FULTON COUNTY BOARD
March 14, 2023
Chairman Spangler called the Regular Session, March 14, 2023, meeting to order at
6:30 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 – P, 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 – A,
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, Justin Jochums – States Attorney, Charlene Markley – Circuit Clerk, Jon Webb – Fulton County Sheriff
b Audra Miles – Comptroller, Cindy Simpson – Fulton County Board Administrative Assistant
Guests: Earl Allen – University of Illinois Extension, Krista Gray, Tara Heath and Elexus Gray all with the University of Illinois Extension office at the Fulton County Farm Bureau Building
Media- John Froehling – Fulton Democrat
ACCEPTANCE OF MINUTES
A. Regular Session – February 14, 2023
Member Berry moved to accept the minutes and place on file the regular session February 14, 2023 minutes with a second from Member Murphy. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
ADDITIONS/DELETIONS TO AGENDA
Member Kumer moved from the consent agenda Finance (h) to the action agenda Finance (f).
Member Kumer moved to approve the amended agenda with a second from Member Barclay. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
ANNOUNCEMENTS, COMMUNICATIONS AND CORRESPONDENCE
A. Earl Allen – University of Illinois Extension office – Annual report
Earl Allen discussed the annual report and the Extension office started doing face to face meetings in 2023. The Extension theme for 2023 is “Extension in Action”.
Earl discussed the staff changes in the Extension office. In 2021, there were 11 retirements and 1 promotion to a state position. Earl discussed the Fulton County Extension office and 3 of the staff members and what they do for extension.
Krista Gray is the Fulton County 4-H Coordinator. Krista is a 30 year resident of Fulton County, and originally came from Peoria County. Krista has a husband and 2 grown children. Krista started with the Extension office in 2017 after working in the insurance in the Ag sector for many years.
Krista started in the SNAP Education program with the Extension office. This program goes into the Fulton County schools and interacts with the kids. The SNAP program focused on community reach and Food Panties. In 2021, Krista took the position of Fulton County 4-H Coordinator. The position works with all of the Fulton County 4-H clubs. Currently, Fulton County has 3 SPIN Clubs, these are special interest clubs in Fulton County. The clubs include: 4-H Shooting Sports Club, Livestock Judging Club and Junior Master Naturalist. The Extension clubs partner with the Canton Park District and currently there are 285 4-H members in Fulton County.
Elexus Gray is the SNAP Education Instructor. Elexus was born and raised in Fulton County and graduated from Lewistown High School in 2018, Spoon River College in 2019, and Washington College in 2020, and was hired by the Illinois Extension in 2021.
Elexus provides nutritional information through the SNAP Education Program. Elexus teaches the importance to eating healthy and staying active to the youth in Fulton County Schools. The children of Fulton County have the opportunity to have a hands on cooking school called Illinois Junior Chief. The adult program focuses on helping adults achieve a healthy lifestyle on a budget.
Tara Heath is the Horticulture Coordinator. Tara is from McDonough County and was born and raised on a farm south of Macomb that raised corn, soybean, hogs and cattle. Tara graduated from WIU with a degree in Agriculture and worked at Western Illinois University for approximately 20 years. Tara supports the Master Gardner Program with the University of Illinois Extension office in Fulton County. Any programs focused on gardeners or Horticulture, Tara is involved with the programs. There are approximately 144 Master Gardners in Fulton and Mason Counties.
Tara discussed the Master Gardner training to be held June 5 to June 9, 2023. The Master Gardener Training is 60 hours of very extensive training.
Earl Allen thanked Fulton County for their support of the Extension office.
B. Township Decennial Committees
County Clerk O’Brian discussed the Senate Bill 3798 that was signed into law on June 10, 2022, and is officially Public Act 102-1088. This law is taking a closer look governmental units and includes all units of local government that may levy any tax, except municipalities and counties, and includes townships and school board.
There are reports that need to be filed with the county boards. The committees created from this law must report within 18 months the efficiencies or non-efficiencies within the government and this will be reported to the county board.
The committees include township officials and people from the private sector.
The County Clerk is available to assist the townships with this reporting.
A. Discussion/Action: Resolution: Fulton County Disaster Proclamation
Member Berry moved to approve the resolution with a second from Member Thompson. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
B. Discussion/Action: Resolution: Support of Fulton County Agriculture
Barry Fisher thanked the Fulton County Board for their support and the Farm Bureau looks forward to working with Fulton County.
Chairman Spangler stated Ag is the biggest industry in Fulton County.
