PAXTON — The Ford County Public Building Commission has approved levying $200,000 in property taxes next summer for facility maintenance, marking the fourth straight year the levy has been reduced.
The amount is down from $225,000 a year ago, $300,000 two years ago and $288,400 three years ago. Just four years ago, the levy totaled $452,744, up from the $175,000 levied each of the previous five years.
The commission — a government entity tasked with maintaining the county’s courthouse, sheriff’s office/jail and health department office — bases its maintenance levy off of a list of projected maintenance-related expenses for each upcoming fiscal year, as provided by Sheriff Mark Doran, who oversees the county’s facility maintenance.
The projected expenses are calculated based on how much has been spent on facility maintenance, to date, during the current fiscal year and how much more is anticipated to be spent in the remaining months of the fiscal year.
The maintenance levy is just part of the total amount levied by the county on behalf of the commission. The county also levies bond money each year on the commission’s behalf. Last year’s bond levy totaled $145,006, bringing the commission’s total levy to $370,006 — down from $530,066 a year earlier.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting of the commission:
➜ The commission discussed the anticipated replacement of the sheriff’s office’s aging maintenance shed. The project was put on hold last month until a $39,000 infrastructure grant from the state has been received to help fund the project. Chairman Ron Shapland of rural Cullom said the grant money was expected to be received any day. “As soon as we are sure we’ve got the money, we’ll go ahead and proceed with the project,” Shapland said. Before bids are sought from contractors, the commission is expected to hire an architectural firm to draft the bid specifications, Shapland said. The existing maintenance shed, located in the parking lot on the sheriff’s office’s south side, is 53 years old.
➜ The commission learned that progress was being made on the replacement of the 25-year-old sewage grinder system at the jail. In May, commissioners voted to approve a $45,770 bid from Allied Mechanical of Urbana to do the work. The sewage grinders in the jail’s basement floor are used to grind anything that inmates may have flushed before sewage water is sent to Paxton’s sanitary system.
➜ The commission learned that the remodeling of the Ford County Public Health Department’s office in Paxton was nearly complete. “It’s moving along,” Shapland said, adding that Public Health Administrator Lana Sample indicated that “she thought it might be done in just a few days.”
➜ The commission made plans to invite a representative of the Champaign-based Reifsteck Reid architectural firm to the commission’s next meeting in September in preparation for possibly hiring the company to inspect the elevators in the courthouse and jail. Following the recent failure of the electrical control panel for the courthouse’s elevator, the commission is considering replacing the outdated equipment — and spending tens of thousands of dollars to do so. The commission is also considering replacing the electrical controls in the jail’s aging elevator. After both elevators are inspected, bids are expected to be sought from contractors interested in doing the work.