The Washington County Board met last night. They began the night by touring the new Washington County Judicial Building. Afterwards they returned to the Boardroom for the meeting. County Engineer Mitch Burdick explained that the Illinois Department of Transportation was updating their records and needed a copy of the County’s resolution on Road District Maintenance Engineering Reimbursements, which he could not find. Therefore, he wrote up a new resolution on the practices and processes currently in use. The Board approved this new resolution. He updated a couple of current projects that stalled during the storms. The Stone Church Bridge replacement is 15 percent complete, while the County Highway 13 project is 8 percent done. Employee Charlie Bahre is retiring as of next Friday and so Chad Malick was hired full-time. He had been a part-timer from the summer. Also, Gateway FS was the low bidder for the County’s fuel supplier. He also had bad news about the Motor Fuel Tax, which have been dropping for 6 years, including a 23 percent drop last year from 2007. He said this is approximately the same as what they had in 1992, but things cost more now, so it is a challenge. Local taxes allow the department to run for 4 months with MFT accounting for the rest of the year. This has been an ongoing problem and will continue. He says they will just keep doing the best they can to get by. An example of some kind of cutback would be less oiling and spreading of rock during the summer. He updated some information on the snow situations this year, saying they have received nearly 20 inches at the office, while the yearly average is about 18 inches. Also, they have had 13 days of snow this winter and have spent $55,000 on snow removal. They will not make any cutbacks if there is more snow this winter. County Clerk Tom Ganz updated the Board about a new recording system. It will be through CIC and will cost approximately $65,000, but that includes the equipment, training and maintenance for 5 years. CIC will convert data from the current system to the new one. He would like this to take place after the election though. The data would be backed up in the building, but it would also be backed up off site, so in case something happened, nothing would be lost. The old system is no longer supported by the manufacturer and cost $90,000 in 2001. The new system will not cost the County or taxpayers, as it will be funded from money the Clerk & Recorder Office has been collecting for recording services. County Coroner Mark Styninger presented his annual report. His office responded to 117 calls, the most ever and they investigated 35 of them. There were 108 natural deaths, 7 accidental deaths, which is an increase and 1 suicide. There were no homicides in Washington County last year. There was one autopsy performed and 7 toxicology tests performed. They also issued 34 cremation permits, another record high. He also explained a grant they received through the Illinois Department of Health and he purchased fatal vision goggles for community education. They are goggles students can put on and they will experience various levels of impairment due to alcohol. The students are then asked to perform some tasks to show them how alcohol can affect them. They used them last year at Nashville Middle School and will be at Okawville this year. The Zoning Committee had some issues to bring before the Board. One involved an update on property owned by Greg Kinney, who wants to build a home, but was denied by the Zoning Appeals Board, but went back before them, but was not approved by a vote of 7 to nothing. The committee also did some investigating and did not agree with the appeals ruling, so it was brought to the County Board and they approved the rezoning of Agriculture to Residential to allow Kinney to build. Opposition was from a hog farm near the property, but the Board felt this home would not restrict the growth of the hog farm. The next issue pertained to a handgun training business on Grand Road. The Zoning Appeals Board did not approve this, as it was a safety concern. Shooting has been going on since 2000 at this residence and there hasn’t been an incident to date, but because it would be a training range for concealed carry applicants for a fee, the County became involved. The County Board disapproved of the Appeals Board by a vote of 10 to 5 to allow the firing range to proceed. There is an issue that a super majority vote is needed for approval. At the time of the meeting, it was believed that this was two-thirds, but some contended it was a three-fourths voted needed, which would reverse the decision. They hope to have this solved sometime today. Emergency Management Director Rick Greten made a report on the volunteerism of some during the snow storm. He said the hotels in Okawville and Grace United Methodist Church in Nashville helped with those not able to continue on the roadways, some of whom had vehicles stuck somewhere. In fact, he said there were up to 70 people at the church and the Original Springs Hotel had people where ever they could find space to sleep. Insurance Committee Chairman Alan Hohlt made a report on the dramatic increase in health insurance premiums this year. The county was paying nearly $595 per month per employee, but that is going up over $57 to $651. Dental is going up from nearly $33 to $34.16, while vision is going up from $9.72 to $10.12. The county pays 100 percent for dental and vision, while paying the first $500 for health and then it is split 50-50 with the employee. These figures go into effect February 1st. Next the Board received bids on moving files, furniture and equipment from the Courthouse to the Judicial Building. They received 4 bids, 3 useable and one incomplete. The low bid of $9,736 from Gerold Moving & Warehousing Company in Belleville was approved. The other bids were approximately $17,500 and $23,300. This will not include computers and printers. Moving day is anticipated to be February 10th. There was discussion on what to put on the third flag pole at the new building. A new county flag was suggested, as was putting up the MIA – POW flag. It was decided to go ahead with a new county flag. A new logo will be created and not to use the County Seal. Drawings will be done at this stage. Also, the recycle truck for the county is broken. It needs work done to it to get it back on the road and it could cost up to $3,000 to do so. A new Animal Warden has been hired. Current employee Jane Reuter was promoted. The previous Animal Warden did not have his contract renewed near the end of last year. Due to a dispute in Covington Township, a new road has been created and it has 5 to 6 addresses on it, so it must have a name. As it is in the bird area of the county, it has been named Skyhawk Road. It is by Kaskaskia Road and Clubhouse Road. It will still remain a private drive, but for 9-1-1 purposes, it needed a name. This was approved by the Board.