Storm Delays Meeting; Board ‘Opts-Out’ Of Pana TIF Lawsuit
WAITING OUT THE STORM – Inside one of the vaults in the Christian County Courthouse Tuesday night, Apr. 19, prior to the start of the April County Board meeting are, from left, Chief Probation Officer Laura Cooper, Christian County Senior Citizens Executive Director John Heldman, County Board Members Charles DeClerck (seated) and Paul Schmitz of Pana. At far right with back to camera is County Highway Engineer Cliff Frye.
(Tom Latonis Photo)
The start of the Christian County Board meeting in the Courthouse in Taylorville Tuesday night, Apr. 19, was delayed by about 20 minutes, due to the severe thunderstorms and tornadoes which passed through Christian County.
Christian County Board Chairman John Curtin of Taylorville entered the board’s meeting room on the second floor of the Courthouse about 6:25 p.m. Tuesday, and told those assembled it had been recommended by Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp everyone go to the first floor due to the impending weather. Two safes on the first floor served as shelters while the storm passed. Some people milled around in the foyer of the Courthouse during the time. While damage was inflicted on the outskirts of Taylorville, the only damage around the Courthouse was a few broken tree limbs.
After about a 20-minute delay, the meeting got underway at 6:50 p.m. with all 16 members present.
A unanimous vote by the board approved action to “opt-out” of a declaratory judgement lawsuit brought against the county by the City of Pana involving Pana’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.
The Executive, Personnel and Liquor Committee recommended the action at its Thursday, Apr. 14, meeting after receiving communications from Christian County State’s Attorney Tom Finks.
By this action, the county agrees to abide by the decision of the court, even though the county will not be a party to the litigation. In return, the City of Pana will drop the county as a plaintiff in the case.
Earlier this month, Pana Township, another defendant in the case, also opted out of the suit. The remaining defendants are the Pana School District and Lake Land Community College District.
Curtin appointed four county board members to a special advisory sub-committee who will work with several office holders and a representative from the county employee’s AFSCME union who will search for ways to reduce the county’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Those board members are Dick Breckenridge, chairman; Laura Wilkinson, Joe Marley and Greg Hager. Curtin also appointed Treasurer Colleen Hadley and County Clerk Linda Curtin, along with Mike Giansi, Chief Deputy in the Supervisor of Assessments office and Bruce Engeling, Chief Deputy in the Christian County Sheriff’s office.
The committee has its initial meeting scheduled for this afternoon, Wednesday, Apr. 20, at 4:30 p.m. in the Courthouse.
A request from the Taylorville Arts Council to use the Courthouse on Saturday, June 4, at a reduced rate was approved on a 9-6 vote. McClure asked if an action like this would set a precedence and Curtin responded, “Probably.”
The usual rate is $250 to have the Courthouse open on a weekend day. The Council requested a $100 discount, $150.
Curtin pointed out earlier the Arts Council had a lot to do with a Lincoln exhibit in the Courthouse which they spent $1,200 of their own money. He felt the reduction was appropriate.
The measure was put to a voice vote in which several “no’s” were heard. When it came to the roll call, McClure, Jack Pearce, Jr., Tony Woods, Tim Butcher, Tim Carlson and Greg Hager all voted “no.”
Preparations of bid specifications for plumbing and roof work at the county jail was authorized. Sewer pipes in the basement of the jail were reportedly leaking and the roof was said to be in need of repair. Bill Kennedy will come up with the specs.
Repairs on windows in the courthouse needing the most work was approved. It will be paid for out of the courthouse maintenance budget.
The meeting adjourned at 8:18 p.m.