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Hamilton County Board Host a Busy Meeting

Ham Co Board Meeting Highlights:


Hamilton County and City of McLeansboro Officials are set to meet Thursday to discuss the Dispatch Agreement, Supervisor of Assessments Mark Becker will retire after nearly three decades, and representatives from Bellwether, LLC provided Hamilton County elected officials an update on the consequences of the minimum wage Increase. 


With Board Chairman Brad Miller absent, P.E. Cross ran Tuesday night’s Hamilton County Board meeting.


University of Illinois Extension Director Connie Beck is no doubt counting down the days to her retirement next month.  She still has a bit of business she’s tending to however.  She was able to check one of those final objectives off her list last night when the Hamilton County Board approved a new 3 year Lease Agreement.  Beck again echoed her thanks to County officials for their assistance and what she called a fantastic working relationship over her tenure.


In other matters, Board members have approved a remote attendance policy for emergency situations only.  Up next, State’s Attorney Justin Hood presented updated wording for the County’s Nuisance Ordinance.  The matter was tabled so that Miller could review prior to adopting.


Bruce DeLashmit provided information on behalf of his firm, Bellwether, LLC.  The veteran owned consulting firm provides Government Performance Services to several counties throughout the state.  He says Hamilton County was in a better position than it’s peer counties with regards to the Minimum Wage increase.  He estimates the cost of implementing that wage increase to county employees to be about $25,000 over the next 5 years, far less than what similar counties DeLashmit is working with.  He says to expect an update next month on cost analysis specifically for the Highway Department.


Sheriff Tracy Lakin gave his first ever update, providing stats from his office’s activity since his swearing in, in December of 2018.  Lakin reports the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office has responded to 641 incidents and has fielded more than 250 emergency 911 calls since January 13th.  Lakin and his four deputies have logged more than 16,700 patrol miles since December 18th.  In addition to 28 citations, Sheriff’s authorities have handled a solitary DUI and a handful of meth offenses, as well as 16 arrest warrants.  Lakin estimates the department has generated $2,127.20 in revenue.


Mat Bryson gave a quarterly Liquor Compliance update saying he had checked on 3 establishments including Hunt’s Hardware in Dale, Rube’s Liquor Locker and Ron’s Liquor Hut, both outside Piopolis saying none of them had any major issues and were able to supply the required paperwork when asked.


Supervisor of Assessments Mark Becker formally announced he is retiring at the end of June.  Becker says he started in September of 1989, meaning his retirement will bring to close a nearly 30 year run at the office.  Sometime before the end of June, the Hamilton County Board will have to appoint someone to assume that role.  Board members seemed to already have someone in mind who has the qualifications and credentials.  The next election for that office isn’t until November of 2020.


Regional Office of Education Superintendent Beth Rister’s report was reviewed and board members approved a reimbursement in the amount of $5,802.


The Hamilton County Board and City of McLeansboro officials will gather Thursday morning for the purpose of attempting to come to a new agreement for Central Dispatching services.  Board member John Chapman says he’s anticipating the city of offer somewhere in the neighborhood of $35,000 citing Grayville’s recent agreement with White County as a probable pre-cursor to the amount he’s expecting will be the offer from City officials.  Currently, the City is only paying $25,000 a year.  Chapman says the number should be much higher based on the numbers.


Bob Drake was reappointed to serve a 5 year term through March of 2024 on the Hamilton County Water District Board.


The County Health Department submitted checks for the month of February.  Salaries amounted to $9,371.31.  Fringes totaled $1,115.88.  Unemployment came in at $198.95 and Insurance figured in at $962.79.


County Clerk Mary Anne Hopfinger says she’s reaching out to each department looking for excess equipment and furniture in the hopes that she can organize a County Auction/Sale.