Springtime rains and flooding became the theme for the Crawford County Board meeting Thursday.
The meeting was even briefly delayed when the latest storm blowing through the area knocked out the electricity at the Crawford County Courthouse Annex Building for a few seconds.
County Emergency Management Agency Director Ken Pryor and county engineer Justin Childress both talked about damage from recent flooding.
Pryor said EMA was called to nine flooded places in Hutsonville and 24 in Palestine. The agency has filed $272,000 in claims.
"Hopefully, we'll get some sort of recognition from FEMA or whoever," Pryor told the board.
One of the largest is for the damage to County Road 1600E south of Hutsonville. Floodwaters from the overflowing Wabash River swept away a large section of pavement. Just restoring the land beneath the road to its previous level will take an estimated 400 truckloads of dirt.
Other claims are for a damaged bridge on Pleasant Street in Hutsonville and debris removal in Robinson.
Because the county is enrolled in the National Flood Insurance Program, residents are eligible for flood insurance. Under the program, the county is required to have a flood plain ordinance. Part of that ordinance requires anyone seeking restitution for flood damage have Childress inspect their property. They should contact him as soon as possible to schedule an inspection.
Childress can be reached at the county highway department, 544-2416 or 544-7211.
Ongoing wet weather has delayed mowing along county roads, Childress said. Some trimming was accomplished Wednesday and, if weather permits, he hopes to have everything in the county's road system mowed by Memorial Day.
Rain could also delay resurfacing of the Porterville Blacktop. The Illinois Department of Transportation awarded a contract for the job on the county's behalf April 26. When the work will be done depends on the weather.
Removal of Christmas lights on the courthouse Christmas tree is also on hold because of the rain. Rob Sparks of the Community Revitalization and Beautification Committee Christmas Festival said the group is waiting until the lawn is firm enough to use a lift on it.
Sparks also asked for, and received, permission for the group to hold part of this year's Christmas Festival on the courthouse lawn. Decorations will begin going up in late October. The festival will begin Nov. 15 with a lighting ceremony and the arrival of Santa Claus at the courthouse Nov. 15. A lighted, nighttime parade is planned for Nov. 16.
A fish fry to raise money for the Crawford County Forest Preserve, originally scheduled for May 4 at the preserve in Stoy, was also delayed by weather. It is now planned for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 1.
On the other hand, work on a three-year contract with the county's clerical and custodial employees has been wrapped up in a timely fashion.
"Hats off to you guys who worked so hard to get this done," board Chairman Gareld Bilyew said, complimenting both the people who worked on these negotiations and those for the highway employee contract approved last month.
The clerical and custodial workers will get 24 cents more an hour the first year, 19 cents more the second and 14 cents more the third. The new employee probation period was cut from a year to 180 days and some language was changed.
In other business, the board:
Re-appointed Garry L. Branson to another three-year term on the Flat Rock Area Fire Protection District Board.
Appointed Michael Garrard, Jamie Henry and Rod Harmon to two-year terms on the Crawford County Forest Preserve Oversight Committee. Joe Dennis was appointed to a one-year term on the committee.
Was told the sale of Ameren Energy Resources Company and Homefield Energy by Ameren Inc. to an affiliate of Dynegy Inc. will not affect electrical aggregation here.
Learned the state has paid its share of the state's attorney's salary for April and public defender and supervisor of assessments for March.
Transferred $7,500 from the revolving loan fund to pay to cost of administering the loans.