By ERIN SANSON
The Macoupin County Board met Tues., Dec. 12 for its last meeting of the year. The board approved the tax levy for 2024, discussed several items from the Macoupin County Public Health Department and approved an Ad Hoc Committee for Police Presence in Macoupin Communities.
The Board passed the tax levy to be raised in Fiscal year 2023-24. The total sum of taxes raised is to be $5,653,345. The taxes will be split between 10 funds, including Corporate, Public Health, County Highway, Special Bridge, Federal Aid Matching, Developmentally Disabled, Mental Health, Social Security, IMRF, and Tort Liability.
There are additional levy rates for ‘Special Levies’ being U of I Extension, Special Service Area #1 (Mt. Olive), Special Service Area #2 (Bunker Hill), Special Service Area #3 (Staunton), Special Service Area #4 (Gillespie-Benld), Special Service Area #5 (Prairieland) and the Veteran’s Assistance Commission.
Macoupin County Health Department
The board approved the Public Health Department’s Title VI Policy and procurement policy. Derek Tiburzi also revealed the new fare schedule for the Transportation Program.
Trips in the same town are $3 each way. Traveling outside city limits or town within Macoupin County are $5 each way. Side stops are limited to one additional stop and are $2. Trips outside of Macoupin County but within a 10 mile radius of the county are $7 each way. Trips outside of the 10 mile radius will be determined on a case by case basis and availability and will cost $12 each way.
Children ages five and under will have a free trip each way. Children under five must accompanied by an adult. If there is more than one child age five and under then the additional child(ren) will be $2 per trip. Children age 6-13 will cost $2 per one-way trip.
Riders over the age of 60 ride free but the Public Health Department suggests donations to keep the service up.
There is a no show-fee of $3.
Trips to Springfield and St. Louis are subject to service availability. Springfield trips will cost $20 round-trip and be available on Tuesdays of each week. St. Louis services will cost $25 round-trip and be available on Thursday of each week. Out-of-town reservations must be scheduled three days in advance.
Ad Hoc Community Police Presence Committee
Board member Aaron Stayton presented to the board a proposal to increase police presence in several Macoupin County communities. Stayton mentioned that several board members, constituents and county officials had noticed a lack of police presence in several communities. Stayton pointed out that Girard currently has two active police officers. The Sheriff’s Office then has to patrol these under served areas as well as their usual duties. Stayton proposed an Ad Hoc Committee be formed to provide proposals to the towns he had noted as lacking police presence. So far, these towns include Girard, Mt. Olive, Virden, Wilsonville and Bunker Hill.
The plan is to redirect some of the city Police budgets to the County so more county officers may be hired and can patrol the areas suffering from lack of police presence. Stayton said that depending on what the final proposal is, if the county had a third of each cities police budget the county could hire six more officers. With two-thirds of the budget the county could hire 12 more officers.
The board approved the motion to create the ad hoc committee. Stayton was made chairman of the committee but no other committee members have been approved by the board.
The board approved the reappointment of Brandon Robinson, Craig Bridges, Jim Ibberson and Larry Rayburn to the Emergency Telephone Systems Board for a two year term.
The executive session minutes were reviewed. The board also reviewed the County Board recordings from the previous 18 months and disposed of the items they were able to.
The board approved the Audit engagement letter with Scheffel Boyle for the next four years.
American rescue plan requests were considered. Most townships have used the majority of their funds though there are several who had a large amount of funds left over. The board denied requests to extend the deadline to spend the money. At the end of the deadline, Dec. 31, the money will return to a general fund.
The board heard an update on the HVAC system upgrade for the Courthouse.
An engineering agreement with WHKS for a bridge replacement on North road in North Palmyra township was approved.
An addendum for the engineering contract with HLR for Brighton-Bunker Hill Road was approved.
The County Motor Fuel Tax maintenance resolution was approved. The board also approved the resolution to appropriate the County Engineer’s salary from the Motor Fuel Tax Fund.