keep the increase budget neutral.
The sale of an animal control tailgate, bumper, receiver and hitch was approved. The sale was originally going to take place on iBid.com but the board decided to wait and place the items up for sale at an in-person auction.
Blue Cross Blue Shield was renewed as the Insurance provider for the County for at least one more year.
Voluntary vision insurance has also been approved by the board.
An e-cycling event will take place Sept. 30 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Accepted electronics can be dropped off at either the Farm Bureau lot in Carlinville or the M&M Service lot in Girard.