County approves budget

The Monroe County Board on Monday morning gave final approval for the fiscal year 2018 budget, which actually began Friday and runs through Nov. 30 of next year.

Jim Schmersahl of the accounting firm Schmersahl, Treloar & Co. walked commissioners through details of the 52-page document. The budget, which was first reported as preliminarily approved in the Nov. 22 issue of the Republic-Times, projects expenditures in the coming 12 months.  

The budget projects a deficit of $146,343 on paper, but county treasurer Kevin Koenigstein reminded commissioners that departments virtually never spend 100 percent of their planned budgets and actually a small surplus is a more likely outcome.

Schmersahl praised the county’s management of its operations over past years, which have resulted in its current solid financial status. He noted property growth and expected impacts of the recently approved study of fees to bring them more in costs of services and to charge them more directly to service users.  

He also cited the success of implementing health insurance benefits for county employees, saying virtually flat cost trends are not what most other counties are experiencing.

“Monroe County is in better shape than almost any other county in the state,” he said.  “What have become cash losers for many counties are being managed here as break even or income generating functions.”   

In other action from the meeting, county engineer Aaron Metzger received approval to use the $500,000 appropriation of motor fuel tax funds from the state for maintaining county roads in the coming year.  The amount will be used for maintenance and materials, as well as labor and equipment for the work to ensure safe roads.  

Metzger also received approval to pay for the third and final installment of work to restore the Gall Road Bridge in Road District 6. The amount of $88,074.90 will finish payment for the recently completed work.

Harrisonville Drainage and Levee District commissioners Gene Rohlfing and Doug Sondag updated the board on the maintenance status of the levee that protects the area south of Columbia from Mississippi River flooding.  They also sought and received a resolution to bring Brian Edler in as a new levee district commissioner, replacing Ronald Kuergeleis, who passed away recently.  

The commissioners both cited Edler for his contributions to levee maintenance.

An extended session of resolutions of appointments and reappointments to various positions followed.  This is a routine practice at the start of each fiscal year.

Commissioners Robert Elmore and Vicki Koerber were re-elected to the offices of chairman and vice chairman of the Monroe County Board, respectively. Koerber was also reappointed to the Western Egyptian Economic Board of Directors and Southwestern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission.

Mike Fausz of Maeystown was reappointed as Monroe County Mapping and Platting Director, Monroe County Zoning Inspection Officer and as the 911 Coordinator.

Jim Doyle of Prairie du Rocher was reappointed and Valmeyer Police Chief Tom Andres and Columbia Police Chief Jerry Paul were appointed to the 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System Board. Paul replaces Sarah Linnemann, who resigned.

Sheila Wetzler was reappointed as Supervisor of General Assistance; Kim Keckritz was reappointed as Oak Hill Care Center Administrator; Dwight Boehm was reappointed as Monroe County Animal Control Administrator; and Carla Heise was reappointed as Monroe County Ambulance Service Director.

In approving Heise’s reappointment, commissioners were uniform in commending the turnaround Monroe County EMS has experienced in recent months.

Annmarie Marcuson was reappointed as Monroe County Human Resources Administrator for another year.  

Resolutions continuing agreements to lease Monroe County property to five organizations were approved, with rents due for the coming year remaining the same as last year.

Finally, commissioners resolved to change the pay schedule for new non-union employees, eliminating closely spaced step increases and replacing them with other pay increase schedules. This will considerably simplify and clarify pay roll work while providing periodic raises for seniority and experience. 

The board will next meet in regular session Monday, Dec. 18, at the courthouse.

Prior to Monday’s meeting, county commissioners kicked off the county’s celebration of the Illinois Bicentennial with leaders from Waterloo, Valmeyer and Hecker during a flag-raising ceremony outside of the courthouse.

Elmore noted the year-long celebration in Monroe County began Sunday in Maeystown, and that Monroe County was a hotbed of activity well before there were thoughts of organizing the state.

Commissioner Delbert Wittenauer noted in his remarks that Illinois’ first governor, Shadrach Bond, hailed from Monroe County, telling how Bond encouraged all citizens to come together to work for the common good.

Koerber read the official Monroe County Board Proclamation, encouraging all citizens to take part in the year-long observance across the state.

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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.
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