County seeks grant for jailhouse renovation

County seeks grant for jailhouse renovation

Members of Macoupin County Board voted Tuesday night to apply for a 50/50 matching grant through the Illinois Department of Tourism to cover HVAC upgrades and potential electrical work that needs to be done at the old jail.

Based on the recommendation of board member Harry Starr, who informed the board of the grant, the county agreed to apply for a grant of $5,000 to $10,000; Starr said the final amount needed is to be determined but should fall in that range. He assured the board the county would not be responsible for any of the matching funds, as they would come from private donations leftover from the $29,000 raised for lead abatement at the jail, which came in significantly lower than estimated; originally, it was expected the project would cost about $32,000, but the lowest bid came in at approximately $10,500. Removing asbestos from the basement will cost another $5,000, leaving enough leftover for the matching funds. That part of the project is expected to begin soon, with the basement work taking about a week and the lead abatement taking 3-4 weeks.

Because the current committee meeting schedule is not ideal for some of the new members, County Clerk Pete Duncan will work with the committee chairs to figure out a new schedule and report back to the board. Some meetings may change dates or be pushed later in the evening. Relatedly, a new list of members’ committee assignments for 2019-20 was approved.

Macoupin County Public Health Department Administrator Kent Tarro gave the board a brief update on the goings-on at the health department, noting that though the new Morgan Street Clinic is currently operational, it will not be promoted until it is fully staffed; an open house will be held at a later date. The board later passed an ordinance approving the bond issue for the renovations to the clinic; this ordinance is essentially a formalization of the approval the board previously gave for the project. He also asked those present to sign letters of support for the health department, which is seeking a grant to expand its substance abuse treatment program.

Under matters of recognition, Tony Wiggins noted that longtime former board member Vivian Malham passed away on Dec. 23.

New Board member Roberta “Sissy” Vojas read a letter to the board members, asking them to consider prioritizing road work and speed signs needed on Renken Road, a project that was also sought by her father, late board member Robert Vojas. No action could be taken on the matter because it was not on the agenda.

In other action, the board approved the minutes of the December board meeting and January committee meetings; authorized the replacement of two culverts — one in Barr Township at a total cost of $3,000 and one in Scottville Township at a total cost of $8,000, with the county responsible for half of each cost; approved the results of the 2019 Motor Fuel Tax rock letting; amended the wording of the subdivision ordinance, as discussed at last week’s Economic Development Committee meeting, to have the Road and Bridge Committee give final approval for subdivisions; approved two minor subdivisions — one on University Street in Carlinville and the other on Echo Lane in Brighton — also as discussed at that committee meeting; and approved the 2019 Citizen’s Guide for Macoupin County (which will be posted at and the list of Freedom of Information Act officers for 2019.