By Jim Allen
A combined meeting of the Building and Grounds and Budget and Finance committees was convened at 9:13 a.m. on August 13, 2021. The main item on the agenda for the Building and Grounds was a proposal by Midwest Restorations of Paris, IL for maintenance work on the Courthouse. At this time the caulk on the lower portion of the Courthouse is failing and letting moisture into the joints between the limestone blocks.
Midwest’s proposal includes the removal of the caulking from the joints on the lower five feet of the perimeter of the building including the base joints in the window wells. The joints will then be recalled with Tremco Dynamic FC caulking. Midwest will also prepare and repaint the exposed concrete foundation.
The main body of work will include applying Prosoco Natural Stone Treatment VOC to the entire exterior masonry of the Courthouse. Since limestone is a pompous material, this will seal the exterior and prevent absorption of moisture. Any exterior surface that is not limestone will be covered during the treatment of the limestone. Therefore only one side of the Courthouse will be treated at a time. The caulking and the treatment of the limestone should last for at least ten years. The committee approved submission of the proposal to the full County Board for the sum of eighty five thousand five hundred ten dollars ($85,510.00).
The budget and financed portion of the meeting began with consideration of the County Engineers salary. The County Engineer’s salary does not come from the general fund but is paid in parts by the State and the Motor Fuel Tax. The State recommends a base sum for each county and the county then works from that base for each County Engineer. Previously the salary for Douglas County Engineer was set at 115 percent of the state base. A motion was made to increase the percentage to 118 percent for the coming year starting 10-1-21. The motion to recommend this to the County Board was passed. It should be noted that a percentage of the base salary is common. The Champaign County Engineer’s salary is 124 percent above the State base.
Don Munson then gave an update on possible programs that would qualify for ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act). Although there is no definitive answer on suggestions submitted to Bellwether, it is indicated that ARPA funds may be used for a number of projects that would qualify under a “lost revenue” portion of ARPA. The look back year is 2016, before the current positive increase in revenues for the County stemming from tax increases not associated with the Industrial Wind Complex in the County. The revenue stems from local businesses throughout the County.
Mr. Munson has been contacting Municipalities in the County to see if ARPA funds could be used to help them with projects in their towns. At this time Munson has received contact from two towns who could use help with costs concerning water projects in their communities. Bellwether is expected to be in touch with the County soon to advise on the appropriateness of the projects that have been submitted.
The Committee is also considering establishing a new position for a Building Maintenance Supervisor. This person would be in charge of all County Buildings except for the Health Department. This person would have the knowledge to analyze needs, prioritize them, and procure estimates of repairs. This is only in consideration, and the position has not been determined as to whether it would be a full time or part time position. The motion for adjournment was then made and the meeting adjourned.