County board hears from residents on speed limits

County board hears from residents on speed limits

CARLINVILLE (Nov. 16, 2017) – Two county residents spoke to the Macoupin County Board at the Nov. 14 board meeting regarding speed limits on roads near their residences.

Nancy Bitner, who lives at Sunset Lake west of Girard, said she had spoken to Tom Reinhart regarding the speed limits on Emmerson Airline Road, noting the speed limit is 30 mph on one mile-long stretch from the outskirts of Girard to Henry Road, after which the only speed-related sign is one saying “end of speed zone.”

She said there is some confusion regarding what the speed limit is in the unmarked zone. “Upon talking with a local police officer, I was informed it was 45 miles an hour on a county road if it’s not posted,” she said. “Upon talking to a county officer, I was informed that it was 55 miles an hour if it’s not posted. In talking with a state police officer, we were informed that no tickets would be issued because technically there isn’t signage of a speed limit posted on that road anywhere, except for the 30 miles an hour directly out of Girard.”

Bitner requested the “end of speed zone” sign be changed to one that displays the correct speed limit for the road, as well as that a speed study be conducted to determine what the appropriate speed limit would be for the area that currently has a 30 mph limit, as one has never been done for that area. “This area has become increasingly dangerous since the new road has been completed because nobody’s going to drive 30 miles an hour on that road, except those of us who don’t want to get a ticket,” she said. “When you drive 30 miles an hour on that road, somebody’s going to pass you, and they’re going to pass you at the hill or the curve, and so it becomes increasingly dangerous for those of us that are following the speed limit law.”

Carolee Castiglione-Gordon said she believes the speed limit is too high on Reneker Road just outside of Staunton. The property just north of the road was annexed into the city as a subdivision, but the road was not, so the speed limit there is 55 mph. She would like to see it lowered to 45 mph, if not 35 mph like in town. “I get run over trying to exit our subdivision,” she said. “People fly around that corner there.”

Both matters were referred to the Road and Bridge Committee.

Appropriations

Two resolutions were passed: one regarding the General Fund FY 2017-18 appropriation and the other regarding the Capital Outlay appropriation. Previously, a three-year budget was approved; this appropriation is for the remainder of the fiscal year; most departments have the same budget as last fiscal year, except for the coroner and probation department, which are both slightly higher.

Macoupin County Clerk Pete Duncan said the appropriation is only barely balanced: “Our projected surplus is a whole $197.26” he said.

Board Chairman Mark Dragovich said some revenues are up and others are down, but overall they seem to be balanced to about where they need to be. “Projections are close, the numbers are real close, so we’ll just have to watch it real close,” he said. Finance Committee Chairman Dave Thomas noted the budget does not account for raises, so if any are granted, the departments will have to figure out how to pay for them.

Previously, the board had agreed to hold payment for the courthouse elevator project until the work was completed, meaning it would all be paid out of the same fiscal year. However, that did not sit well with the auditors. “Unfortunately, our auditors came in at the beginning of November and, since it was a $250,000 check, basically said, ‘Why hasn’t this been cashed yet?’ When I explained the situation, their recommendation was we void that check and re-issue it for this fiscal year. In order to do that, we’ve got to raise the Capital Outlay budget to $250,000 so we can send that out.”

Both appropriations resolutions were approved.

Other discussion

The board approved a Local Agency Agreement for Federal Participation for construction of a new bridge on North Scottville Road to replace the 61-year-old existing one, at a total cost of $1,090,000; 80 percent of the cost will be paid out with federal service transportation funds, while the county will pay the remaining 20 percent (roughly $218,000). They also approved a petition to replace a culvert on Washer Road in Cahokia Township at a total cost of $43.000, with the county paying half of that amount.

Two ordinances were passed regarding the establishment of a special service area for Medora Ambulance. The first ordinance proposes the establishment of such an area (essentially getting the process rolling), while the second authorizes an advisory referendum on creating the special service area, to be on the ballot in the March 2018 Primary Election. The referendum is non-binding and the results will be presented to the board so they can take a final vote on whether or not to approve the special service area; a similar process was used for establishing a special service area for Staunton Ambulance.  Though Medora Ambulance’s service area includes portions of Jersey County, the special service area would only apply to the portions within Macoupin County for which a tax of 0.3 percent would be applied.

In an effort to get additional information regarding sales tax generated by businesses in the county’s jurisdiction, the board approved a Reciprocal Agreement on Exchange of Information with the Illinois Department of Revenue. This stemmed from board members’ curiosity about how much sales tax the mines are generating; it was noted sales tax is being generated, but mines only have to pay sales tax on coal sold in Illinois and not on coal sold elsewhere or that sold to tax-exempt agencies (such as municipalities) or to a third-party broker.

Peggy Garrison of the Macoupin County Public Health Department presented each of the board members with a letter of support she requested they sign to help them re-apply for a grant to continue operating Maple Street Clinic in Gillespie. “’The more letters of support we have, the better it is,” she said, noting they also receive letters from other elected officials, health agencies and social service agencies.

Under matters of recognition, it was noted a fundraiser will be held Dec. 9 at McLintock’s for the sheriff’s mother, who has cancer. Tickets are available at Glass Cutters and from Quinn Reiher and other individuals. It was also noted the county received $20,000 from Dakota Pipeline recently, as discussed at previous meetings.

In other action, the board appointed Dan Oberneufemann  to the Mt. Olive Fire Protection District to fill the unexpired term of DuWayne Wolber ending on May 1, 2018; renewed the lease of the county’s farm property around the animal shelter for another three years, at a cost of $160 per acre; approved a  contract with Pictometry for two GIS flights, one in 2018 and one four years later, at a total cost of $312,740 ($141,492.50 for the first flight and $171,247.50 for the second), to be paid over a period of several years; set a date of Dec. 7 (the same day as the regular Finance Committee meeting) for the 2017 payable 2018 tax levy hearing; and approved the consent agenda, including the claims and officers report, mileage and per diem, revolving loan fund report, county clerk report and animal control report.