By Jim Allen
The Douglas County Personnel, Legal, and Management Committee met on April 6, 2021 at 9:00 with board members Don Munson, Tom Hettinger, and Dick Hein present. Chairman Jim Mikeworth was not able to attend.
Jim Crane was present to inform the committee that he would need to hire another technician. Gary Doud will be retiring in March of 2022 after 36 years of service to the county and his replacement will need to be trained in various aspects of the job including bridge inspection. The County Highway Department makes between 135-140 bridge inspections a year and if the work were contracted outside of the department the cost would be over $70,000.00 per year. As work progresses on Cronus, there may be a need for another employee. The County Highway Department has historically had two people to assist the County Engineer, but since 2009 there has been only one. Although Chastain and Associates will be supervising the roadwork in the footprint of the Industrial Wind Turbine Complex, the county will still have oversight which is an additional responsibility to the standard work.The committee recommended to the full board to hire an engineer or technician to train with Gary Doud.
Kelly Lockhart, Executive Director of the Coles County Regional Planning Commission, was present to discuss an IDOT grant to study ways to increase ridership on the public transportation. Mr. Lockhart was recently informed that a $75,000 grant was awarded five to six years ago. There was no explanation by the state as to why the grant was not received earlier. The County Board will be the recipient of the grant but it will be administered by the Coles County Regional Planning Commission. The grant is a planning grant only to educate the public on the services of the public transportation which could include advertisements, survey mailings, or community meetings. The PLM committee was concerned about ongoing costs that might come from the information, but it was mentioned that although the information gained might show need, it could also show that the need was not evident.
In other business, the committee recommended to the full board to pass an ordinance allowing for direct sales of baked goods from home kitchen operations. The state grants the individual counties the authority to allow Home Kitchen Operations. Not all foods are permitted for home kitchens and people are urged to check with the County Health Department to see which baked goods are allowed. Home Kitchen Operations are limited to gross sales of $1,000 per month.
Those who want to sell goods from their home kitchens must register with the Health Department.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:10