County talks leases, levees and more

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The Monroe County Board of Commissioners met in a short session Monday morning at the courthouse.

Leases were updated for two entities to cover periods from Dec. 1, 2019 through Nov. 30, 2020.

The Monroe County Ambulance Service will continue to operate from their 3,406-square-foot facility in the Monroe County Annex Building at 901 Illinois Avenue in Waterloo.

The lease calls for monthly payments of $2,495 for a yearly total of $29,939.  

A lease for the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois division serving Monroe and Randolph counties of a 179-square-foot space in the courthouse was approved for another year at a monthly cost of $130 for an annual total of $1,560.  

Suzanne Volansky was introduced to the board and meeting attendees as an addition to the county’s human resources department that is headed up by Missy Whittington. The Department is assuming HR duties from the county’s Oak Hill senior care facility and will be available to provide necessary support across county offices.

Volansky told commissioners she has worked in the field for 19 years now, including for Walmart.

The board approved the three-county Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District Council’s choice of Keller Construction of Glen Carbon to conduct work to correct levee underseepage issues between miles 861 and 863 in Cahokia.  

While Keller’s bid of $995,500 was lower than the estimated cost of $1,197,827.46, it was in fact the second-lowest bid.  But the low bid was rejected as being nonresponsive.   

The flood prevention district council was formed in 2009 to oversee restoration and improvement of the 74-mile levee system that protects properties in the river bottoms in Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties.

This happened after FEMA informed the metro-east region it was preparing to rescind lower federal flood insurance provisions for the three-county stretch due to deterioration in the system.  

Its work is financed by a one-fourth cent sales tax across the three counties.  Had flood insurance rates risen dramatically, this would have devastated residents and businesses in the area. The best flood insurance rates have been retained by work of the three- counties and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The new head of the University of Illinois Extension Office, Amy Cope, came before the board to discuss relocating the extension’s offices from their current spaces in the Monroe County Annex Building next door to the area recently vacated by the Monroe County Health Department.  

She noted that there would have to be some changes to best accommodate the new use, and the commissioners decided to continue the subject for the next regular meeting session. 

Monroe County Ambulance Service Director Carla Heise sought and received board approval of an annual emergency telephone systems agreement between St. Clair and Monroe counties. The agreement stipulates processes and procedures for handling 911 emergency calls and includes guidance that once an emergency unit is dispatched in response to the system, service shall be provided regardless of whether the unit is operating within or outside of its normal operating boundaries.

The commissioners will meet next in the old court room at the courthouse at 8:15 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18. Meetings are usually on Mondays, but Feb. 17 is President’s Day and the courthouse will be closed that day.  

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