New Board member sworn in

New Board member sworn in

By: DANIEL WINNINGHAM

Enquirer~Democrat managing editor

Photo caption

Judge Ken Deihl, left, swears in new County Board member Matthew Acord at Tuesday’s meeting at the Macoupin County Courthouse in Carlinville. Acord replaces board member Frank Long of District 3, who resigned in August. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Daniel Winningham.

County Board renews health insurance

Taking the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the Macoupin County Board approved health insurance rates for the next fiscal year.

The premium was $585.87 for employee only coverage, which is up $16.84 or about 2.95 percent from $569.03 for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

The plan, through Blue Cross Blue Shield, covers 170 employees — 160 individually, plus four individuals and a spouse ($1,265.47), five employees and children ($967.90) and one employee with family coverage ($1,635.76). It was pointed out the coverages for individuals is less than the amount paid from 2015-2019.

The county covers 90 percent of the plan, with the employees paying for 10 percent.

Truck purchase

In a 17-0 vote, the County Board approved the purchase of a new truck for its animal control department for $29,984 from Victory Lane Ford. The truck comes with a camper topper. The only other bid came from Morrow Brothers at $32,880, according to the county’s Public Safety Committee minutes.

The vehicle is a 2020 Ford F-150 that comes with a 5.0 liter engine, all-terrain tires and a tow package. The Illinois government price, per the bid document, is $32,880.

The plan was to use funding from the county’s farm account — with a balance of $34,000 — and pay for the truck via a five-year, interest-free loan.

Clerk report

County clerk Pete Duncan reported the state’s Department of Public Health had provided its guidance and list of recommendations for the upcoming election.

Election officials and polling booths and all precincts are to be at least six feet apart.

Signage at all polling entrances is required to encourage voters to wear face coverings will be another requirement. There will be visual cues to ensure social distancing for voters, including a separate entrance and exit, foot traffic is to be one-directional.

Early voting is to begin Thursday, Sept. 24, and go until Monday, Nov. 2.

Duncan said his preference for the location of the early voting was to be on county property, either the courthouse or jail, since security measures which allow for a voter registration database have already been completed.

The consensus from the board is to hold the early voting at the second floor meeting room of the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department. Chairman Mark Dragovich said the benefit of doing the early voting at the jail is that voters would not have to go through security and more parking is available closer to the building entry.

Election workers are encouraged to replace shared objects, such as pens, ballot activation cards or ballot covers with items that are more single-use.

Election judges are to place visual cues in the building to ensure social distancing, including designated “wait here” areas that are the proper distance.

Preventative measures for those working at polls include wearing a face covering at all times, require election personnel to self-screen for possible Covid-19 symptoms before completing official election duties during early voting and election day.

Election authorities were encouraged to relocate any polling places which were previously stationed in nursing homes, long-term care facilities and senior living residences to minimize Covid-19 exposure “among vulnerable individuals, including older individuals and those with chronic medical conditions.”

Voters either outside or inside a polling place shall not be screened for Covid-19, according to the IDPH guidelines, which can be found at dph.illinois.gov.

The entire bill, Public Act No. 101-0642, which was approved by the general assembly, can be found at ilea.gov.

The bill declared Nov. 3 of this year a state holiday and added “all government offices, with the exception of election authorities, shall be closed unless authorized to be used as a location for election day services or as a polling place.”

Duncan said the vote by mail ballots requested for 2020 is at 5,100 so far and that number will continue to increase through the end of October. The increase of an estimated 3,300 is up 183 percent from a reported high of 1,800 in 2018.

Duncan is optimistic the county will still be able to get at least three election judges at each polling location.

Next meeting

The next board meeting will be Tuesday,Oct. 13, at 6 p.m. at the second floor courtroom at the Macoupin County Courthouse.