Annex, Route 3, fee collection among county board topics


The Monroe County Board conducted a shorter-than-normal session Monday, concluding its agenda and hosting two comments in little more than one hour.

An executive session was first conducted with Monroe County Health Department administrator John Wagner.  While details of this closed meeting were not public, the session had to deal with a potential real estate transaction that would accommodate future requirements of the health department.

The health department currently operates out of the Monroe County Annex at 901 Illinois Avenue. 

In regular session, Dr. Mona Baker addressed the commissioners, seeking support for changes to Route 3 to enhance traffic safety.  

Her discussion came in the wake of last Tuesday’s tragic two-vehicle crash near the Columbia McDonald’s that resulted in a local mother killed and her six children injured.  

The commissioners listened to Baker’s concerns and informed her that while they have in the past made requests to the Illinois Department of Transportation concerning the highway, it is a state managed route.  

Concerning the accident last week, commissioners noted that it occurred in Columbia’s jurisdiction. Baker also expressed concerns about traffic safety at the Route 3 and Hanover Road intersection.

Angela Berry and Traci James introduced the local Call For Help organization, which recently celebrated a ribbon-cutting for its new office at 219A W. Mill Street in Waterloo.

Call For Help is a nearly 50-year-old organization that was founded in St. Clair County. It has and still does strive to meet a variety of human needs, but Berry and James focused on their services to victims of sexual assault.

The two told about various local support activities for the organization, including the April 28 event titled “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” that will see men walking that distance in women’s high heel shoes. 

Additional information about “Call For Help” can be found at

Oak Hill Director Kim Keckritz, accompanied by Monroe County State’s Attorney Chris Hitzemann, came to discuss ongoing negotiations with Holland Construction over disposition of remaining contingency funds from construction of the Evergreen Pointe rehabilitation facility. The funds were designated to meet any unforeseen situations, such as unknown subsurface soil conditions that might arise, and were set at $100,000. A total of $33,000 was used to meet a need for an unplanned added water meter.  

Holland has requested the remaining $77,000 of the contingency fund, saying even with that amount they still brought the project to completion under the guaranteed amount of $3.95 million.

Hitzemann discussed various contractual and legal issues and was authorized to continue discussions to resolve the issue.

Monroe County Circuit Clerk Lisa Fallon received board approval to change Brenda Hempen’s employment status from part-time to full-time.  Hempen brings enhanced bookkeeping skills to the office, Fallon said, noting the importance of better bookkeeping to future office management. 

She is also engaged in ensuring money that is supposed to come to the county is received. 

Fallon also updated numbers on the recovery of unpaid court fees recently identified. An initial analysis pinpointed at least $778,000. Fallon reported that continued work has raised that figure to more than $1 million.  

At the Feb. 20 meeting, Fallon reported that in only one week, some $2,000 had been recovered.  In the following two weeks, that figure has risen to $9,078.92.

University of Illinois Extension Director Pam Jacobs discussed that organization’s annual lease for space in the Monroe County Annex. The annual amount has been $32,112. Jacobs brought several maintenance issues to the commissioners’ attention, and board chairman Bob Elmore assured her they would be corrected this year.  

The Monroe County Board will next meet in regular session at 8 a.m. March 19. 

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