PAXTON — For a fourth straight year, Ford County landowners can expect to see a reduction in the amount of property taxes collected for the maintenance of three county-owned facilities.

The Ford County Public Building Commission, a government entity tasked with maintaining the county’s courthouse, sheriff’s office/jail and health department office, discussed Tuesday night the amount to be levied for facility maintenance in 2019, which will be reflected on real estate tax bills next summer.

Tentatively, the amount is expected to be $197,200,  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.

While the number could still change, Commissioner Tom McQuinn of rural Paxton said the five-member commission is “close” to finalizing the levy and expects to approve a list of facility maintenance-related expenses that can be covered by the levy within a couple of months.

Further discussions will occur during the commission’s next meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 9, in the small courtroom on the courthouse’s first floor.

As allowed by state law, the county levies taxes each year to pay for its lease agreement with the commission. The commission, which owns all three county facilities, leases them to the county for a fee equal to the amount it costs each year to operate and maintain them.

The commission 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 — up from  $530,066 a year earlier.

Other business

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

➜ The commission made plans to hire an engineer to assist with the bidding process on all future projects exceeding $20,000 in cost, including the anticipated replacement of the sheriff’s office’s aging maintenance shed. The proposal to hire an engineer came after only one bid was received in May for the maintenance shed project — and the bid did not include a 33-by-35-foot concrete floor, which Doran estimated could cost as much as $20,000. “We as a building commission are going to have to put (the project) back out for bids in the very near future,” McQuinn said, adding that an engineer who is expected to be hired at the July 9 meeting will assist with the process to “make sure it’s all bid correctly.” Doran has applied for a $39,000 infrastructure grant from the state to help fund the project. The existing maintenance shed, located in the parking lot on the sheriff’s office’s south side, is 53 years old.

➜ The commission approved retaining Champaign-based Feller & Kuester CPAs LLP as its auditor.

➜ The commission accepted the resignation of Nancy Krumwiede of rural Paxton as the commission’s appointed treasurer, effective June 30. The commission’s new treasurer is Krisha Shoemaker, who also serves as Ford County’s elected treasurer.

➜ The commission approved the reappointment of Ron Shapland of rural Cullom to a five-year term as a commissioner. The county board still needs to vote on the reappointment of Shapland, who serves as the commission’s chairman, for the reappointment to become official.

➜ The commission approved the purchase of new office equipment — including filing cabinets and desks — for the Ford County Clerk & Recorder’s Office.

➜ The commission discussed the need to have the courthouse’s aging elevator repaired. “It’s 30 years old and has electrical problems,” McQuinn said.