County budget back on public display

By Michele Longworth

Tuesday morning, Massac County commissioners placed the proposed 2017 budget back on public display for another 15 days after changes were made to the previous budget.

Commissioner Jayson Farmer explained the totals for three line items were revised.  One change was to the sheriff’s budget for training, which increased by $1000, with a new total of $11,000.

Another change was to the county jail training line item, which increased by $2000, with a total of $7000, and the last change was to the deputy coroner salary line item.  That increased from $4000 to $8000.  Because of the changes, Farmer said the budget will be available again for public viewing at the Massac County Clerk’s Office.

Massac County State’s Attorney Patrick Windhorst along with County Highway Engineer Joe Matesevac addressed the board pertaining to a labor agreement with AFSCME Local 2321.  Windhorst said the contract was agreed upon prior to the end of last year.

Specifically, the contract is for three years, according to Windhorst, and includes raises of 2 percent the first year, 2 percent the second year and 3 percent the third year.  There would be a 3 percent rollover if the contract is not re-opened after three years.

While Windhorst was at the meeting Commission Chair Jerel Childers asked if Windhorst was aware of any grants for the courthouse that the county could apply for.  He said he had read in the Metropolis Planet that the City of Brookport had received a grant for remodeling the building where its new city hall will be located and that the city’s fire department had also received a grant for supplies.

Windhorst explained he was not aware of any grants, “But, it can’t hurt to ask,” he said, telling the board he would do some investigating.

Farmer, who is a member on the Southern Five Planning Commission board, also said he would talk with director Crystal Davenport to see if there were any grants available.

Massac County Clerk Juanita Wedeking Newberry told the board her office has been working on a map of voter registration precincts with mapping information from Massac-Metropolis 911.  Wedeking-Newberry explained she will send out new voter registration cards and that some people may not be voting in the correct precinct.  She advised anyone who receives a card and has questions about their voting precinct to call the county clerk’s office at 524-5213.

Regional Superintendent of Schools Matt Donkin was passing through and dropped into the meeting.  He told the commissioners there was a blower motor on one of the building’s four units that had quit and had to have the unit fixed.  He also mentioned they are still experiencing some water problems in the front rooms.  He said the staff is still trying to investigate where the water is coming from.

Massac County Treasurer Dana Angelly brought the weekly financial report, which indicated a county general fund balance of only $1212.

She brought the letter written by Judge Joe Jackson pertaining to the hiring of public defender Cord Whitig.  Angelly said that the board needed to have record of his hire date and salary in the board minutes in order for the county to receive reimbursement from the state for the public defender’s salary. Farmer read from the letter Whitig was hired as public defender on Nov. 29, 2016 at a salary of $56,000.

According to Angelly, the delinquent tax sale will be held this Friday at 10 a.m. in the basement of the courthouse.  She advised if any taxpayer is coming to pay for their bills prior to Friday, they must pay with cash or a money order.

She also clarified what was discussed at last week’s meeting.  She said it was reported she returned a property owner’s money order.  Angelly said she had actually returned the property owner’s check

Making a return visit to the meeting was Wayne Robbins, owner of R.C. Roof Commander.  He told the board he wanted to clarify something that was reported incorrectly from last week’s meeting.  Robbins said he and his daughter have only been in business for one year.  The actual Conklin Roofing Systems has been in business for 40 years.

In other business, the board:

• Heard from Matesevac said the highway department is busying with grading and hauling rock.

• Approved a resolution increasing the sale and error fund to the maximum amount of $60.  Windhorst said the county is currently charging $20.  Angelly explains if a property tax sells at the tax sale and a storm comes and destroys the property, the sale in error funds reimburses the tax buyer.  She said the fund can only be used for real estate and mobile home returns.

• And heard from Massac County Supervisor of Assessments Gary Hamm that his office had received the final abstract from the state on Feb. 23 and the 2016 payable 2017 tax cycle is about two months ahead of schedule.  He also said with the new computer system he is able to immediately move into the next taxing cycle and plans to publish assessment changes in October.