Member Murphy moved to approve the resolution with a second from Member Kumer. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
Name: April Tatum
Address: Avon, IL
Topic: Co2 Pipeline
April Tatum introduced herself and stated this is her third time talking with the Fulton County Board regarding the Co2 Pipeline. April stated with so many new Fulton County Board members, she felt it was important everyone has the same information and April provided updates on the Navigator pipeline.
April discussed the moratorium passed in October 2022 by the previous Fulton County Board. The moratorium was based on information released by the Federal government that pipelines need more regulations. The information from the Federal Government will not release regulations sometime around April 2024.
The pipeline companies are not willing to wait for the Federal Government to release the information regarding the Co2 pipeline regulation and everything done currently will be grandfathered in to the new regulations.
April stated Navigator filed an application with the ICC (Illinois Commerce Commission) but withdrew the application based on the recommendation from the ICC. The application by Navigator has since been refiled with the ICC.
April stated all counties are receiving agreements from Navigator with money offers. The agreements are in lieu of tax dollars to the county since other states charge a pipeline tax. The State of Illinois does not tax pipelines.
April encouraged everyone to review the agreements very carefully as the agreements do not have to be signed immediately. McDonough County received an agreement for approximately $600,000.00 per year. The amount paid is based on the number of miles the pipeline crosses in each county. McDonough County voted to intervene again and will not sign the agreement.
April stated she recognized the ICC will most likely approve the application, but as officials, it is a responsibility to keep citizens safe where people live and work. April stated this is not a public utility and the pipeline should not be able to use eminent domain to obtain property for the pipeline, but eminent domain may be used. Currently, 6% of landowners throughout the State of Illinois have signed with the pipeline. This means 94% of landowners have not signed agreements with the pipeline.
April asked the Fulton County Board not to sign the agreement, and to consider a moratorium for 2 years as many counties have 2 year moratoriums in place.
April is willing to talk with anyone regarding the pipeline.
Member Beck moved to approve the consent agenda with a second from Member Murphy. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
a. Claims- Sheriff, Jail, Board of Review, Zoning, County Board, 1Q FY23 County Board Mileage & Per Diem, Miscellaneous, 1st Quarter FY23 Wellness Benefit, Public Defender, Merit, Property, Supervisor of Assessments, ESDA, Animal Control, Highway, VAC, Clayberg, Camping & Recreation, Spay/Neuter Program, ARPA
a. Reports- Animal Control, Treasurer, FCCRA POS Report, VAC, Zoning
b. Other Reports- Public Defender, State’s Attorney/Circuit Clerk, Sheriff, County Clerk
a. Resolution: Eric Barker, John Vigna and David Waller Re-appointment Spoon River Project #1 Drainage and Levee District
D. PROPERTY, COURTS, PUBLIC SAFETY & CAMPGROUND
E. FINANCE, INSURANCE, PERSONNEL, LEGISLATIVE
a. General Fund Transfer
i. Resolution: $181.00 From: #001-016-510100 Salary-Deputy/Clerk/Secretary
To: #001-016-535100 Office Supplies & Expense
ii. Resolution: Create Expenditure line item in the General Fund #001-005-570203 for
Lease Payment and Lease Agreement in the County
Coroner’s Fund $2,700.00 from Contingency Fund #001-021-590100
iii. Resolution: $188.00 From: #001-021-590100 Contingency To: #001-014-560100 Mileage & Travel Expense
b. Other Funds Transfers
c. General Fund Immediate Emergency Appropriations
d. Other Fund Immediate Emergency Appropriations
e. Resolution: Public Transportation Applicant Ordinance
f. Resolution: Acceptance of the Special Warranty Grant Agreement
g. 2022 Assessment Year Township Billing
h. Retirement Recognition Policy – Moved to Action agenda – Finance g.
F. COUNTY HIGHWAY
G. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, ZONING, 200th ANNIVERSARY
a. Resolution: Association with Peoria Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
Treasurer Mayall reported for February, County General expenditures were $1,053.440.61 and revenue was $863,732.29. The deficit for February is $189,708.32. The current yearly surplus in County General is $228,442.77.
The audit is on track to have the draft report for the April Fulton County Board meeting.
Treasurer Mayall discussed the Local Tribal Assistance Funds. The reporting requirements are due March 31, 2023, and Mayall will report none of the funds have been spent. Treasurer Mayall will bring the item to the Finance committee meeting in April for a decision for potential uses of the funds.
The ARPA report is due to the US Treasury in April and the work is being completed to ensure Fulton County is compliant.
Member Kumer inquired if the ARPA bills have been received from the Spoon River Scenic Drive. Treasurer Mayall stated bills and invoices have been received but there are a few discrepancies and Mayall is discussing with the Spoon River Scenic Drive chairman.
