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Douglas County Board approves ten bridge repair petitions for 2022

By Kendra Hennis

The meeting of the Douglas County Board was called to order at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, January 19 with all members present.

During the consent agenda, the board approved resolution 22-R-3 approaching ten active County Aid Township Bridge (CATB) petitions for fiscal year 2022. These petitions include sections CATB-08-05 in Arcola, 05-04122-00-BR in Garrett, 07-07122-00-BR in Newman, 07-07123-00-BR in Newman, CATB 17-01 in Murdock, 19-03126-00-BR in Bourbon, 19-02127-00-BR in Bourbon, 20-01134-00-BR in Arcola, 21-01135-00-BR in Arcola, and 07-08119-00-BR in Sargent. These petitions represent $498,562.50 in requested aid and will allow for the repairs of multiple bridges in Douglas County.

After approval of a few more agenda items, the board moved to subcommittee reports. It was mentioned that full reports are available after meetings on the Douglas County website under meeting information. Chairman Don Munson then explained that at the budget subcommittee meeting they had had the Treasuer present their final report of 2021. It showed that revenue was up almost $800,000 for the year and exceeded the general fund revenue, which he said was a very good thing. He then thanked the employees for being so frugal in the government and for keeping an eye on their expenditures.

The Douglas County Health Department’s Administrator Amanda Minor then presented to the board. Minor stated that COVID was still happening in the county and that there were unfortunately some deaths from COVID in January. She informed the board that COVID testing is changing at the health department and that now appointments must be made for testing. Appointments can be made on the Douglas County Health Department’s website or by calling the health department at 217-253-4137. Minor said that they hope the switch will allow for the testing site and employees to not become so overwhelmed as well as help residents not have to wait in line so long to be tested.

She additionally informed the board that contact tracing has changed and that there will no longer be contact tracing through the health department for everyone. Residents under 65 will get a text with instructions from the Illinois Department of Public Health, and residents over 65 will get a phone call. Minor explained that the health department will still be monitoring outbreaks in long-term care facilities. She also noted that the health department is still holding weekly COVID vaccine clinics at the Tuscola Community Building and that appointments can be made by visiting the health department’s website. Minor was asked board member Jim Mikeworth if she has received any notice of a fourth shot and she said at this time that they have not received any guidance but it would be reasonable to expect. Minor then explained that they had stopped providing daily case numbers due to the change in testing making it harder for them to determine. She ended noting that reports can be found through IDPH’s website and for all to stay healthy and get vaccinated.

The board also:

* Approved the December 15 regular board meeting minutes.

* Approved the payments of the county’s financial obligations.

* Approved the drainage district appointments of Justin D. Green to Union Drainage District No. 17 Garrett and Bourbon Township for a term until 2024; Philip W. Gingerich to Union Drainage District No. 17 Garrett and Bourbon Township for a term until 2023; and Gary Appleby to Union Drainage District No. 17 Garrett and Bourbon Township for a term until 2022.

* Approved the drainage district appointments of Larry Herschberger to Dehart Drainage District, Bourbon Township for a term until 2024; Duane A. Miller-Dehart to Dehart Drainage District, Bourbon Township for a term until 2023; and Eil Schlabach-Dehart to Dehart Drainage District, Bourbon Township for a term until 2022.

* Reappointed James Sanstrom, Lisa Edwards, and Mike Goodman to the Douglas County 911 Board for a four-year term.

* Approved resolution 22-R-1 adjusting the mileage reimbursement rate to 56.5 cents per mile for privately owned automobiles used for official travel.

* Approved resolution 22-R-2 issuing a 30-day extension of declaration of emergency due to COVID-19.

* Approved ordinance 22-O-1 to opt out of a preferential assessment for affordable low income rental housing construction and rehabilitation projects. It was explained by State’s Attorney Kate Watson that this was a “Cook County-driven program” and had extensive criteria to be met. After speaking with others in the area, they believed it would be for the best to opt-out and wait. It was additionally noted that most counties in the state have opted out of the program.

* Discussed a change in ARBA funding and how that pertains to the county. Chairman Don Munson explained that it will make it easier for Douglas County to use all of the funding that they had offered. He noted that the board was currently looking at projects like the Joint Water Line and Newman Water Plant Upgrade but they would be discussing potential future projects.

* Noted that the Douglas County WIOA program is hiring interested applicants. More information will be available at the February meeting.

* Adjourned until the February 16 board meeting at 9 a.m.

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