MOUNT CARROLL, IL – The November 15, 2012 Carroll County Board meeting marked the last regular meeting of fiscal year 2011-2012. The 2012-2013 budget again dominated the meeting. It also mark the last meeting with fifteen board members. Starting in December the number of board members will drop to nine. All Board members were present except for Shawn Picolotti.
Several modifications to the posted budget were made just prior to approving the budget for fiscal year 2012-2013. Line item changes included:
- Increase general fund item for diet of prisoners by $7,200 to reflect the amount they agreed to by passing the contract for those meals at the previous meeting. Motion passed unanimously.
- County Board member Gary Imel motioned and Kurt Dreger seconded to increase the VAC total budget by $7,130. After a heated discussion, Annette Rahn called the question and Rod Fritz seconded it. The motion to increase the budget failed with 5 yes and 9 no. Voting yes: Hartman, Dreger, Imel, Randklev, and Mantzke. Voting no: Hook, Reibel, Rahn, Payette, Cole, Schubert, Stitzel, Anderson, and Fritz.
- Increase the Highway Fund by $5,000 to reflect the purchase of a tanker and remove the purchase of a broom. Motion passed 13-1 with Schubert voting no.
- Adjustments to six line items under the 9-1-1 fund passed 13-1 with Schubert voting no.
- Increase the Health Department to $23,710, instead of the estimated $17,000 on the original proposed budget, to reflect rent on the building they are in. Previously, the Illinois Department of Human Services was paying the rent and the Health Department was their guests. However, that department is moving out and the County Health Department will need to pay the rent starting this past September. The Health Department is exploring other possibilities, such as purchasing the building or leasing a different office space to save money. The motion passed unanimously.
For the past two years, the County had posted deficit budgets, but ended those years in the black.
Jim Anderson motioned to approve the combined budget and appropriations for fiscal year 2013 and seconded by Paul Hartman.
Annette Rahn declared before the roll call vote, why she was not going to vote yes. She cited that, “Even that she is told they are on a trend line of ending in the black with a deficit budgets, I would still be okaying - for my constituents, the taxpayers - that it is okay to be in a deficit. I don’t believe that is the route to go. I do not see it is right for me to vote for a deficit budget.”
Anderson then stated, “I am going to attempt to counter you. The budget is set up to have the worst-case scenario. The County employees have done a very good job of not overspending or spending their whole budget when they didn’t need to. We are trying to set an upper limit but trying to keep it in the black. I agree with you. If I thought this wasn’t going to get into the black, I’d vote against it too.”
Chairman Fritz added, “All our department heads are very good at controlling their spending and using due diligence if they should really spend it. And I believe they are trying to get a reasonable deal for the taxpayers, which is unusual in government. It’s good that we have that here.”
The roll call vote for the budget and appropriation with a deficit amount of $305,827, with a fund balance of 40.1%, passed 13-1, with Rahn voting no.
The roll call vote to approve the 2013 tax levy, as presented in the budget, passed unanimously.
During the review of the Committee on Claims, County Board member Joyce Schubert had questioned a request from Burlington Northern Railroad. County Highway Engineer Kevin Vandendooren stated that $38,000 was for railroad flagmen expense for the Sunshine Bridge project.
Vandendooren explained, “During construction the railroad has to have a flagman out there to protect their interest. And, basically, they are there to tell our workers to stop working while a train comes through or advising the railroad what’s going on at the jobsite. It is part of the Illinois Commerce Commission order. It is reimbursable sixty percent from ICC, the railroad pays twenty percent, TVC (Threat Vulnerability and Consequence under the Transportation Security Administration) will pay sixteen percent, and the remaining four percent is divided between the township and the county. So it is reimbursable.”
Vandendooren submitted a County Engineer Salary Resolution for approval which would give a three percent raise. Board member Sharon Hook asked if that could be reviewed instead of him just giving himself a raise. It was confirmed that it had gone through the budget process and was approved. The Board approved the resolution.
Vandendooren also gave background on the budget increase for a new tanker. The tanker they have now was leaking so he took it to Eastland Fabrication to have it inspected. After they stripped the outer shell, they found several more spots that could cause leaks at any time. If oil were to leak it would involve a very costly environmental cleanup. The tanker had not been in use this year, since it was just a backup, but if they have any larger projects again in the future, a second tanker will speed up the process.
The new tanker quoted was for an aluminum tank, which is cheaper and less likely to form the same leak. Chairman Fritz inquired about a stainless steel tank. Vandendooren said it was still being considered, but his concern is that if they are not welded with the proper welding rod, they can rust as well. Their primary tanker is a 1984 steel tanker and still works fine but it could leak at any time, too. The one needing replaced is a 1995 steel tanker. The new aluminum or stainless steel one would become their primary. The Board voted to declare the 1984 tanker as surplus property so that it could be sold.
Exiting Board member Don Mantzke joked to Vandendooren, “If that rumble strip on the Shannon Route does not get put back, I’ll be back to haunt you!”
Vandendooren also addressed whether or not the County should be in the seal-coating business. He presented numbers to the Board that showed they do save money for the County, as well as, the towns and townships they contract for.
Board member Paul Hartman reported that the full board of the LRA voted in favor of signing the agreement to transfer ownership of the water and sewer systems to Riverport Railroad. The State’s Attorney is writing the ordinance for the exception of well drilling and it should be done by the next regular meeting in December. So, the resolution could be voted on at that time.
Insurance agent John Bickelhaupt gave an update as to the results of this year’s plan to date. So far, they have seen a net savings over $25,000 by taking on the new self-funding approach, with the covering the last $2,000 of each employee’s $2,500 deductible. This does not, however, include any claims that may come in for November and December.
He also presented the Board members with quotes from several companies for health insurance for the county employees. The one quote from United Healthcare River Valley (a subsidiary that was bought out from John Deere) showed some savings over their current plan with Blue Cross. However, their network was not as large in this region, and did not cover an OB doctor in Freeport that some employees use. United Healthcare reported that they “hoped” to have that doctor in-network by January 1, but had no contract at this time.
The out-of-network deductible increases by $5,000 so the County would either have to cover the difference or work into the contract with the employees that the employee would be responsible for the difference.
After a lengthy discussion it was agreed to continue with the coverage they currently have and Bickelhaupt would continue to update the Board with progress reports throughout the year.
Chairman Rod Fritz pointed out that everyone should look at the website. He stated, “They have done a lot of work on that. You can actually find the ordinances. There is information on where you can find stuff in there. There is a nice, go-to, one source, find anything out about Carroll County, section in there.”
“It looks good, thorough,” added Board member Joe Payette.
A reorganizational meeting is set for December 3, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. The number of Board members will be down to nine members. “When the Board reorganizes,” Fritz teased, “I will nominate Kevin Reibel to be the new Chairman. Then Kevin can sit up here and I can sit on the floor and have all the fun at the meetings.”
This was the last meeting for Annette Rahn, Juanita Randklev, Joyce Schubert, Don Mantzke, Jim Anderson, Kurt Dreger, and Sharon Hook. Sharon was thanked at the meeting for having served on the Board for twenty years. Returning to the Board will be Ron Preston.
County Clerk and Recorder Brian Woessner reported a 66.3% voter turnout.
Briefly discussed the interviewing form for someone to administer the electrical aggregate plan to bid out for the service and to send the opt-out letter. The cost of the administration will be figured into the new rates and not cost the County government anything.
Discussed marketing a corporate rate for The Answer Fitness Center to the County Employees. The Board declined a commitment to do so.