New domestic violence advocate introduced
The Monroe County Board met the county’s new domestic violence advocate during its regular meeting on Monday when Rita Hubbs was introduced to the commissioners.
Hubbs has previously performed similar work in Randolph County.
Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois Executive Director Darlene Jones noted a previous financial support grant had been lost for 2017. She also said the county had stepped up to keep the critical service alive, with the House of Neighborly Service accepting responsibility to sustain the service on a part-time basis of 24 hours per week.
Both Jones and HNS leader Rev. Thelma Burgonio-Watson cited the board’s support as “overwhelming and unprecedented.” They said they hoped to forge an even stronger support mechanism in close cooperation with county judges, law enforcement departments, the circuit clerk’s office and many others who have accepted the challenge.
County maintenance director Brian Hooten updated the commissioners on bids to implement a comprehensive camera security system at the courthouse as part of efforts to upgrade overall security and safety. The commissioners approved a low bid of $26,976 for the camera system from Barcom Security of Swansea. The system will incorporate 29 cameras inside and outside the building, with wiring to allow 10 more to meet future needs.
The bid assumes the current metal ceiling in the main hall of the first floor of the new part of the courthouse will be replaced with a standard dropped ceiling. Although removing and replacing the ceiling will add cost, it will both reduce the cost of the new camera system and cut costs of future changes and maintenance, which now is hindered by the tight clearance and materials employed in the current ceiling.
A secure wall and door will also be added behind the welcome desk to house recording equipment for the cameras. The total cost for the entire project, including cameras and construction work, is estimated at $62,000.
Monroe County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Edie Koch, and board chairman Jim Hill updated commissioners on progress for the new group that is promoting business growth and stability. They provided a marketing summary that informs potential investors in the corporation with decision making answers about their participation.
To date, 13 businesses have committed financial support and more are deciding. The corporation is developing demographic and marketing data, and cooperating with state and other entities to provide information to businesses looking at Monroe County as a place to develop and grow. They are also developing a website and hope to have it in place by the end of the year, Koch said.
Monroe County Board Chairman Terry Liefer said the corporation was heading in the right direction and had already made strides to enhancing the job picture, tax base and quality of life in the county.
Julia Olszewski of Whispering Pines at Oak Hill, offered a proclamation naming November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in Monroe County, which received unanimous support from the commissioners. Whispering Pines cares for 40 sufferers today.
Monroe County Ambulance Service Director Carla Heise reported the service is offering a “Bystander CPR Class,” next Tuesday, Nov. 15. The two-hour class will begin at 9 a.m. at the Annex Building, 901 Illinois Avenue in Waterloo. Seating is limited. Call 939-6175, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. Future offerings will include sessions on proper use of child seats in vehicles.
The commissioners approved the use of county motor fuel tax funds to pay the fiscal 2017 salary of Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger. Metzger’s salary is set by the state, and is currently $106,000 annually. Metzger updated the board on progress to continue to bring the county’s highway signage into compliance with federal regulations in place since 2009.
The county has received proposals for employee health insurance for the coming year, and after a survey of employees, Monroe County Treasurer Kevin Koenigstein reported that Blue Cross-Blue Shield has been selected to provide coverage for the coming year.
Leases of county properties were approved for the coming year at the same rates as last year. The annual rents are: Violence Prevention Center, $1,560; Regional Office of Education, $21,600; Monroe County Health Department $43,212; County EMA, $14,400; Ambulance Service, $29,939; and the MERS Goodwill Youth Employment Program, $2,030.
Finally, the following appointments were approved by resolutions: Rachele Starr of Columbia to replace Sahra Linneman on the 911 Emergency Telephone System Board; Dylane Doerr and Charlotte Hoock, both of Columbia, as Miles Cemetery Board Trustees.
The commissioners’ next meeting will be, Monday, Nov. 21, at 8 a.m. in the courthouse.