County looking to link to more secure network

Fayette County is looking to tie into a computer networking line that runs between two local law enforcement agencies for cyber security reasons.
Speaking for the county’s information technology vendor, Nathan Dothager, Assistant Fayette County State’s Attorney Brenda Mathis told county board members that Dothager is working on hooking up to the secured network that runs between the sheriff’s office and the Vandalia Police Department.
Doing so, Mathis said, would enhance cyber security for elections, and would also enhance the county’s Internet service.
This could be done at no cost to the county, Mathis said, and she noted that the Illinois State Board of Elections has approved such a hookup.
Board member Merrill Collins posed the idea of the county switching to Internet phone service, but two issues related to such a switch were mentioned.
First, the county would have to purchase a phone system, and second, the county would lose phone service every time its Internet service is down.
Also at the meeting, Mathis addressed board members on the possibility of the county approving a resolution related to the separation of Chicago from the rest of Illinois.
Angel Rhodes attended Tuesday’s meeting simply to make county board members aware of the movement, and board member Deb Warner, noting that she attended Saturday’s meeting in Vandalia on the movement, made informational sheets on it available to board members.
Mathis told board members, “A lot of things have to be investigated before we come to that decision.”
Illinois Separation is one of two groups working to put on the March 2020 ballot a non-binding referendum.
Getting the issue on the ballot can be accomplished by either collecting a sufficient number of signatures or having county boards approving a resolution.
Also at the meeting:
• The board approved the request from the Vandalia Pool Foundation to use the former Washington School for the pool’s annual haunted house.
The board also approved the pool foundation’s request for the donation of the bicycle racks at the former school property for use at the pool.
• The board approved the re-appointment of David Wayne Petty to the Tri-County Fire Protection District Board of Trustees for a term ending on May 1, 2022.
• The board approved an ordinance setting the salary for the county’s public defender, William Starnes, at $121,107.44.
Under state law, the public defender’s salary must be at least 90 percent of the state’s attorney’s, and the salary includes a 2.1 percent cost-of-living increase.
• The council approved an ordinance that allows the county to collect a service provider fees from Mediacom for cable television services provided by Mediacom to households in Fayette County.
Under the ordinance, the county will receive an amount equal to 5 percent of the annual gross revenues from cable or video services provided to households in the county by Mediacom.
• The board approved the resignation of Chad Austin, a District 3 representative on the county board, and then approved the appointment of Patrick G. Click Jr. to that seat.
• The board approved Sheriff Chris Smith’s request to purchase a 2015 Ford Explorer from the Missouri Highway Patrol for $17,950, with $14,000 coming from the police vehicle fund and $3,950 from the judicial fund.
• Melissa Storck, administrator of the Fayette County Health Department, addressed the board about the department’s budget for the coming year.
She said that a conservative budget shows a $205,000 deficit for the department.
Storck said the department is experiencing a 31-percent decrease in its home health and hospice areas, and that it will be paying $124,000 for retirements, $250,000 for health care coverage and $105,000 for Social Security.
“I’m just wondering if we could have some relief there,” Storck said. “I’d just hate to make cuts.”
Storck offered to work with department heads, county board members and Bellwether, the county’s administrative consultant to “come up with a budget litigation plan.”
Earlier in the meeting, Chief Deputy Larry Halleman told board members that the engine in a Dodge Charger that the county had purchased from the MHP had blown. Halleman said it will cost $6,900 to replace the engine, and that the sheriff’s office’s maintenance fund has $2,000 remaining to cover the last three months of this budget year.

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