The new chairman of the Fayette County Board isnt wasting any time in getting the board moving on new issues.
At Tuesdays meeting, Steve Knebel who was named chairman after Dean Black resigned in November appointed a committee that will study the interest in Enhanced 911 phone service for the county.
Knebel also encouraged completion of the work necessary to get a county Web site up and running.
Knebel, John Daniels Jr. and Darrell Schaal of the board will serve on the countys new 911 committee with Sheriff Aaron Lay, Vandalia Chief of Police Larry Eason and representatives of Fayette County Hospital and fire departments in the county.
The formation of that committee comes one month after Lockport-based GenDesign offered to help the county in making Enhanced 911 service available in this county.
Through that service, information provided by county residents placing emergency calls is displayed on a dispatchers computer screen as soon as the call is answered.
County residents have twice rejected a proposal to add a phone surcharge for that service in 1991 and 1995.
At the close of Tuesdays meeting, Knebel said he wants Fayette County to have a Web site by next spring.
I would like (for us) to get it up and going by April, Knebel said.
For that to happen, he said, the countys department heads need to submit information about their departments in the near future.
I think this (Web site) could be a very valuable benefit for the county, Knebel said.
Also at Tuesdays meeting:
The board gave Lay permission to hire another full-time deputy. That increases the number of deputies, including Chief Deputy Brent Ellis, to 10.
The board approved a 3-percent pay increase for Jail Administrator J.D. Vieregge. Lay explained that the increase, which is retroactive to Dec. 1, should have been included in Vieregges contract when he was hired in the spring of this year.
The board approved increasing the assistant states attorneys salary from $70,000 to $75,000, as called for in the new county budget.
The board approved increasing the hourly pay rates for part-time corrections officers, dispatchers and deputies.
The rate for deputies is increasing from $9.41 to $14.95, and hourly pay for the other sheriffs office employees was raised from $8.36 to $12.15.
In reporting that the insurance and personnel committee was recommending the increases, Knebel said, The way I look at it is, these people are doing the same job as our full-time people, and (paying them more) is well worth it.
Knebel also noted that by adding another full-time deputy, the county is reducing the amount of overtime pay given to part-time deputies.
Dean Bernhardt of the sheriffs committee, in supporting the pay increases, noted that the number of incidents handled by the sheriffs office has increased by about 70 percent, from 2,461 to 3,920, in the past 10 years.