The purpose of this report is to provide information and to aid in government transparency.
Tax Cycle Meeting: I chair the Tax Cycle meeting which met August 8, 2017. (1) We unanimously approved the County Treasurer Chris Slusser’s request for six new work stations to improve services to tax payers. His efforts saved two thirds the cost of a previous bid by his predecessor. (2) We voted to accept FCBS bid for the four year cycle for lock box and collector services for $ 15,000 which saved the county approximately $301,000. (3) Recorder Amy Meyer reported receipts for fees have gone up during the period 2014 – 2016. Fees defray the cost of her office’s operation. Excess fees go the county general fund. Next meeting she will report why we have this upward trend.
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Transportation Meeting: I attended the transportation Meeting August 9. I voted to approve the Agreement /Funding for Resolution for resurfacing City of Wood River Section 14-0005 1-00 RS and for the purchase of yellow and white marking paint as per state bid used in municipalities.
Issue Animal Control Update: I support Chairman Prenzler’s and Board member Lisa Ciampoli’s call for hiring an Administrator for Animal Control. A Vet should not be fulfilling this role. Currently staff closes Animal Control for a one (1) hour lunch break. Chairman Prenzler intends to stagger the lunch breaks to ensure Animal Control is only closed for ½ an hour daily.
Wood River Facility Tour: On August 8, I toured the Wood River Facility (old hospital) with Facilities Director Rob Schmidt. The facility, originally built in 1945 had two additions over the years. It houses Child advocacy Services, Court Arbitration, Emergency Management, Employee Training, Morgue, 9-11, and WIC. The tour revealed what will become a Herculean Effort for upgrade. I suggest the following projects be prioritized. (1) Roof over Emergency Command Post needs replacement. A leak could prove catastrophic to the high- priced monitors and communication equipment which must function 24/7 365. (2) The parking lot has numerous safety issues to include; broken pavement, broken curbs, and loose gravel which are all tripping hazards to the public. (3) a plan and funding for asbestos removal with adequate staff to carry it out, (4) ADA compliance in parking area, (5) a master plan for effective space utilization which might include bring other departments to the facility, and, (6) replacement of an obsolete boiler which would pay for itself in three (3) years. Many thanks to Rob Schmidt and AFCME Union Vice President, Christopher Milton for a great visit.
Finance Committee: The Finance Committee met August 9. (1) Issue Effective Management Budgeting: County Board Member David Michael and I raised the issue of sound budgeting figures and effective monetary planning. This issue may become increasingly important as we expect to lose perhaps as much as one million dollars in state funding in the next year. Mr. Michael noted the most recent figures for personnel show us approximately 1.5 million dollars in the black. We questioned how this figure could be so off the mark. In addition, the Sheriff’s Jail Budget for medical and food is in the red due to high jail population. This is not the Sheriff Lakin’s fault, who is working in difficult circumstances, but future predictions using current spending trends could provide more accurate figures. (2) Issue Improved Management: Using Best Practices (a) I support refurbishing the jail to ensure the safety of staff and inmates. However, Alan Dunstan’s previous 27 million dollar jail bond issue which voters rejected seems an example of poor management. Afterwards they came back with a 10 million dollar proposal stating it would fix everything the previous proposal would have accomplished. When I reviewed contracts currently in place we discovered an additional 2 million dollars in costs might be eliminated utilizing best bidding practices. Let’s find out. It’s your money. (b) Human Resources. One person can’t run human resources. Currently, employees keep their own time cards manually. Automated human resource services should be instituted to save tax payer dollars and enhance filing of essential personnel records. In addition, the use of job descriptions (currently lacking), clear chain of commands (lacking) , adequate review system, enhanced training tailored to employee needs and mission accomplishment helping staff’s upward mobility should be instituted. (c)During summer months one half of facility employees are used to cut grass. Outsourcing grass mowing should save approximately $90,000 a year. Those man hours should be used to fulfill the backlog of over 200 work orders some of which are at the jail or to perform preventive maintenance in the Administration Building.
Philip W. Chapman
County Board District Three
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