By Jim Allen
The Douglas County Board was called to order at 9:00 a.m. on July 21, 2021 by Chair Don Munson. All members were present. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as were the payments of the county’s financial obligations. After the monthly business items were completed, the board began new business.
A resolution to authorize Douglas County to participate in an energy opt-out aggregation program with Good Energy consultants was passed. This provides the county with a stable price for natural gas for a three year period. The contract was up on 7-1-21 but a new contract was not available due to the cancellation of a pipeline from Texas to the East Coast. Due to the uncertainty this created, the contract was delayed until pricing could be verified. The previous contract was for two years whereas this contract is for three years. The total increase over the five years covered by both contracts will be approximately ten percent.
The Board voted to contract with Webfoot, to design a new web page for the County. The current web page was built by the county and although it has been serviceable, a new web page will make public access easier. Chair Munson has contacted many counties regarding this matter and Webfoot was highly recommended. The department heads of the county were also involved in the decision making and are looking forward to a professionally designed web page.
The contract will be for $10,000.00 and a monthly maintenance fee of $295.00.
The Board approved a contract with Leaf It To Us to remove ten trees on the County Jail grounds. The total for removal, cleanup, and stump grinding was $7,450. After further inspection, another tree was added to the number with costs not to exceed $1,000.00. Leaf It To Us gave the county an 18 percent volume discount .
The County also entered into an agreement with Bellwether Consulting to help in determining what projects will qualify for the Federal Funding that the county will receive. The county has received half of the $3,500,000 promised. Caution must be taken to assure that a program will qualify under the regulations given by the Federal Government. Money spent on an unqualified program would place the County at risk. Bellwether is experienced in the analysis of government regulation and is recognized by the Illinois Association of County Board Members.
The total cost of the contract will be $20,000.00. The Board authorized $10,000.00 toward the contact and the second half will be due when the county receives the remainder of the Federal Funding. Chair Munson has a list of county projects to submit to Bellwether and will be consulting with municipalities in the county in regards to other projects.
As a final note in regards to the Road Use Agreement with EDPR regarding the Industrial Wind Complex in Newman and Murdock Townships, the funds for the road work were not deposited on July 22, 2021 as required. EDPR has not contested the bid for road work and has therefore agreed to the contract. The RUA states that the funds ($12,430,896.24) are to be deposited. Due to the delays this will cause, Murdock and Newman Townships will be faced with poor drainage in the ditches and hazardous road conditions for the foreseeable future.
EDPR will be contacted regarding this. We can hope that they will not change their address without notification again.