County permits going online

The Monroe County Board OK’d implementing online building and zoning permits by citizens during its monthly meeting on Monday. 

The process will be offered through Buildpermit of Fairfax, Va.  It  will cost the county $14,500 per year for a five-year contract, including installation, training and technical support.

Monroe County Building Inspector and Zoning Administrator Chris Voelker and office employee Max Turner presented details of the program to the board.  They told them that Boone and Bond counties in Illinois are using the system and say it saves time both for applicants and the office, cuts office printing costs and makes building change information available to other offices such as the assessor.  

The commissioners directed Voelker and Turner to start the process to get the software installed and ready for use, but to continue to ask questions concerning any potential future costs or other possible issues.  

In other county zoning news, a Monroe County Planning Commission meeting takes place 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Room 200 at the courthouse to discuss rezoning more than 125 acres of land between FF Road and Hanover Road along Route 3 from A2 to B2 for the purpose of a proposed Stumpy’s Spirits Distillery expansion. Stumpy’s intends to build a 10,000-barrel rickhouse and a 25,000-square-foot multi-purpose event venue at this site.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the lease for two adjacent office spaces on the courthouse ground floor by MERS Goodwill Job Placement has been recalculated to include the square footage in both spaces. It will change from the previous cost of $2,030 annually for the front office only to $3,540 for both offices.  The new lease is effective as of July 1.

Commissioners approved a previously tabled bid by Emergency Remarketing of Willoughby, Ohio, to buy an old Monroe County EMS ambulance, a 2006 Ford E150, for $1,368.15.  

In other action, the commissioners approved an ordinance reducing the levy for Oak Hill senior care center staff salaries from last year’s amount of $900,000 to not more than $500,000 for the current fiscal year ending Nov. 30, 2021. 

A discussion of the coming passage through Monroe County of the Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 steam locomotive wrapped up the meeting.

The engine, the largest still-working steam engine in the world, will leave its Cheyenne, Wyo., home this Thursday on a looping route around the Midwest.  

It is slated to travel through Monroe County on Saturday, Aug. 28, departing Chester at 1:55 p.m.  

Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing and commissioners discussed traffic issues likely to emerge along and near Bluff Road due to the highly popular locomotive, which is attracting substantial attention from here and elsewhere.

Safety of people viewing the powerful train engine is a large concern, including Union Pacific’s urging not to be closer than 25 feet to the tracks to avoid steam and debris.   

The Monroe County Board will next meet in regular session at 8:15 am, Monday, Aug. 16 in the courthouse. 

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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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