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The Daily American - West Frankfort, IL
  • County board money woes could soon be alleviated

  • Financial woes for the county continue but treasurer John Gulley said he sees a light at the end of the tunnel.


    After reporting $217,841.06 in the common account during Monday afternoon's Franklin County Board committee meetings, he said he is still holding $175,000 in vendor claims from March.


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  • Financial woes for the county continue but treasurer John Gulley said he sees a light at the end of the tunnel.
    After reporting $217,841.06 in the common account during Monday afternoon's Franklin County Board committee meetings, he said he is still holding $175,000 in vendor claims from March.
    Gulley said he had checked the state comptroller's website and learned the county would be receiving two months' salary reimbursements and $1.2 million for the Juvenile Detention Center in the near future.
    Mike Abell, director of court services, said he anticipates receipt of the check in the next two weeks.
    He attended the meeting to answer questions about cell phone use of Juvenile Detention Center employees at the request of Health and Environment Committee chairman Ken Hungate.
    During the March 21 rescheduled committee meetings, Hungate questioned cell phone charges made by the Juvenile Detention Center's director and assistant director.
    During Monday's meeting, he reminded Abell that the board had voted to stop paying for employee cell phones. Abell said the Second Circuit Court judge required employees to maintain cell phones adding they are paid through grant funds.
    Abell said the employees are on call seven days a week, adding the judge believes if the employees are on call, they should have cell phones. He said the phones are paid through a federal trans. grant.
    In other matters, state's attorney Evan Owens reported that a Second Judicial Circuit Court judge had passed an order to conduct drug court. He said he would be asking the county board to approve a resolution to collect a $5 fee from each court case to pay for the project.
    Owens said the idea had been around for quite some time adding judges have a growing push to remand first-time offenders to treatment programs instead of penal institutions. He said the potential of obtaining up to $650,000 in grant funding for the project is a possibility adding the deadline to apply for the funds is April 23.
    Owens said grant funding, if approved, could be available for three years after which the drug court program would be self-funded.
    Following a 6-3 vote to offer U.S. Bank one half of the real estate redemption or $8,500 to purchase the former Campbell furniture building on the Benton public square, supervisor of assessments Cindy Humm provided an inside glimpse of life inside the Courthouse Annex building.
    She said she had worked in the building for 14 years during which time no money had been spent for paint, carpet or repairs. Humm said Annex employees had been told time and again they would be moving to another building adding she sees nothing wrong with the building.
    She said new paint and new carpet in addition to the critical issues to make the building Americans with Disabilities Act compliant would boost employee morale while making the building more appealing to passersby. Humm said she does not believe the Annex building is in any worse shape than the courthouse.
    Page 2 of 2 - During the Road and Bridge Committee meeting, county highway department superintendent Mike Rolla asked to have an agenda item added to the regular board meeting. He said a federal aid agreement would provide $425,000 in funds to resurface portions of Akin Blacktop between Thompsonville and Ewing roads. Rolla said the agreement includes $225,000 in truck route access funds and zero matching funds from the county. He said a state June 6 bid letting date is scheduled.
    Rolla said work to replace a bridge on Timothy Lane in Benton Township is under way adding the road is closed to traffic while the bridge is being replaced.
    He said he had spoken with Illinois Department of Transportation officials about installing a roundabout at the intersection of Orient Blacktop and Route 149 in West Frankfort to alleviate traffic flow problems and vehicle crashes. Rolla said IDOT studies indicate that the cost benefit ratio would not permit the project to continue.
    He said he continues to work on solutions to prevent fatalities and traffic crashes on Park Street Road. Rolla said he had requested a road safety analysis report.
    He also reported that he had met with laborers about the contract and would submit their list of wants to the county board.
    Rolla said due to the lack of snow days taken, the school year would end in mid-May. He said applications for summer work would be accepted at the close of the school year. Rolla said three would be employed as summer help adding he had already received one application.
    In other business, David Rea, co-chair of the Building and Grounds Committee, reported the ceiling in the county clerk's office would be replaced while employees are out of the office for Good Friday. He said the work would be completed before employees return to work.
    Rea said work on the air conditioning unit that serves the second floor of the courthouse would also be completed during the Good Friday holiday when the courthouse is closed.
    Chairman Randall Crocker said a number of appointments would be made during the April meeting, including Cave-Eastern, Corinth, Ewing, Hill City and
    Plumfield water districts, Ewing-Northern and Sesser fire protection districts, Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health and the 911 board. He said members also needed to address the two resignations from the county's tourism bureau.

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