FULTON COUNTY BOARD
July 11, 2023
Chairman Spangler called the Regular Session, July 11, 2023, meeting to order at 6:32 p.m. in Courtroom 201 at the Fulton County Courthouse in Lewistown, IL.
County Clerk Patrick J. O’Brian called the roll and found the following members present: Quorum was present. (Present-P; Absent-A)
James Barclay – A Daniel Kumer – P Lauren Southwood – P
Barry Beck – P BJ McCullum – A John Spangler – P
Stan Berry – P Joe Murphy – P Lisa Thompson – P
Jared Heller – P Brian Platt – P David Widger – P
Laura Hepp Kessel – P Ryan Sloan – P Karl Williams – P
Elected/Appointed Officials Staci Mayall- Treasurer, Patrick O’Brian – County Clerk, Julie Russell – Supervisor of Assessment, Keith Munter – Fulton County Engineer, Charlene Markley – Circuit Clerk, Chris Helle – ESDA/ETSB Director, Austin Rhodes – Coroner, Katie Lynn – Health Department Administrator
Staff – Audra Miles – Comptroller, Cindy Simpson – Fulton County Board Administrative Assistant
Guests – None
Media- John Froehling – Fulton Democrat
ACCEPTANCE OF MINUTES
A. Regular Session – June 13, 2023
Member Berry moved to accept the minutes and place on file the regular session June 13, 2023 minutes with a second from Member Beck. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
ADDITIONS/DELETIONS TO AGENDA
Member Thompson pulled from action agenda Finance #1, and amended Finance E. a. iii. from $50,000.00 change to $25,000.00 and amend Finance 5. Public Defender salary from $2,423.00 to $3,386.00 and move from consent Property D. a. Mid- Illinois windows to action.
Member Kessel moved to approve the amended agenda with a second from Member Southwood. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
ANNOUNCEMENTS, COMMUNICATIONS AND CORRESPONDENCE – None
Name: Whitney Murphy
Address: Canton, IL
Whitney stated she is from Canton, Illinois and she is the granddaughter of a long- term resident at the Clayberg. Whitney is here today as a concerned granddaughter and citizen about what will happen to her grandmother and the residents of the Clayberg. There are several options are being discussed for the Clayberg but the Clayberg is a home away from home for many residents. Whitney’s grandmothers first choice was the Clayberg if she could not reside at her home. The Clayberg is her community. She retired from the Clayberg and this is now her home and family. Whitney’s concerns are the County did not send any communications to the residents about any changes that may be happening at the Clayberg. It is important communications be sent to all residents’ families about the different options for the Clayberg. Whitney does not feel changing the Clayberg to a private nursing home is a good option or bringing in a managing firm, due to the cost cutting done by these companies. A concern is what the cost is to the taxpayers of Fulton County. The residents have done their best for the community and were good stewards. The staff at the Clayberg are people Whitney’s grandmother either worked with or are children of coworkers and the staff know her by name. Whitney understands the issues with staff and offered suggestions. Why doesn’t the county partner with local nursing schools and staffing agencies to bring in local staff. The county is shrinking and needs to invest in the children and people of Fulton County.
Name: Reba Ford
Address: Lewistown, IL
Reba Ford stated a letter was published in the Democrat by Members Spangler, Kessel, Thompson and Platt about a plan to find an outside management company or a broker to sell the Clayberg, which is a county owned facility. Citizens were taken by surprise and Reba is here to share the concerns of residents, families, retirees and staff members.
More than 50 years ago Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Clayberg donated the land in memory of their son James Clayberg, a pilot missing in action in the Korean War. Funds from the sale of the poor farm were used to build the Clayberg.
