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Douglas County Board holds monthly meeting

By Kendra Hennis 
The Douglas County Board Meeting was called to order on February 18 at 9 a.m. 

The meeting began with the Douglas County Heath Department’s Presentation of their Annual Report by Administrator Amanda Minor. Minor notes some of the highlights from their successful 2019 programs. The Summer Meals program expanded to five sites in June of 2019 with the help of several Villa Grove residents, the Senior Center, and the Mayor. The Villa Grove site provided 1,037 meals in 35 days to area youth. 

The department completed the necessary trainings to assist area residents with their enrollment in the State of Illinois Medical Marijuana program, they were encouraged to move forward with this by the data confirming medical marijuana serves as a viable alternative for many seeking pain management. There were two senior fairs held in April and September. The DCHD partnered with the Lions Club of Tuscola and Lions of Illinois and welcomed 185 attendees and 56 vendors to their Good Life Fair for 50+ in Tuscola. Their partnership with the Lions Club of Arcola and Lions of Illinois welcomed 44 vendors and 104 attendees at the Fall event in Arcola. They had 211 Douglas County student participants collaborating with DCHD on prevention, education, and working to strengthen existing school codes and local policies that better support the initiatives Smoke-Free Illinois Act, Tobacco21, and Illinois Tobacco-Free Communities. They also provided 58 Narcan Trainings and 7 needle exchanges. Minor noted that “the greatest reward is the many life-saving overdose reversals, we are deeply grateful for the number of deaths prevented through our PROMPT program.” 

The Health Department looks forward in 2020 to their ongoing efforts to eliminate the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to those under 21 years of age, DCHD has partnered with DCSO, DC’s State’s Attorney, and ITFC Grant Managers at C-UPHD to initiate tobacco compliance checks with underage buyers, two Good Life Fairs for 50+ in Tuscola and Arcola, and their Director of Emergency Management will be laying the groundwork for a Douglas County youth mentoring program; as well as collaborating their strengths toward an annual fundraising event for the Douglas County Tactical Patrol Unit in May 2020.

The board then approved the renewal of County-Township Agreement for County Road Maintenance. This renewal states that “the commissioner (John Henry, Sargent Township Highway Commissioner) shall furnish all supervision, labor, materials, machinery, tools, equipment, and services in an efficient and workmanlike manner in compliance with all Federal, State, and local laws, ordinances, codes, and regulations perform and complete the work of maintaining the 7.38 miles of County Road in Sargent Township.”

Following, the board approved an ordinance authorizing boundary modifications to the area known as the Douglas County Enterprise Zone- The Cronus Expansion. This ordinance was needed due to the fact that the original agreement did not include all of the areas necessary to the zone, the board was aware that the boundary would one day need to be expanded. They then approved an amendment to the Douglas County Enterprise Zone Intergovernmental agreement, which was needed due to the modifications made to the boundary. The board was also aware that these changes would need to be made. Each municipality in the area affected must also approve these modifications. 

Finally, the board took questions or comments from visitors. The first came from a concerned citizen in reference to the board’s passing of Ordinance 20-O-2, concerning the sales of tobacco and other nicotine products to persons under 21 years of age. Summer Phillips, Director of Outreach at the Douglas County Health Department, responded that this is now a national law and that it was necessary for the board to pass the ordinance in order to be compliant to them.

The next question came from Jim Allen, who asked if the board would formulate a policy to appoint people to boards. He noted that there had been some people who had to be interviewed before being appointed, while others were able to be appointed without it. Board Chairman Don Munson responded that the decision was up to the subcommittee if the applicant required an interview or not. 

Circuit Clerk Julie Mills then asked if the Ordinance 20-O-1, adopting a Smoke-Free Illinois Act and prohibiting smoking in public places would also include outside the courthouse on the courthouse grounds and Munson confirmed that it did.

Michael Holmes then asked if the board was considering a phase two of the operation (in reference to the Harvest Ridge Wind Farm). The board confirmed that they were not currently looking at a phase two of the projects. 

A concerned citizen then asked if there was anything that could be done about the current state of the roads in the areas affected by the incoming wind turbines. It was confirmed that they are beginning to meet with the company to develop a recovery plan of the roads, they are attempting to scrape mud from them, but adding rock into the holes would be counterproductive. 

The board also:

– Approved the minutes from the January Regular Board Meeting. 

– Approved the payments of the County’s financial obligations. 

– Approved the reports of fees of the County Offices. 

– Approved the appointment of Justin Stalter to the County 911 Board, serving a four-year term. 

– Approved the reappointment of Joe Carter to the County 911 Board, serving a four-year term. 

– Approved ordinance 20-O-1, adopting a Smoke Free Illinois Act and prohibiting smoking in public places such as outdoor places and public venues. 

– Approved ordinance 20-O-2, concerning the regulation of sales of tobacco and other nicotine products to persons under 21 years of age. 

– Approved the appointment of Kim Whitaker to the Douglas County Public Health Board. 

– Approved the transfer of $141,492 from 012-4192-039 premium payments to general fund transfer fund 001-5003-037. 

– Approved the purchase of a server for the Sheriff’s Office in the amount of $7,000.

– Approved resolution 20-R-3 supplemental preliminary engineering services agreement for section: 07-08119-01-BR. 

– Approved resolution 20-R-4 county bridge fund position; section 07-08119-01-BR for Sargent Township. 

– Adjourned until the March 18 meeting at 9 a.m. 

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