County talks dispatching, pot, UTVs

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The Monroe County Association for Home and Community Education was recognized for its contributions to the area by the week of Oct. 13-19 being proclaimed in honor of their 78-year old group that features more than 100 volunteers who make countless contributions to social and economic welfare in homes and the community.  Accepting the recognition were, standing, from left, Rose Anne Bense, Marie Schroeder and Rosemary Yaekel.  In front, from left, are commissioners Vicki Koerber, Bob Elmore and Ron Schultheis.

The Monroe County Board revisited a few topics of recent interest during its Monday morning meeting at the courthouse. 

An agreement for a contract setting forth Waterloo’s payment for emergency dispatching services provided by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was presented for approval.  The Waterloo City Council approved the three-year contract on its end in September.

Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing said the contract, which replaced a verbal understanding, was long overdue and would help cover increasing costs of providing the service and maintaining necessary equipment. 

Commissioner Vicki Koerber expressed concerns about the billing cycle as set forth in the contract and withheld her approval.  

The contract was approved by a 2-1 vote with commissioners Bob Elmore and Ron Schultheis voting in favor.  

Commissioners next discussed how the county should respond to state legislation concerning recreational marijuana consumption statewide effective Jan. 1.

They noted that an upcoming veto session in Springfield was reportedly revisiting details of this legislation.  

Rohlfing said in discussions with sheriffs elsewhere, including Colorado, which has permitted this for sometime, he has been told to expect an increase in crime after this takes effect.  

Everyone involved in the discussion noted marijuana possession and use is still against federal law, regardless of state and local regulations. 

Rohlfing stated he felt his department had no measure of control until the state makes its final determination, but that there is a large amount of money connected with this issue.  

“It may eventually have to be resolved by the Supreme Court,” he said.  

The county board decided to table the matter at this time pending results of the veto session. The commissioners expect to schedule a public hearing in the coming months.

Valmeyer Mayor Howard Heavner sought county approval for non-highway vehicles, including UTVs and golf carts, to operate on county roads to traverse his community.  

In August, the Valmeyer Village Board passed an ordinance allowing golf carts and UTVs on village streets.

Heavner noted he was not supportive of this idea when it was presented to him at first, but in discussion with community leaders from Chester to Millstadt, he learned there was little negative comment and changed his position to positive. 

He noted that agricultural interests are authorized statewide to operate these vehicles on roads in connection with their businesses. He specifically said these vehicles are not authorized to operate on the Route 156 hill between new and old Valmeyer and the village placed added limits on their use – including an age limit of 21 or older versus the state law of 18 and older.  

Dennis Knobloch, Valmeyer’s village administrator, noted that they wanted to treat new and old Valmeyer citizens the same way, too.

Koerber said she had received several negative inputs on the idea. Heavner said that while this is not statistically definitive, a Facebook survey had resulted in 90 percent approval. 

 The commissioners decided to table this request for further consideration.

Also at the meeting, Deputy Circuit Clerk Brenda Hempen provided an updated financial report of activities of the Monroe County Circuit Clerk’s Office, including details of sources of fees and their distribution to various offices. 

She told commissioners that in ongoing efforts to claim unpaid fees, the office has identified numerous instances of people failing to submit fees associated with child support and is in the process of turning them over for collection.

Over many years, this matter has risen to a total exceeding $300,000. 

The next meeting of the Monroe County Board will be 8:15 a.m. Oct. 21 at the courthouse. 

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