Member Williams inquired about the payment to Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. Treasurer Mayall discussed a discrepancy from the auditor regarding the payment to MWRD and Treasurer Mayall is working to correct the discrepancy.
Fulton County pays 25% of the net income from the campground. The letter received from the auditors stated only the 25% is paid, but did not state the net income and the county sent 25% of the $6,000.00 stated in the letter.
MWRD contacted Treasurer Mayall and stated money due on the contract.
The auditors were contacted and the campground does owe the amount. Mayall contacted the auditors about changing the format of the letter, the letter will show the net income and 25% owed to MWRD.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, ZONING & 200TH ANNIVERSARY
a. Discussion/Action: 200th Anniversary Celebration
Member Kessel discussed the Zoning Board of Appeals met on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 and conducted a public hearing regarding the South Fulton Solar Project proposed by Leeward Energy. Approximately 40 to 50 people attended.
The ZBA granted a conditional use permit to Leeward Energy to begin construction and granted Leeward Energy a variance allowing up to six years to complete the construction process
Member Kessel discussed the 200th Anniversary celebration, and what the board is comfortable in spending on the event.
A plan is to have a full day event possibly held at the Fulton County Fair Grounds in Lewistown, sometime in August or September. The plan is to invite restaurants to sell food and other vendors and there will be entrainment throughout the day. The goal is to bring a big name band or artist for the event as a finale to the 200th Anniversary celebration. Member Kessel talked to a recruiter for a big name band. If the board is not interested in this, local bands can be contracted for entertainment throughout the day.
Member Kessel stated the cost may be approximately $50,000. Member Kessel feels corporate sponsorship could be obtained from businesses throughout Fulton County to support the event and to offset the cost.
Member Williams inquired if an admission fee would be charged for this type of band. Member Kessel stated selling tickets would be a nightmare and the thought is to do a free will donation and ask people to contribute but a donation is not required.
The fee of $50,000.00 is not all for the band, $30,000.00 to $35,000.00 is for the artist or entertainer and the remainding funds would be used for the stage, production items, marketing, insurance and any incidentals.
Member Williams stated the board needs to use local entertainment or bands. Fulton County has a great local bands. Member Williams stated a few years ago Confederate Railroad had a concert at the Lewistown fair grounds and approximately 150 people showed up.
Member Williams felt the funds could be spent more wisely for the people of Fulton County.
Member Barclay stated the fee of $50,000.00 was unexpected.
Member Kumer stated the bigger bands usually have a booking agent and charge a fee for booking the entertainer. There will be feedback from the public on the event’s cost and where the funds were obtained.
Member Kessel stated the booking agent fee will only be charged if Fulton County uses one of the bands recommended by the booking agent.
Member Heller stated he assists with the Schuyler County Fair and the band for the fair. There is so much more than the band cost involved and suggested piggybacking on another event to help offset the cost. Member Heller suggested the Fulton County Fair and making the fair about the 200th Anniversary Celebration. There will be unforeseen expenses with an event of this size. The Fulton County Board needs to be fiscally conservative. There are funds needed for a numerous repairs in the county.
Member Kessel stated discussion was had about doing the 200th Anniversary Celebration with another event but the decision was made for Fulton County to have its own event.
Member Kessel discussed the event needs to be focused on Fulton County and the people and vendors of Fulton County.
Member Murphy stated this would be a goodwill event spending money on the citizens of Fulton County.
Member Kumer suggested to partner with the 4th of July event to offset some of the costs.
Member Williams stated the Fulton County Board needs to remember that the Fulton County Board are the representatives of the county and are spending taxpayer funds.
Member Kumer suggested multi events throughout the year for the 200th Anniversary Celebration. Member Kessel stated the Community Development, Zoning, 200th Anniversary committee is working on a few smaller events throughout the year.
Member Thompson moved to approve the 200th Anniversary Celebration of $50,000.00 from ARPA Funds interest with a second from Member Sloan. Motion failed by roll call vote (6-7) with Members Barclay, Berry, Heller, Kumer, Platt, Southwood and Williams voting nay.
Member Berry moved to approve the 200th Anniversary Celebration of $25,000.00 from ARPA Funds interest with a second from Member Sloan. Motion carried by roll call vote (9-4) with Members Heller, Kumer, Southwood and Williams voting nay.
Member Heller reported the salt mix from this year has been relocated and will be used in the winter of 2023 and 2024.
Pot hole patching and grading work continues throughout Fulton County.
