By Stephanie Malench
The Madison County Board held its last regular meeting of the fiscal year on November 18.
Prior to committee reports, five public comment emails were read. All five of the emails asked for the board to vote “No” on the resolution, stating that it undermines the Black Lives Matter movement, and infers that Black Lives Matter protests destroy communities. The main agenda item asking for passage of a resolution declaring the county’s support of police by stating “Blue Lives Matter” was sent back to committee at the request of Public Safety Committee Chair Gussie Glasper (D-Madison). Mike Parkinson (D-Granite City) made the motion and Robert Pollard (D-East Alton) seconded the motion to send the resolution back to the Public Safety Committee.
Board member Don Moore (R-Troy) asked why the resolution needed to go back to committee for a third time after it had unanimously passed committee twice. Moore said he came up with the resolution four months ago after another board member brought up there were strained relationships in police departments across the country and because the police need to be acknowledged for doing a good job. Moore said he had tried several times to rewrite the resolution to “make it agreeable to more people” and some applauded his efforts.
Parkinson, a veteran police officer, said “Police in America don’t want to be divisive, police in America want to listen. Police in America want to better relationships with all communities and have positive conversations”. He added it is a “good idea to send the resolution back for meaningful discussion.
Moore was the only “Nay” on returning the resolution back to the committee.
Glasper was unavailable for comment.
County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler recognized 83-year-old East Alton resident Shirley Webb as an Illinois Department of Aging’s 2020 Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame inductee in the Performance/Graphic Arts category for having progressed from having difficulty climbing stairs to becoming a member of USA Power Lifting and motivating other older adults both in the community and at Club Fitness where she began her journey to health.
Several appointments and re-appointments were approved by the Board, including: David Michael as the Madison County Liquor Commission Clerk; Greg Schette as acting engineer due to the retirement of Mark Gvillo who retires November 25; Scott Anthony Marks replaces Ronald Marks with a term expiring December 2, 2022, Joel Cionko replaces Louis Cionko with a term expiring September 4, 2023, and Billy Dillard will complete Don Sawicki’s term that expires September 7, 2021 on the Chouteau Island Drainage and Levee District board; Kenneth Mueller was reappointed to theCounty Ditch Drainage and Levee District with this term expiring September 7, 2020; David Grzywacz was appointed to complete William Dorman on the Collinsville Fire Protection District board ending May 3, 2021; Chris Greer and James Nappier were each reappointed to the Moro Public Water District board for another 5 year term; Cynthia Worthen was reappointed to the Miracle Manor-Bellemore Place Street Light District board for another 3 year term.
Several new emergency appropriations were approved by the board, including $85,540 from the 2020 State’s Attorney Justice Assistance Grant, $493,694 CURES Program grant from the Illinois Public Health Department to the Madison County Health Department, a $40,000 grant from the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois for the purpose of providing iCloud storage for forensic interviews, and a $16,618 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation to the Madison County Sheriff’s department for a traffic enforcement program.
The Pet Population grant was also reallocated giving both the Madison County Humane Society and Partners for Pets $17,500 each.
Troy-O’Fallon Rd’s Mill Creek Bridge replacement project was appropriated $450,000 through the County Motor Fuel Tax Fund through a joint agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation. Federal funds have also been allocated to the project.
Prenzler also announced the four board members who will be serving on the Stepping Up subcommittee, a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jail as proposed at the September 15 Board meeting.
The committee will be chaired by Heather Mueller-Jones (R-Maryville). The other members appointed include Judy Kuhn (R-Trenton), Mick Madison (R-Bethalto), and Michael Parkinson (D-Granite City).