PAXTON — After extensive discussion, the Ford County Board tabled a motion to hire a student worker Monday night.
The Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School student would work part-time starting in June in both the treasurer’s office and supervisor of assessments office, through the high school’s Inter-Related Cooperative Education (ICE) work program.
The student would work full-time this summer and part-time during the school year. However, board members were not comfortable with the wording of working “no more than 130 hours a month,” with no mention of working “no more than 1,000 hours total,” the definition in the county’s policy book of a part-time worker.
Board member Dr. Bernadette Ray of Gibson City said she was uncomfortable with that wording and the fact that a contract would extend 13 months. County Clerk Amy Frederick said State’s Attorney Andrew Killian had signed off on the wording; but he did not attend the meeting, so board members were unable to address him directly about their concerns.
Also, board member Gene May of rural Paxton expressed his skepticism of hiring the student at all.
“If that person is going to be there to just answer the phones, we have answering machines for that,” May said.
The board did, however, concur with the recommendations of the finance committee to hire a full-time employee in the county clerk’s office at starting wage of $11.25 per hour; to hire a full-time employee in the circuit clerk’s office through Nov. 30, the end of the 2019 fiscal year; and to hire a part-time employee in the treasurer’s office.
In other business:
➜ The board entered into an agreement with Iroquois County to replace the bridge on the Ford-Iroquois County line between Rogers Township in Ford County and Milks Grove Township in Iroquois County. Iroquois County will spend $560,000 — two-thirds of the cost — while Ford County will spend $286,000, the other third.
➜ The board accepted the low bid from Iroquois Paving to replace a bridge in Button Township for $293,000.
➜ The board heard from Andrew Hamilton of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council about a proposed resolution in support of adding property to the enterprise zone that encompasses portions of McLean County and Gibson City. The resolution will be voted on next month and asks for the addition of property in the northern part of McLean County so that Brandt Industries U.S.A. Ltd. can complete a $5 million expansion at its agricultural equipment manufacturing facility. Hamilton said the enterprise zone allows businesses to see various tax credits and, as such, is an economic stimulus tool. Hamilton said the zone is limited to 15 square miles and the current zone contains 14.1 miles. Brandt’s acquisition would add just 0.05 square miles to the total. Hamilton said the zone is in place for 15 years with the possibility of 10 more years in the event of an extension.
➜ Board Chairman Bob Lindgren of rural Loda said he has been sitting in on as many meetings of the board’s committees as possible, familiarizing himself with their work.
➜ Lindgren said he received an update from officials with the Illinois Department of Agriculture about the progress of renovations at the state fairgrounds. Lindgren said he was told the Coliseum will be ready to use this summer. It was constructed in 1901 and is a large, three-story, enclosed oval-shape amphitheater housing a show ring for horses.
➜ Ford County Public Health Department Administrator Lana Sample said she and others continue to discuss a county burn ordinance and that she has seen a rise in elder abuse and currently has 11 open cases under the Adult Protection Services Program.