County board tables emergency building repair

Effingham County Board Chairman Jim Niemann discusses an issue during a meeting on Monday of the Effingham County Board.

The Effingham County Board this week tabled indefinitely an emergency tuck-pointing repair to the County County Office Building in downtown Effingham.

Effingham County Sheriff Paul Kuhns, responsible for building and grounds, said the emergency repair is necessary on the brick work before the county could start a roofing project.

“We can’t fix our roof on this building before doing some masonry work,” Kuhns said. “We have some cracks in the bricks.”

He said the roofers told him the bricks needed to be repaired before they could repair the roof to avoid future leaks.

“So, we have some brick work and tuck pointing that needs to be done,” he said. “I would really like to take action on this so we could get the roof done.”

Kuhns said he had a quote in the amount of $35,000 to fix the bricks six feet from the top of the building or do the whole building for $65,000. He said someone else was going to give him another quote this week.

“If we can solve this problem, I’d rather not wait 30 days until the next meeting,” said Kuhns.

Effingham County Board President Jim Niemann decided since it is an emergency repair not to table it for a defined period of time. He suggested to table the repair indefinitely should the board decide to come back and approve the repair before the next county board meeting.

In another matter, Effingham County Board Member Rob Arnold wanted to consult with some of his constituents before the board makes a decision on naming a stream.

“I received a call from two constituents asking me to hold off on this,” Arnold said. “They are not opposed to this, there is apparently a history within the residents surrounding this that they’re calling it a different name. I would ask that you table this for one month so I can do my due diligence with those folks. Give me a month and then we can put it back on the agenda.”

The original proposal was to name a stream Muskrat Creek. The naming will be considered by the board at a later date. He said his constituents who live along the stream had another name in mind for the creek. The creek runs south of the Effingham County Memorial Airport then runs southeast and is known to flood Route 45 and Airport Road during heavy rains.

Naming of the creek will be considered again during the Legislative Committee meeting in July.

Board members approved a local public agency agreement for Federal participation, local public agency/company agreement and a resolution establishing a Class II truck route for the Airport Road improvement project. The board also approved a bridge aid agreement between the county and Bishop Township.

Effingham County Clerk Kerry Hirtzel updated board members about the general primary election.

“Election day is next Tuesday. We do have around 525 to 530 people who have already voted early or by mail,” Hirtzel said.

Board Vice Chair David Campbell said there is $60,000 in the revolving load fund program and there are two loan applications. Campbell is the chairman of the Economic Development and Grants Committee.

Board members went into closed session to discuss contract negotiations with the probation office. After closed session, Niemann said the contract would be going before a judge for approval and the board did not have to take action at this time.

In other matters, the board:

• Approved a donation of $2,000 to the Lake Sara Fireworks.

• Approved a donation of $1,000 to the Effingham Noon Rotary Club for the Effingham city Fourth of July fireworks display.

• Approved a donation of $4,000 to the 78th Annual Effingham County Fair.

• Approved software and controls for jail door and light in the amount of $155,378 from American Rescue Plan Act fund.

• Amended an ordinance adopting a salary schedule for Effingham County non-union employees modifying the victim witness coordinator salary for fiscal year 2021-2022.

• Approved a resolution granting a personal property tax replacement distribution.

• Amended the fiscal year 2022 mileage reimbursement rate to 62.5 cents per mile on July 1.

• Approved a resolution to abate the fiscal year 2022 GIS (Geographical Information System) fee per intergovernmental agreement between Effingham County and the cities of Altamont and Effingham.

• Approved and intergovernmental agreement between Effingham County, City of Effingham and Effingham County Emergency Telephone System Board a.k.a Effingham County 911 Board.

• Passed a resolution granting a 6-month extension for the completion of the fiscal year 2021 annual audit requested by Circuit Clerk John Niemerg’s office. A third party performs the actual fiscal year audit. Emergence said the third party needed extra time to perform the audit due to a back-up of financial services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Approved an ordinance amending the county budget creating a line item under the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department for other professional services.

• Approved a resolution setting the Public Defender salary in the amount of 169,878.39. Two thirds of the salary is paid by the State of Illinois.

The board made the following appointments:

• Tri-County Fire Protection District – William R. Evans, starting June 20 through May 2025.

• Agricultural Area Board – Ronald Voelker, Cletus Bloemer and Todd Wachtel for terms starting June 20 through May 2025.

• Farmland Assessment Review – Joe Thoele, John Beckman and Lyle Westfall for terms starting July 1 through June 30, 2025.

• Mental Health Deficient – 377 Board – Natalie Bailey for a term starting June 20 through Jan 31, 2025; Michael Tate for term starting July 1 through June 30, 2025.

• 911 Board – Brant Yochum for a term starting June 20 through Nov. 30, 2022.; Larry Thies for a term starting July 1 through June 30, 2025.; David Budde for a term starting July 1 through June 30, 2025.

Charles Mills can be reached at charles.mills@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 618-510-9226 or 217-347-7151 ext. 300126.

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Reporter/Videographer

Charles Mills is reporter and videographer for the Effingham Daily News. A 1983 graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, he worked as senior video editor for a Nashville television station. He is a native of Vandalia.