County receives project, financial updates

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The rapidly changing nature of the current coronavirus environment obviously dominated Monday’s meeting of the Monroe County Board, which can read about on this week’s front page.

In other business from the meeting, Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger requested and received approval for five resolutions for CRS2 Emulsion asphalt material and MC800 Bituminous material to be used to maintain and improve county roads this year.  The contracts approved by the resolutions will pay for materials, their delivery and, in some cases, their application to roads. 

The agreements include materials for all 10 of Monroe County’s road districts.

Bid winners for materials and services include: Maedge Trucking of Highland, Don Anderson Company of Hoffman and JTC Petroleum Company of Maryville.

Metzger told commissioners prices were very comparable to those for the same materials and services last year.

Metzger was also authorized to expend $120,000 from Motor Fuel Tax funds to purchase rock salt for road treatment this coming winter.

Monroe County Treasurer Kevin Koenigstein provided the commissioners his report of first quarter fiscal year 2020 revenues and expenditures.  

He said the county was very close to being on its predicted budget for both figures for the period ending Feb. 29.  This included a very significant income of Christmas season sales tax revenues, he said.

But obviously, he told commissioners, the future impact of the coronavirus issue cannot be known at this time. 

Koenigstein noted that asset forfeiture sharing from Drug Enforcement Agency drug busts involving Monroe County totaled $90,839.91 for the first two months of calendar 2020, and more are in the process. These moneys are designated for specific law enforcement uses and in some cases are being substituted for previously appropriated tax funds.

Oak Hill Senior Living and Rehabilitation Administrator Kim Keckritz reported on measures being taken there to deal with the COVID-19 threat. Keckritz said figures for February, including the census of residents, remain very good.  She did say the facility has five empty beds in skilled nursing due to patients being in isolation for non-COVID-19 issues.  

Keckritz outlined steps being taken at Oak Hill to best ensure the health of residents and staff. 

“There are no visitors allowed,” she said.  

In addition, all staff members are screened on their arrival at work and all residents’ temperatures are checked daily.  If residents show fevers, they will be isolated from others.

 If they show more serious symptoms, Keckritz said they would be hospitalized. 

To manage social contacts, meals are being served in rooms versus the dining hall environments and residents are not being allowed to leave the buildings.

Keckritz also said six students are currently signed up for the next Certified Nursing Assistant class, with room for four more. Interested persons should contact Oak Hill if interested.

Commissioner Vicki Koerber told colleagues she is working with Columbia Community Relations and Tourism Coordinator Sue Spargo to expand a planned Household Hazardous Waste Collection opportunity countywide.  The event will be under the auspices of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.  The planned date for the event, to be held at Columbia High School, is May 30, with times to be determined.

The municipalities of Waterloo, Columbia, Valmeyer and Monroe County are each contributing $200 to pay for advertising the event and its details.  

Items county citizens will be able to discard at the event include oil-based paints, household batteries, paint thinners, used motor oil, herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, old gasoline, pool chemicals, cleaning products lawn chemicals, solvents, antifreeze, hobby chemicals aerosol paints and pesticides, fluorescent lamp bulbs, drain cleaners, corrosives and unwanted medications (not to include controlled substances.) 

Unacceptable materials and items include agricultural wastes, business or commercial sector wastes, explosives or ammunition, controlled substances, propane tanks, smoke detectors, farm machinery oil, fire extinguishers, biohazard wastes, or institutional wastes, or lead-acid batteries, such as used in cars and gas mowers.

Do not bring latex paints, organizers said.  They can be dried or absorbed and discarded with regular trash.

A pleasing development was evident at Monday’s meeting with the beginning of work to restore the old courtroom showing.  Walls have been painted a warm sand yellow color and all trim around the metal ceiling has been fully restored.  

That later work turned out to be harder than planned when it was discovered the material was all aging hand-detailed plaster versus wood or other material. The work was done by Traiteur Finishing of Waterloo.

Koerber told the Republic-Times that Sandra Rippelmeyer of Columbia has contributed time and skills to the work as well.  Restoration of the windows to their old appearance is next on the agenda.

The county board will meet next in the old courtroom on Monday, April 6. 

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