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White County Board considers proposal to transfer ownership of Ambulance Service to Deaconess Hospital

The White County Board met Tuesday night for their regular October meeting at the White County Courthouse.  Before the meeting, a budget hearing for the Fiscal Year 2018 budget was held.  Board Chairman David Dosher read the summary figures for the budget that trimmed $63,000 from the 2017 budget and is proposed to generate a $78,000 surplus of funds.  The Board will vote on the proposed budget at the November meeting and is available to view on the County’s website.

After approving minutes and financials, County Engineer Brian Ray told those present that the Illinois Department of Transportation has slashed funds available to counties and townships as they attempt to pay off bond debt.  White County will lose $58,000 and the combined townships will lose $93,000 from next year’s budget due to the plan, dropping funds to the level last paid in 1990.  Ray said of the cuts “Things are going to get bad, and stay bad” as the state projects further cuts in coming years.

More bad news was received from Ambulance Service Director Adam Allen, who informed the Board that his department was missing $6,000 in payments from the state Comptroller, who shows that their office has made those payments.  Allen stated that he is continuing to pursue the matter.  Personnel turnover at the Service has left them shorthanded, but Allen said his staff was doing all they can to continue to provide full service to the County.

Dosher reported that White County EMA had received a grant of $13,500 to purchase new equipment.

Board member Ken Usery reported that maintenance and repairs at the City/County Dog Pound have been made, and that the facility is in great shape.

A request from White County Animal Control to boost the monthly fuel allowance from 50 to 60 gallons of gas a month was approved, and the department will now present a quarterly run report to the Board.

The Board unanimously approved State audits of the County Unit Motor Fuel Tax Fund, Township Motor Fuel Tax Fund, and Township Bridge Funds from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2015.  The audits were delayed due to the state budget deadlock.

The Board also agreed to approve new templates for HSIP safety projects on Herald Road and the Centerville Bridge.  Ray explained that these were new guidelines to receive funding from the federal government through the state.  The County has already been approved for a $1.3 million grant for the Herald project and $500,000 for the bridge on the Centerville blacktop.

Bill Jones was appointed as Commissioner of the Mud Creek Drainage District, Gary Morris as the Commissioner for the Mill Shoals Drainage District, and David Brown as the Commissioner of the Hawthorne Drainage District with terms that expire the first Tuesday of September 2020.

The Board then agreed to sign a disclosure/confidentiality agreement with Deaconess Hospital in regards to possibly acquiring the White County Ambulance Service.  Dosher explained that the Evansville hospital group was making a strong expansion push into Illinois, with taking over the Gallatin County 9-1-1 system and a new ambulance service in Harrisburg.  The agreement will allow the Hospital staff to examine the Service’s records for 60 days before any other action can be taken.

The Board went into Executive Session at 7:28 to discuss possible pending litigation.  They returned to open session at 7:35, and the meeting was adjourned at 7:37.

The White County Board will meet next on Tuesday, November 14th at 7 pm at the Courthouse.