The County Highway 2 Bridge will be closed starting March 21, 2023 and will remain closed until October 6, 2023. The bridge is located south of Ipava, IL.
a. Discussion/Action: Clayberg RN’s starting wage to increase
Member Platt reported last month a wage study was done for the starting wages of RNs in Fulton County. The study was done due to the loss of several RNs at the Clayberg due to wages and the exorbitant cost associated with the use of agency staff at the Clayberg.
The Health Committee voted to raise the RNs’ starting salary by $5.00 per hour which would bring the RNs starting wages to $36.00 per hour.
Member Murphy inquired if the $5.00 per hour includes IMRF retirement and all the county benefits. Member Platt stated the $5.00 is only the increase in wages.
Chairman Spangler inquired if the RNs that currently work at the Clayberg, will also receive a $5.00 per hour increase.
Member Platt stated the RNs pay scale would increase across the board by $5.00 per hour.
Member Barclay stated the cost for agency help that is hired to work for the Clayberg as RNs is over $100.00 per hour.
Member Heller stated the county should not own a nursing home, but currently there are people to take care of at the Clayberg.
Member Platt discussed the Clayberg is fined by the State of Illinois everyday a RNs not at the Clayberg.
Member Platt stated the agency work done by RNs cost the Clayberg over $100,000.00 in 2022.
Member Williams stated Fulton County Deputy pay starts less than $24.00 per hour and the jailers make less. The jailers take care of all prisoners and mental patients, and are responsible for changing adult diapers on some mental patients 3 or 4 times a day.
Member Platt moved to approve the Clayberg RNs wage increase of $5.00 per hour with a second from Member Sloan. Motion carried by roll call vote (9-4) with Members Heller, Murphy, Southwood and Williams voting nay.
FINANCE, INSURANCE, PERSONNEL, LEGISLATIVE
a. Discussion/Action: TrueRoll Exemption Auditing Agreement
Member Thompson discussed the TrueRoll software would help the Assessment office in maintaining accurate property tax rolls by identifying unqualified and unclaimed homestead exemptions.
Russell is requesting the use of ARPA funds of $16,245.00 to purchase this software for one year.
Russell stated she would like to do a spot check with the software purchase once every 5 years.
Russell stated the software has a guaranteed return on the investment of the purchase amount. This software tracks people that have exemption in other counties and other states and gives a probability of whether the person should be receiving an exemption in Fulton County.
Member Thompson moved to approve to use ARPA funds to purchase TrueRoll software auditing software for $16,245.00 for 1-year, with a second from Member Beck. Motion carried by roll call vote
b. Discussion/Action: Bond Compliance – Chapman
Clerk O’Brian discussed this is a mandated by the Federal Government that Fulton County is transparent on the debt for Fulton County. The fee for the bond compliance is a $500.00 per year.
Member Thompson moved to approve the Bond Compliance with Chapman for $500.00 with a second from Member Southwood. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
c. Discussion/Action: Selling tax delinquent property to Habitat for Humanity
Member Thompson discussed Habitat for Humanity reached out to her regarding an adjacent property next to a lot that the organization already has in the City of Canton.
Habitat for Humanity could be asked to submit a bid, or Fulton County could enter into an agreement with Habitat for Humanity to purchase the property, if the property owner does not redeem the property taxes. The current taxes owed on the property are approximately $18,000.00. The minimum bid for a sealbid is $800.00.
Supervisor of Assessment Julie Russell stated the risk is if a sealed bid is received for more money and the new owner sees the property and stops paying the taxes. The property then would go back into the trustee program and this is a vicious cycle with no property taxes being paid.
Treasurer Mayall discussed Fulton County is setting a precedent by allowing Habitat for Humanity this opportunity, and it is a unique situation for the county. Treasurer Mayall stated there could be other organizations that would approach Fulton County to do the same process.
Member Williams inquired if the delinquent tax follows the property when the property is sold. Treasurer Mayall state no all property sold in the sealed bid auction, all prior years back taxes are waived.
Member Thompson moved to approve the special request to sell a tax delinquent property to Habitat for Humanity for $2,500.00 with a second from Member Kessel. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
d. Discussion/Action: Additional Clerk Position – Assessment Office
Supervisor of Assessment Julie Russell discussed the additional clerk position. This is a grade 3 position in the Assessment office. This job was cut from the Assessment office in December 2020. The person will be doing the traditional work of the grade 3 position and training under the property and deed transfer clerk, and Board of Review Secretary. By doing this will help to replace the position that is going to retire in the next few years from the Assessment office. The candidate Russell is looking to hire has 14 years of title search experience within Fulton County. The candidate will also assist with the process of setting up the GIS Department along with all splits and parcel combinations. A large part of this will be the solar projects coming to Fulton County. With each land agreement, a parcel needs to be created and this will add hundreds or thousands of parcels to the tax rolls. The legal description also needs to be created. The Current grade 4 position is going to have her workload doubled and this will be on top of her normal duties.
