County OKs fee changes, hears ROE update - Republic-Times | News

County OKs fee changes, hears ROE update

By on January 3, 2018 at 2:34 pm

Pictured, Monroe-Randolph Regional Superintendent of Schools Kelton Davis (right) addresses the Monroe County Board of Commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting. (Alan Dooley photo)

The Monroe County Board lost no time starting its new calendar year, meeting in public session Tuesday morning at the courthouse.

Continuing a review of fees for services by county departments, the board unanimously approved fee changes for the Office of the County Clerk and Recorder, which is led by Monroe County Clerk Dennis Knobloch.

The changes are based on recommendations from a study conducted by Bellwether Management Services of Bloomington. Many county fees have not been changed in several years, and if independent analysis warrants higher fees, state law permits them to be implemented. 

Marriage licenses will increase from $50 to $60, and assumed name business registrations will cost $20, up from $5.

The cost to record documents including deeds, mortgages and liens will increase from $36 to $59. Notices of probate will cost $49, up from $26, and certified copies of real estate records will go from $12.50 to $25. 

Knobloch explained the changes will increase the total amount of fees collected annually in the clerk’s and recorder’s office by about $150,000. These changes will focus the cost of the office’s services on its users rather than the county population as a whole, many of whom don’t use most of the services.

Complete lists of the new fees are available in the county clerk’s office and will be listed online. 

In other news, Monroe-Randolph Regional Office of Education Superintendent Kelton Davis presented his annual report to the county board. 

Davis updated the financial balances and figures for services provided in the last fiscal year, including fingerprint background checks, testing and licenses issued.

He reported at length on education challenges, including truancy and discipline issues. 

While county schools and students are generally performing well, Davis said there are a number of students classified as chronically truant or potential drop-outs. 

He cited poverty and dysfunctional home lives as possible correlating factors. Each student presents different challenges, Davis said, adding that such students often lack goals and long-term aspirations.

The office provides help for county citizens of all ages trying to improve writing or math skills, and those working to earn high school equivalency certificates. Assistance is free of charge and is offered at Morrison-Talbott Library in Waterloo on Tuesdays from 4-7 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 Attendees are told, “Come when you can, stay as long as you want.” 

For more information, call the Regional Office of Education at 939-5650.

Davis also discussed a shortage of qualified substitute teachers, which can cause classes to be canceled when regular teachers are not available. He spoke with the commissioners about a study detailing this issue and said changes may be necessary in determining qualified substitute teachers and retaining them.

Shifting the focus to positive news, Davis said his office is completing interviews with 31 students who have applied for the Monroe County CEO program for the 2018-19 school year. 

The CEO program pairs students with local business leaders as they forge futures as entrepreneurs by coming up with ideas developing their own business plans. Next year will be the third year the program has operated in Monroe County.

Monroe County Treasurer Kevin Koenigstein and Chief Deputy Jim Lansing of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, stewards of the Palmier Cemetery in Columbia, reported on the status of the historic facility. 

In the past year, work has been completed to make 30 new burial plots available. They also reported roads throughout the cemetery will be improved in 2018 thanks to six truckloads of chat donated by quarries in Illinois and Missouri. 

In short, Koenigstein said the finances of the cemetery remain positive.

Before departing the meeting, Koenigstein told commissioners that $1.2 million in prepaid property taxes have been recorded by his office to date. He acknowledged the new federal tax bill, which caps deductions on federal and state income taxes at $10,000, is likely prompting many of these advance payments. 

Koenigstein also reminded commissioners the unpaid property tax sale will take place Jan. 9, at the Monroe County Courthouse.

Due to Martin Luther King Day, the next meeting of the Monroe County Board will be Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 9 a.m. 

Sessions are open to the public and agendas are posted prior to the meeting at

Alan Dooley

Alan is a photojournalist -- he both shoots pictures and writes for the R-T. A 31-year Navy vet, he has lived worldwide, but with his wife Sherry, calls a rambling house south of Waterloo home. Alan counts astronomy as a hobby and is fascinated by just about everything scientific.