Oak Hill gets new administrator

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Newly hired Oak Hill administrator Brian Koontz
signs a contract for the job, briefly removing
his mask. Koontz will start work at Oak Hill on June 10.

The Monroe County Board approved a new administrator for the county-run senior care facility during Monday’s meeting at the courthouse. 

Brian Koontz will take over for the retiring Kim Keckritz as administrator at Oak Hill Senior Living and Rehabilitation Center in Waterloo. 

Koontz and his family currently reside in the Granite City area, but he said they are looking to relocate in Waterloo.  He  was chosen from six applicants for the job by a committee headed up by Commissioner Dennis Knobloch.

Koontz brings 16 years in the long-term care field to his new position and is coming from his position as Chief Operating Officer for Custom Medical Solutions in St. Louis. He and wife Katie have three children – two daughters in college and a 15-year-old son.

Koontz will start work at Oak Hill on June 10. His contract runs through Nov. 30, after which he will be eligible for reappointment at a pay increase from the starting pay of $112,000 annually to $114,000 per year.

Koontz – who has lived in the area before when his father, an Air Force colonel, was stationed at Scott Air Force Base – told the board his work philosophy is person and resident centered.  

“I want to bring positivity to the job as well,” he said. 

Noting what lies immediately ahead in his new job, he said, “I want to explore needs – to turn stones over.” 

But he added, he was pleased with what he has seen thus far. 

“Kim Keckritz has done a wonderful job, earning Oak Hill’s five-star rating.”

In other business, commissioners heard from maintenance supervisor Joe Lewis concerning the condition of the courthouse roof. Lewis said water collects in places on the building roof and most recently, has caused nine leaks in the newer part of the building and one additional seepage in the old section.

“The roof is now 25 years old. It is out of warranty and we have been having roofers patch leaks as they appeared.”

In addition to replacing the existing roof covering, Lewis told commissioners the roof’s pitch, or slope, must be corrected to create proper drainage. He said that would require adding approximately six inches to the roof’s elevation, but this would also allow adding energy saving insulation.

Lewis was authorized to begin seeking bids immediately. He estimated the job will cost about $170,000.  He said it would take time for potential contractors to survey the work and submit sealed bids, and it could take as long as next winter before work can be done.  

He was urged to see if the work could be done sooner. 

Monroe County Public Safety Coordinator Kevin Scheibe informed commissioners about the ongoing Hazard Mitigation Grant process to help local residents of the Mississippi River bottoms recover from last years near-record flooding.  

The process is similar to assistance offered to residents after the historic Flood of 1993, which saw federal funds made available through FEMA and state money through the IDNR, to buy out properties of flood-impacted farmers or to raise homes up to 14 feet to get them above potential flood waters.  

Scheibe said he had applied earlier this year for the funds and was recently informed Monroe County is being moved ahead to the next step in the process.  

He said he has already been contacted by 14 of the 256 residents in the county river bottoms. Eleven have said they are interested in a buyout and three want to explore raising their homes above flood waters.  

If a buyout is the choice, property ownership and responsibility would be transferred to the county, with the possibility of any farmland being leased to the previous owner or other farmers. The residence would have to be demolished by the county, as nobody can live on the property after the buyout.  

Interested persons may contact Scheibe for information by calling 618-939-8681, ext. 534, or emailing kscheibe@monroecountyil.gov.

Applicants have until July 15 to apply for the grant and doing so does not commit them in any way to carry out the process.  

Monroe County Health Administrator John Wagner said the health department had acquired approval to purchase an S76 T4 Bobcat skid steer loader for the Monroe County Recycling Center.  He said the new machine will cost  $46,796.04, minus a $24,250 trade-in for the existing piece of equipment, which he said was causing lost work with added repair costs. 

“It was time to make this move,” he said.

Monroe County Zoning and Building Department Director Chris Voelker received board approval for a flood plain variance on farm property at 8559 B Road to permit the property owner to erect a hopper bin for harvest products. He said the bin would stand on legs and be similar to structures on neighboring lands.  

The county board will meet next in the old court room at the courthouse at 8:15 a.m. June 15. 

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