County OKs Oak Hill addition

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The Monroe County Board on Monday approved a new transitional care unit to be built at the Oak Hill senior care facility.

A contract for the work was reviewed by Monroe County State’s Attorney Kris Reitz, who pointed out the need for clarification of several points.

Construction on the new unit is scheduled to start next spring at an estimated cost of $2.5 million. It will include furnishings and necessary rehabilitation equipment.

Monroe County Treasurer Kevin Koenigstein indicated that a combination of CDs, a depreciation fund for Oak Hill, a grant by the endowment board and facility income should cover all costs. The facility, designed to help patients transition from hospital stays through rehabilitation and then home, has been assessed as a good fit for Oak Hill’s contribution to the community.

In other action from the meeting, Monroe County Highway Engineer Aaron Metzger reported that Bluff Road between Kaskaskia Road and Kidd Lake is still covered by water on one side. He said highway personnel are watching the area carefully with rain in the forecast, but will close the road only if it is made necessary by further flooding.

Metzger also said a bill was received from the state for 2013 work to enhance safety on Kaskaskia Road. The county’s 10 percent portion of the project – $31,612.52 – had not been requested until recently.  Payment was approved by the commissioners.

Metzger updated plans for the realignment of Kaskaskia Road and Route 3 as well. A preliminary traffic study indicated a traffic light might be needed there, but IDOT and the county agree there are better ways to facilitate safe traffic flow there, including turn and acceleration lanes.

Elsewhere, Metzger said work on Lakeview Drive is moving ahead well, masonry work has been completed on the emergency generator enclosure outside of the courthouse and the generator has been placed back inside the enclosure.

Koenigstein updated plans for buying back accumulated vacation time from county employees. The voluntary program should be announced to employees in another month.

When the program was conceived, an obligation of some $175,000 existed.  But two employees have retired and several more have used vacation time this summer, so the total figure is now lower.

An incentive of 105 percent is being offered.  This would be more than compensated for by avoiding future salary adjustments, thus ultimately saving taxpayers money.

Monroe County EMA Director Ryan Weber said an additional week of the current disaster declaration for flooding has been requested.  These declarations are good only for seven-day periods. The extension will run until July 10.

Monroe County Zoning Director Mike Fausz reported that building permits seem to indicate home starts are accelerating in the county in recent months.  A total of 13 permits for single-family dwellings have been approved for the period of December 2014 through May 2015 and one multi-family structure (duplex) was approved in April.

Brian Hooten updated the board on work to enhance courthouse security by replacing the key system with a computer card system and limiting after hours and weekend access.  He said the system should be up and operating by Friday.

Finally, Ronald Polka of Waterloo was reappointed to the Monroe County Flood Prevention District for a new three-year term.

The commissioners will meet again Monday, July 20, in the second floor meeting room of the courthouse.

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