As the letter stated, the Clayberg is a viable part of the community’s history. The letter mentions the inability of the board to manage the facility due to the complexity of regulations. Regulation are not new and have existed since the Social Security Act of 1935 and continue to evolve. The Clayberg staff managed to comply for 53 years and the community is confident this success can continue. Ford stated the individuals that are elected to office are not expected to have the expertise to run a nursing home. This is why the county hires trained, licensed, certified staff and administrators who work locally to oversee the operation. The letter mentioned how the Covid 19 pandemic made additional challenges for the Clayberg. The challenges were not insurmountable or uncommon, staffing shortages and supply issues are everywhere as schools, hospitals, and clinics face the same problems. The letter mentioned recruitment retention and reliance on agency sources to fill shifts at the Clayberg. Ford reminded everyone the Clayberg staff was heroic during the pandemic. The staff worked tirelessly across multiple shifts at great personal risk so the residents were comforted by the long term employees’ friendly and familiar faces. Internal set backs were cited and the letter mentioned a $25,000.00 fine and is a valid concern but a rare problem. A quick IDPH search shows 6 similar fines against other local facilities last year. It should be noted the actual cost of the fine was reduced to $16,000.00. The letter spoke about complaints and internal investigations over the past several years and is certainly not alone. Ford stated she has not forgotten about the previous Supervisor of the Assessment and his actions resulted in an investigation by the Sheriff’s Department and what about the escape of the Jail prisoners. The previous county board understood the magnitude of this decision and put this to a vote in 2007 and the citizens of Fulton County voted to keep and support the Clayberg. The potential loss of a home for 49 people as well as 70 jobs and the local economy would be devastating and the voters knew it. The Fulton County Board is pursuing 2 opinions; selling or a management company until sold. Ford feels the Clayberg provides a valuable service and is an example of an exceptional bargain for the people of Fulton County. If the Fulton County Board is acting in the best interest of the people, the Clayberg will not be sold. And Ford urged the Board to not let this be the board’s legacy.
Name: June Russell
Address: Lewistown, IL
Topic: Improving communication with constituents and fellow board members
June discussed communication and transparency. Democracy requires full participation and the county board roster used to include phone numbers and email address for the public and to access the information. The website instructs anyone to call the Fulton County Board office. This creates additional barriers between constituents by adding additional steps. The response rate of emails June sent to board members was concerning, June stated she received 4 responses and a phone call from Chairman Spangler which was appreciated.
How can the board members step up their interaction with the public. June suggested responding to emails by sending a polite and courteous response, your email has been read and your thoughts will be taken under consideration.
June suggested live streaming the Board meetings and this is not expensive or difficult. This allows those that cannot attend the meeting in person, the option of listening to the meeting at later time.
The Fulton County Website states public speaking is limited to 5 minutes and citizens remarks should not exceed 30 minutes per meeting. The stipulation of only one speaker per topic is not reasonable. June asked the board to reconsider this rule.
A functioning, healthy press is key to informed citizens and democracy. June thanked Editor John Froehling of the Fulton Democrat for the local coverage. Recently, the Fulton Democrat published a letter regarding the Clayberg and if the Democrat had not published the letter, most of Fulton County would not know about the Clayberg issues. Good communication sometimes includes looking beyond what information is provided.
The only management company that provided a bid was Heritage Operation Group from Bloomington, Illinois. A simple Google search showed WGLT in March that Heritage laid off 69 members of the Heritage administrative staff and sold 22 of their 44 skilled care facilities, citing labor shortages and cost. With this kind of success rate, does the County want with Heritage running the Clayberg.
From Helios Health Care from Chicago, IL, June learned that nursing home buyers are not interested in purchasing a small facility to run. The companies are interested in the bed licenses to add to the capacity of their larger and more profitable facilities. The Clayberg is not a failed business, the Clayberg is not meant to be a money maker, it is a service.
June stated the Clayberg has maintained a cash balance of over $2,000,000.00.
Communication and understanding is needed for all sides of an issue and is key in making good decisions. June stated if there was a new business moving into the community housing 49 people and offering 70 good jobs, the county would be begging them to come and would be offering financial incentives. The Clayberg is already in Fulton County and provides essential life care and the statistics show that 7 out of 10 people in the room will need nursing care one day.
Fulton County needs to see the Clayberg through a brighter lens. June provide picture of the abandoned Astoria nursing home after the home was sold.
