By Stephanie Malench
The Collinsville Township held it first regularly scheduled board meeting at the Senior Center on June 8.
The longest agenda item during the meeting was an educational program from Steve Bryant of Good Energy LP and Maryville Mayor Craig Short at the request of Township Supervisor Derrick Cox for the township board to enter a professional services contract with Good Energy to put the item back on the June 2022 ballot.
The item was recently on the April 2021 and failed 459-212. Under both the previous and next ballot initiative, only residents who live in unincorporated parts of the Collinsville Township and have Ameren as their supplier (not Southwest Electric) are enrolled in the “opt-out” program. The Township would be part of a buying group with Maryville, Edwardsville, Jarvis Township, Wood River Township, Granite City, Bethalto and several other communities in Madison and St. Clair Counties to get a lower rate.
Cox said that the reason the previous ballot initiative failed was because the previous administration did not approve letting Bryant and his team conduct the educational component to the residents that would have been provided at no cost to the Township.
Common questions Bryant answered (answers in parentheses after each question) were:
“Who do I call if I have a problem with my power outside my house?’ (Ameren is still the delivery agent, Good Energy is just the supplier. Bills will still be sent through Ameren).
“Are Collinsville residents eligible?” (No, the program is only for those in unincorporated areas. Maryville residents are already in the program and Collinsville voters rejected the program several years ago).
“What if you do not want to enroll?” (You are automatically enrolled and have to return a postcard if you want to opt out.)
The motion passed to put the issue on the ballot with Trustee Brad Sewell casting the only “no” vote.
During reports by directors and commissioners, Road and Bridge Supervisor Kathy Trucano-Hoelscher reported that the Lebanon Rd easement offers have been sent off for the bridge over the CSX railroad tracks.
Approximately 1,000 feet of gutter is being laid each day on Woodridge Ct. Once that is done, Christ Bros. Asphalt will begin paving the street. Paving will also be completed on the short end of Bill Lou, Louise, Su-Andra and Will-Vina.
The road crew is also keeping the grass cut in the areas it maintains and informing Madison County of private areas that are not being maintained if they cannot work with the homeowner.
Assessor Pete Poletti was absent.
Senior Center Director Brandon Loyet reported that the senior council has now started with six members and meets at 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.
Cox announced he would be meeting with MCT to see about getting a shuttle bus similar to the one that the Collinsville Parks Department operates to bring the township residents to the center for lunches.
A new volunteer program has also been started to help seniors at their homes. The volunteers are covered by the insurance as long as they are supervised by a township employee.
Due to two previous audits being filed on March 20 and March 31 of 2020 totaling $26,000 and another audit being completed at the request of former Supervisor Dan Hopkins for $10,000, the audit fund does not have the money to pay for the former audits. According to Cox $15,000 will have to be borrowed for the audits that have already been completed. The audits were completed due to a legal requirement that there was a new supervisor in a non-election year. Had Supervisor Terry “Bones” Allen held his seat for 11 more days only one audit would have had to been done.
When Cox asked if any of the trustees noticed anything in the audits that raised concerns, Trustee Brad Sewell was concerned with a portion of the first page that reads “The Township does not have the personnel or staff with sufficient training or expertise to ensure the township has financial statements that are prepared according to generally accepted accounting principles that include _____
Cox said a program tracking time off for employees will need to be found soon.
Trustee Clint Ball wants to start a business recognition program for new businesses in the township with the July meeting.
Four new FOIA officers were appointed. Gabrielle Koonce, Pam Mumfert, and Jennifer Keller will assist Clerk Jim Achenbach in answering requests in the five days required by law.
Cox named Matthew Guenther to serve as Supervisor pro-tem at any meeting where Cox is not present.The budget hearing is set for June 24 at 7 p.m. with the vote to adopt or reject the budget immediately after the hearing is concluded.
The next major project the board is scheduled to act on is revising the bylaws that have not been updated since 2010. The current bylaws are available on the website, www.collinsvilletownship.org/transparency.
The next regularly scheduled meeting after the Budget Hearing will be July 13.