By Jim Allen
Chair Jim Mikeworth called the PLM meeting to order at 9:00 on July 6, 2021 with committee members Don Munson and Dick Hein present. Board Member Tom Hettinger was also in attendance. The first order of business was presented by Dick Hein to recognize four Arthur firemen who are receiving Life Saving Certificates from the State Fire Marshal’s office at a ceremony in Springfield. Mr. He suggested that Douglas County should present a certificate of recognition to the firefighters also. Lamar Hostetler, Ernie Gingerich, Elmer Miller and Clint Herschberger were recognized for their efforts in rescuing two men from an upstairs apartment in Arthur that was fully involved when they arrived. They will receive a Life Saving Certificate from Board Chair Don Munson on August 11 2021 at the Arthur firehouse. Too often we take for granted the effort put forth by our volunteer firefighters and the extensive training that takes place on a regular basis. Thank you for your service!
Kacie Sanders of Dial-A-Ride was present to renew an agreement with Douglas County to continue services. Federal subsidies stay the same each year and the Downstate Operating
Assistance Program (DOAP), although usually increasing 10 percent each year, was the same this year. No increase in an inflationary time will create some difficulties, but no serious issues are contemplated at this time. The committee discussed possibilities to use COVID or CARES funds to help with any shortfall.
Dial-A-Ride needs two full time drivers. Hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Drivers do not need a CDL or passenger endorsement to start. The buses are based in Camargo, so interested parties in the area would report there to start and end their route.
The second item on the agenda stated that Don Munson had a concern he would like to bring before the committee. The concern is one that involves the Supervisor of Assessments and the Township Assessors of Douglas County. There are five Township Assessors in Douglas County and each of the Assessors are responsible for providing accurate assessment information to the Supervisor of Assessments. When the information is not complete, taxes cannot be fairly calculated. Two assessors are not providing enough details or usable information to allow this.
The result is that the Supervisor of Assessment needs to complete the work. As an example, the information for the Love’s truck stop and the remodeled Fuel Mart had to be redone. This work was completed by a contractor at $120.00 per hour. This was an exception because the Supervisor of Assessments office has been covering other deficiencies by two assessors.
The issue was brought up because the Assessor’s office is completing work that causes a greater workload and therefore costs the county. Township assessors are elected officials and paid by each governing body. The county does not have a say in salaries or time spent working. However, the county does have regulations on how the work is submitted. Due to the extra workload to the county, the county is looking to charge the townships for incomplete or inaccurate work submitted by township assessors. It was generally agreed that the county as a whole should not pay for work that should have been completed by individual townships. At this time, only two assessors have unacceptable work submitted. The committee will have the State’s Attorney draft letters and compensation for extra work will be discussed at the next regular board meeting on July 21, 2021.