Member Murphy moved to approve the consent agenda with a second from Member Berry. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
a. Claims- Sheriff, Jail, Board of Review, Zoning, County Board, Miscellaneous, Community Development Bicentennial, County Administrator, Public Defender, County Tourism and EDC, Property, Supervisor of Assessments, ESDA, Animal Control, Highway, VAC, Clayberg, Camping & Recreation, Spay/Neuter Program, Public Transportation, ARPA
a. Reports- Animal Control, Treasurer, FCCRA POS Report, VAC, Zoning
b. Other Reports- Public Defender, State’s Attorney/Circuit Clerk, Sheriff, County Clerk
D. PROPERTY, COURTS, PUBLIC SAFETY & CAMPGROUND
a. Mid- Illinois Courthouse front windows – Moved to Action
E. FINANCE, INSURANCE, PERSONNEL, LEGISLATIVE
a. General Fund Transfer
i. Resolution: $2,435.00 From: #001-060-535100 Office Supplies & Expense
To: #001-060-525100 Contractual Labor
ii. Resolution: $25,000.00 From: #001-021-590100 Contingency
To: #001-017-525206 Legal Services
iii. Resolution: Create Expenditure line item $50,000.00 $25,000.00 Hometown Consulting Contract #001-017-595116 From: Contingency line item #001-021-590100 To: #001-017-595116
b. Other Funds Transfers
c. General Fund Immediate Emergency Appropriations
d. Other Fund Immediate Emergency Appropriations
e. Resolution: Trustee Parcel
f. Resolution: Authorizing Execution and Amendment of Downstate Operating Assistance Agreement
F. COUNTY HIGHWAY
a. Resolution: HWY 23-004 Updating & Establishing OS/OW Permit Fees
G. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, ZONING, 200th ANNIVERSARY
Treasurer Mayall reported for June, County General expenditures were $1,215,360.70 and revenue was $1,504,115.13.
The surplus for June is $282,512.86. The current yearly surplus in County General is $327,741.73.
The Fulton County audit is complete and if any board member would like a bound copy to contact the Treasurer.
The RFP for an Auditor for Fulton County has been posted to the Fulton County website.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, ZONING & 200TH ANNIVERSARY
1. Discussion/Action: Resolution: Dollar General Avon Rezoning AC to B
Member Kessel discussed the Zoning Board of Appeals held a special meeting for the Dollar General Avon Rezoning and approved the rezoning.
Member Kessel moved to approve the resolution with a second from Member Murphy. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
Member Heller stated County 15 is closed starting July 10, 2023 and the closure is expected to last 1 month. The Highway Department will be replacing two cross road culverts.
Member Platt reported the RF’s for the Clayberg will be reviewed at the Ad-Hoc Health Committee meeting on July 13, 2023 at 6:00pm at the Courthouse.
Member Kumer inquired if Merit Construction finished the shower floor at the Clayberg. Member Platt stated the shower floor has been completed except for a couple of drain covers.
FINANCE, INSURANCE, PERSONNEL, LEGISLATIVE
1. Discussion/Action: Opioid Settlement Fund $80,129.00 recommendation Pulled
2. Discussion/Action: Retirement Recognition Policy
Member Thompson stated this policy came to the board in March of 2023 and was sent back to the committee for additional work. The revised policy is presented in the Fulton County Board materials.
Member Southwood moved to approve the Retirement Recognition Policy with a second from Member Beck. Motion carried by roll call vote
(12-1) with Member Thompson voting nay.
3. Discussion/Action: Resolution: Precinct Consolidation
Member Thompson moved to approve the Resolution with a second from Member Kessel. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
4. Discussion/Action: Resolution: Polling Place Change Buckheart Precinct to St. David Optimist’s Club
Member Kumer inquired why this change is taking place. Clerk O’Brian stated this is combining Buckheart 1, 2 and 3 into one precinct. This will centralize the precincts from Bryant, Dunfermline and St. David. There is concern from the St. David Village that there would not be enough room in the office area with the precincts combined.
Member Thompson moved to approve the resolution with a second from Member Berry. Motion carried by roll call vote (12-1) with Member Kumer voting nay.
5. Discussion/Action: Resolution: $3,674.00 From Unappropriated Funds in the General Fund to Salary – State’s Attorney, Line Item # 001-007-500107 and $2,423.00 $3,386.00 From Unappropriated Funds in the General Fund To Salary – Public Defender, Line Item #001-022-500122 and $2,939.00 From Unappropriated Funds in the General Fund To Salary – Sheriff, Line Item #001-008-500108
Member Thompson stated the salary increase is designated by the State of Illinois.
