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September 21, 2019

8/20/2019 2:04:00 PM
County helps recycling center with $8K for repair
Crawford County will contribute $8,000 to help pay for repairs to a truck used by the local recycling center.

The Crawford County Board Thursday voted to give Crawford County Solid Waste the money needed to pay the bill for the latest round of repairs for a 2011 Isuzu diesel box truck.

The service, which has a recycling center on South Eaton in Robinson, takes in 70,000 pounds of recyclable items per month here as well as in Lawrence and Richland counties. It fills a state requirement that all counties provide recycling services.

"It's a very valuable thing to us," board member Jonathon Goff said, voicing his support for the group.

It's been a tough year for CCSW, according to manager Bob Gher. Besides the several thousands of dollars of unexpected repair bills for the truck, the group's funding from the county was cut in the fiscal 2019 budget. On top of that, the price it receives for cardboard has dropped from $100 per ton to $30.

CCSW is seeking grants to help fund operations. Also, Goff suggested the agency contact some of the companies that use its services about donations.

"I think you'll get a good response," he said.

The board briefly discussed making the payment a loan but decided it would be simpler just to give the money freely.

Either way, it will make a dent in the county's budget.

Before the donation, the county was about $900 in the black for the year to date, county Treasurer Twyla Bailey said. It is now about $7,100 in the red.

Bailey also updated the board on property taxes. As of Thursday, about $20 million of the anticipated $32 million in real estate taxes had been paid. The due date for the second payment is Sept. 6.

Another $32,000 in mobile home taxes have been paid. A total $67,000 is expected. The deadline for paying is Sept. 4.

The first distribution of tax revenues went out Aug. 1 and included $586,000 to the county. Checks to taxing bodies not picked up at the treasurer's office were mailed Aug. 5. Bailey said any government entity that has yet to receive its payment needs to contact her office.

In another financial matter, board members agreed to an increase in the daily fee paid for housing local juvenile offenders in the Franklin County Detention Center.

The per diem cost is going from $100 to $105, the first increase in several years, according to Circuit Court Judge Chris Weber.

State's Attorney Matthew Hartrich and Sheriff William Rutan said the county does not send many youths to the center. The Crawford County Jail is certified for housing young offenders for up to six days.

For longer stays, Franklin County is the only place in the state the county is permitted to send juveniles.

Board members met the new partners who will be working with United Life Care Ambulance following its merger with Lakeside EMS.

Steven Gray and Jerrod Estes are co-owners of Lakeside, which already provides service in Effingham, Mount Vernon and Centralia. They are coming in to help United co-owner Andrew Hargrave manage the business and hope to increase community outreach and improve training and services.

They are not, they pointed out, changing the name or moving the service out of the county.

"It's not an unfriendly takeover," Estes said. "We come in peace."

They are actively looking into a new location in the county for United's headquarters, however.

United is the final tenant in the Commercium, the South Cross office building formerly owned by the county. Uncertain what the facility's new owners may have in mind for its future, it was decided United should seek other lodgings.

Several "real prime locations within a quarter mile of where we're sitting now" are under consideration, Estes said, and they remain open to other suggestions. Anyone with a possible site for the service should contact Hargrave, he said.

Also Thursday, County Clerk Fayrene Wright told the board petitions for the 2020 primary election can be picked up circulated beginning Sept. 3. The filing period will be in early December.

She added county board members seats up for election next year will be for two-year terms only. Following the 2020 U.S. Census, all board seats will be up for election in 2022.

Also, board Chairman David Fulling said he would like to determine at the September meeting whether the county will permit cannabis dispensaries to be established in unincorporated areas of the county.

In other business, the board:

• Re-appointed Jeff Yoder to the North Fork Conservancy District Board until Aug. 21, 2024; appointed Ned Heltsley to the same board until Aug. 21, 2023, to finish the term of R.G. Heltsley; and appointed Vicki May Boyd to the Crawford County Airport Authority until Feb. 1, 2021, to finish the term of Diane Parham.

• Issued the first county liquor license to the THJ Murphy convenience store at Gordon Junction.

• Was told by Wright an audit of phone lines unearthed areas where changes could be made that will save the county $2,500 per year.

• Learned from Rutan that the number of persons arrested at the Crawford County Courthouse for failure to make court appearances or other warrants has increased this year.

• Was told a new off-road biking trail is going in at the Crawford County Forest Preserve. Its grand opening will be Sept. 22.

• Agreed to keep old closed session minutes closed. None of the minutes that remain closed are newer than nine years old, Fulling said.

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