County on target with current budget

A member of the Fayette County Board reported on Tuesday that the county is right on target with this year’s budget.
But, Darrell Schaal, a member of the board’s finance committee, cautioned the county’s department heads that they need to remain vigiliant with their spending for the next six months.
Schaal reported that the county is at 48 percent with its revenues and at 49 percent with its expenditures midway through the fiscal year.
He urged the county’s department heads to look closely at where they stand with their budgets for this year.
“If you are over 50 percent, please take note,” Schaal said. “I’m not sure this board is going to give you any additional money. Trim back or let us know why you’re running ahead,” he said.
Schaal said that for the county to finish the fiscal year within the budget limits set, “it’s going to take everybody’s effort the last six months.”
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, a tie vote meant that the county failed to pass a motion calling for the county to go along with state-mandated fees for juror compensation and jury trial demands.
That action was on the agenda one month after the board was told that the county was not required to increase its pay rate for jurors. And, on Tuesday, the board learned that another change on the issue could be coming from the state legislature.
The board voted last month to keep its jury pay at $20 per day after Circuit Clerk Kathy Emerick said that the county was not required to go along with a House bill setting the pay at $50 for the first day and $25 for each subsequent day.
On Tuesday, Emerick said that the county is now mandated to go along with the new pay rate, but that there is talk of another change coming along soon.
As the board prepared to vote, board member Glenn Gurtner asked why the board is asked to vote on the pay rate if it’s mandated, and what would happen if the board didn’t approve the action.
State’s Attorney Joshua Morrison said the change would still go into effect.
A motion to approve the new juror pay rate and jury trial demand fee failed with a 6-6 vote, with Gurtner, Wade Wilhour, Glen Daniels, Jeff Beckman, Jake Harris and Jean Finley voting “no.” Voting for it were Joe Kelly, John Daniels Jr., John Blythe, Darrell Schaal, Dean Bernhardt and Keith Cole.
Also on Tuesday:
• The board approved a resolution supporting Fayette Water Co.’s application for a state Community Development Assistance Program grant for extending water lines in the county.
During a public hearing prior to the meeting, Mike Shaw of the South Central Illinois Planning and Development Commission explained that the rural water company is seeking a grant of $450,000, with the grant funds to be used in conjunction with a USDA Rural Development loan of $381,450.
The water company wants to lay 22.2 miles of water lines to serve the northern half of Bear Grove Township, located in the west part of the county.
Shaw said that the expansion project would serve 104 households, with close to 90 of those being at low- and moderate-income levels.
The grant funds would cover tap-on fees and service lateral fees for the low- and moderate-income households in that area, Shaw said.
• The board approved Class A and B liquor licenses for Orville Burks, who plans to operate OB Place in Shobonier. The licenses allow for both on-site consumption and package sales.
• The board approved the annual prevailing wage rate ordinance, but not – as usual – unanimously. Voting against the ordinance were Beckman, Wilhour, Gurtner and Harris.
• The board approved the reappointment of Darrell Schaal to the Fayette County Board of Health for one year, as the county board representative, and the appointment of Julie Aderman of Farina to the Board of Health for three years.
• The board approved the reappointment of Keith Casey to the Fillmore Community Fire Protection District for three years.
• County Clerk Vicky Conder clarified that she gave at last month’s meeting an incorrect figure on the amount that the county was paying to First National Bank for payroll services. The county was paying the bank $2,000-$3,000 annually for those services, she said.

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