Member Thompson moved to approve the resolution with a second from Member Kessel. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
PROPERTY, COURTS, PUBLIC SAFETY & CAMPGROUND
1. Discussion/Action: Mid- Illinois Courthouse front windows
Member Williams stated the courthouse front arched window bid was received, and the lower window replacement is $21,920.00 and the upper window is $15,240.00. The proposal includes the removal of all wood trims and weather damaged wood framing. The replacement of the wood framing and install composite trim pieces, caulk all newly installed items, paint new trim and install new lettering, repair plaster barrel ceiling on exterior and base trims and finish paint after repairs have cured.
Member Williams moved to approve Mid Illinois with a second from Member Murphy. Motion carried by roll call vote (12-1) with Member Kessel voting nay.
Member Williams reported the mowing at the Dollar General will be done by a third party.
Graham and Hyde completed the Life Safety Study at the Courthouse on June 19, 2023 and the report will be sent to Fulton County.
The maintenance for the courthouse clock is contracted with Vernon and was last inspected on 2021. Member Williams will follow up with Bill Smick for the service on the clock.
The sally port estimate for the jail is approximately $170,000.00. To proceed with the project, an architect will need to draw up the for the bidding process.
Member Williams discussed the old Dollar General and the front of the building has been boarded up and a new steel door will be installed for security. There will be fire suppression system looked at and security cameras installed.
Member Thompson inquired about the courthouse Life Safety Study and the results. Member Williams stated Graham and Hyde will be sending the report to the county for review.
Discussion/Action: Campground Rates Approval
John Young Campground Superintendent discussed the campground rate increases was approved by the committee. The campground rates are paid monthly or yearly. The rates include: Dry site electric- $1,200.00, Dry site non-electric $1,055.00, Dry site strip mine bank electric $1,200.00. Lake front electric site $2,250.00, Non-electric $1,400.00. Remaining lake front electric $1,500.00, Lake front non-electric $1,200.00. Restricted lake access dry electric $1,500.00 – $1,300.00, restricted lake front non-electric $1,200.00. Restricted pond front electric $1,300.00. Pond front electric $1,350.00.
Member Thompson discussed the study on the camp sites is appreciated, but there was no financial data provided within the board packet to substantiate why the rates should be raised. The proposed FY24 budget and is based on the campground rates increasing. The budget needs to be reviewed by the Finance committee before the rate increases are approved for the campground.
Member Thompson stated the FY24 budget goals are the FY22 actuals plus 3%. The campgrounds budget for FY22 is plus an 85% increase for FY24. Member Thompson stated the rates needs to be postponed until the Finance committee has reviewed the campground FY24 budget. Superintendent Young stated the budget being proposed has been too low to hire additional help to allow for extra help. Young stated Capital improvements and maintenance is not being done due to no funding.
Member Thompson recommended the rate increases be postponed until after the budget is reviewed by the Finance committee.
Member Williams moved to approve the campground rate increase with a second from Member Murphy. Motion carried by roll call vote (11-2) with Member Kumer and Thompson voting nay.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: None
Chairman Spangler reminded the Fulton county Board about the Ad-Hoc Health meeting for the Clayberg on July 13, 2023 at 6:00pm at the Courthouse.
There is a meeting on July 14, 2023 about the Co2 pipeline at the Fulton County Farm Bureau Building at 10:00am.
The meeting is for land owners and Fulton County Board members.
Member Thompson made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:32pm with a second from Member Beck. The motion carried with all present voting ayes (13-0).
Patrick J. O’Brian, Fulton County Clerk &
Ex-Officio Clerk of the Fulton County Board
C E R T I F I C A T I O N:
I, John Spangler, Chairman of the Fulton County Board, State of Illinois, do hereby certify that I have examined the record of the July 11, 2023 Regular Session of the County Board of Fulton County, Illinois and find the same to be true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief, this day approve the same.
Witness this 8th day of August, 2023.
Fulton County Board Chairman