By Stephanie Malench
The Madison County Board held its last regular meeting of the fiscal year on November 17 at the Administration Building in Edwardsville. Absent from the meeting were Michael “Doc” Holiday (D-Alton, Bill Stoutenborough (D-Alton), Mike Babcock (R- Bethalto), and Jamie Gogin (R-Edwardsville). Matthew King (D- East Alton) was admitted later in the meeting after an ordinance was passed allowing county board member to attend meetings remotely with prior approval under certain circumstances.
Chairman Kurt Prenzler had the board and all of those in attendance stand for a moment of silence in memory of Pontoon Beach Police Officer Tyler Timmons that was killed in the line of duty on October 26, 2021.
During public comment, Pontoon Beach Mayor Mike Pagano publicly thanked the other officers from not only the Pontoon Beach Police Department but Granite City and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department for trying to save Timmons before he was transferred to a St. Louis hospital where he later died.
Pagano also thanked the Granite City Police and Madison County Sheriff’s Department for handling all calls for the next week while the Pontoon Beach Police decompressed.
Another public comment was from former board member and current Granite City Mayor Mike Parkinson encouraging the board to approve sending the Gateway Model for the Southwestern Madison County Enterprise Zone to the state for approval. State approval is needed because it involves waiving the state sales tax to contractors who purchase materials to fix up or rebuild one of the houses.
The model will allow an individual or company to come into Granite City and surrounding municipalities and restore the dilapidated housing stock and resell it to families with a ten-year property tax waiver.
The final public comment was by Ryan Cunninham, co-founder of Speak For Students, a parent choice organization throughout Madison County whose mission is to stand up for the “Momma Bears”. Cunningham, who is the father of a special needs student, wanted to thank the board for approving the resolution supporting mask freedom for parents late this summer, even though the state opted just days later to mandate masks.
The last special item before approving appointments and committee work was the reading of a proclamation written by Judge Amy Mahler recognizing November as National Adoption Month.
Tina Worthen was appointed to the Mitchell Public Water District Board replacing Robin Rineheart for the remainder of a five-year term and Patricia Bridges was recommended to finish Darlene Fletcher’s three-year term on the Miracle Manor-Bellemore Light District Board.
The two most important items passed unanimously were the 2022 budget and tax levy. The balanced budget is $171 million and includes replacement of vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office, Facility Department, Coroner’s Office, County Clerk, and Probation Departments, as well as replacement radio equipment and body cameras for the Sheriff’s Office and a new accounting system for the Auditor’s Office.
The property tax levy is $30.8 million for the fourth year in a row, with the rest of the budget being funded by grants, fees, and sales tax revenues. $8.2 million of the tax levy goes towards the $54.4 million General Fund monies.
The Board also voted 23-1 to approve a new district map bringing the number of county board members down from 28 to 26. The only “no” vote was from Nick Petrillo (D-Granite City) “because he didn’t feel it best served the residents of Granite City”, due to two county board seats being consolidated into a single district.
Proposed by Chris Guy (R-Maryville), the new map and smaller board “reduces the board by 10 percent and saves approximately $435,000 on salaries during the next 10 years”.
Two resolutions were passed supporting an ordinance and amendments to add incentives to the Southwestern Madison Count Enterprise Zone for Granite City, Venice, and Madison. The amendments would ask the state to approve waiving sales tax on materials to individuals who make $10,000 or more in improvements that require a permit to fix up the housing stock in these communities. The owners who purchase the home would then not have to pay property taxes for the next ten years.
Three resolutions were approved authorizing the county to submit grant applications for the 2021 HUD Continuum of Care Program.
Purchases were approved for two new model year 2022 Ford Police Interceptor utility AWD replacement vehicles with police vehicle equipment packages for the sheriff’s office for $90,050 and two new single axle dump trucks with snow plow and stainless steel hopper spreader with pre-wet system for the highway department for $305,718.00.
The Animal Control fees beginning January 1, 2022 were also increased from a $15 registration fee to $30 for each dog or cat that is spayed, neutered or under six months of age, and the fee for each intact dog or cat over six months of age was increased from $35 to $70.
The next regular meeting will be December 15 at 5 pm in the Madison County Administration Building.