Once the current grade 4 position retires, and the new person replaces her, Russell will ask the Finance Committee to reevaluate the open grade 3 position.
Russell stated currently half of the salary would be funded by GIS and the remaining salary would be funded by the township billing line item.
Member Thompson moved to approve an additional Clerk Position – Assessment Office with a second from Member Southwood. Motion carried by roll call vote (13-0).
e. Discussion/Action: Resolution: raising of the Recorder’s fee to $86.00 due to the passing and signing of PA 102-1135
Member Thompson stated with the Public Act 102-1135, counties are required to do this.
Member Thompson moved to approve the resolution with a second from Member Murphy. Motion carried by roll call vote (10-3) with Members Barclay, Platt and Sloan voting nay.
f. Discussion/Action: Retirement Recognition Policy
Clerk O’Brian discussed the policies have been thoughtful and the due diligence was given to each. This policy was reactive instead of proactive. This was due to the fact this was a surprise to the county board budget and a policy was created for a uniform policy for retirement recognition. The policy states 10 years of service receives a resolution and a certification of recognition. Clerk O’Brian stated there has been more thoughtful policy work that has been done in the past.
Member Thompson stated the policy is about being equal to all. The question arises does the county only give plaques to elected officials or do employees with long term recognition receive plaques.
Member Thompson stated an employee brought this to her attention that the recognition is not the same for all. Member Thompson stated if retirements are recognized, then recognize all equally. If plaques will be given to all, it needs to be added to the budget. In the past proclamations have been written and given, not plaques.
Member Thompson would like to see an employee recognition program as an employee progresses through their career.
Member Kessel inquired if this is specific to the County Board and is the policy telling the county officials they cannot do something for their staff.
The policy will be sent back to the committee.
Member Thompson moved to approve the Retirement Recognition Policy with a second from Member Beck.
The first and second motions were rescinded.
g. Discussion: Circuit Clerk New Computer Maintenance System and ARPA funds
Circuit Clerk Charlene Markley discussed in 2021, she presented to the Finance committee and asked for assistance in purchasing PC JEMS software. The Fulton County Board approved the use of ARPA funds for the software.
In December 2022 or January 2023, the Chief Judge of the 9th Judicial sent an email regarding a new technology grant that could be used for software. Markley submitted the PC JEMS software request for the grant funds and was the granted. Circuit Clerk Charlene Markley returned the ARPA funds to Fulton County for another use.
PROPERTY, COURTS, PUBLIC SAFETY & CAMPGROUND
Member Williams reported the Old Dollar General property was a good purchase for the county.
Bill Smick provided a list of needed repairs and projects to Member Williams. A Sally Port is needed for safety and the security for all officers and prisoners at the jail.
The courthouse needs smoke detectors installed and Bill Smick will working on this project. The elevators are in good working order but need a camera and smoke detector installed. The bell tower at the courthouse needs work done. An epoxy may be used to seal the columns once the columns are repaired. The front of the courthouse needs a nice wrought iron gate where the coping splits in the front. The gate would open to allow visitors to view the monuments and would help the public be aware the front doors are not in use.
Kiesewetter Insurance will do a risk assessment at the courthouse but Kiesewetter will only do a visual inspection, nothing structural. Member Williams will contact Graham & Hyde for a Life Safety Study to be completed.
The cement pad on the Southside of the courthouse will be removed. The cement pad is broken and in disrepair.
The committee is planning a work day at the courthouse for lawn work, dirt is needed and grass needs to be seeded in areas where the trees were removed on the North side of the courthouse.
Superintendent Young is installing the new playground equipment at the campground.
Member Kessel inquired if once the engineering study is completed will a decision be made on repairs or replacement of the courthouse. Member Williams will bring the information to the Property committee and the Fulton County Board for review.
Chairman Spangler stated if the current courthouse needs $20 million in repairs, then a decision needs to be made to either repair or replace.
Chairman Spangler stated currently there is over a $1,000,000.00 allocated for repair and a plan for the repairs needs to be completed.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: None
Chairman Spangler stated there are packets on the front table for all board members from Tim Howerter.
Member Kessel made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:25pm with a second from Member Murphy. 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 March 14, 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 11th day of April, 2023.
Fulton County Board Chairman