Photo by Wendy Davis

Bob Kramer of Gilman addresses the Iroquois County Board about increasing the county’s population and businesses.

The Iroquois County Board had its February meeting Tuesday morning.

Among the items discussed was the rental rate for Headstart.

At the management services committee meeting Feb. 3 the report states that Headstart had asked to keep its monthly rent in the administrative center at the current rate of $1,507.52 per month until the end of August due to the conflicting budget year.

The new contract was expected to begin Sept. 1, with the new rate going into effect.

The committee recommended this by a vote of 4-1, with Sherry Johnson, Paul Bowers, John Zumwalt and Lyle Behrends voting in favor and Charles Alt voting against.

Alt asked at the full board meeting to separate this from the report for further consideration.

He said Headstart had plenty of time to put this increase in its budget. If it were to not pay the increase in those months the county would lose out on about $6,000.

Johnson said the report didn’t state what the committee had wanted. She said the committee had intended the rate stay the same until September, but after that Headstart would add the difference in future month’s payments.

To clarify this motion, the board sent the matter back to committee by a vote of 16-0, with Kevin Bohlmann, Donna Crow, Paul Ducat and Joe Young not at the meeting.

Also from the management services committee, the board approved United Prairie’s low rate bid for fertilizer for the county’s farm ground at a cost of $17,414.88.

Also approved at the meeting was adding First Mid Bank & Trust to the designated list of depositories for Iroquois County and to allow treasurer Kurt Albers to open a new deposit account for the extra payments related to the BB&T loan. These were matters from the finance committee, which met Feb. 6.

The board approved the reports from the policy and procedure committee, finance committee, management services committee, tax/planning and zoning committee, health committee, judicial and public safety committee, and transportation and highway committee.

In the public comments portion of the meeting, Bob Kramer addressed the board.

He told the board of his concern of the decreasing population in Illinois, and, specifically, Iroquois County. He said Iroquois County’s population is decreasing three times faster than the rest of the state.

“We need to start doing real things to encourage people and business to stay here and attract people and businesses o come here, and we need to do it a quadruple the rate,” he said. He said what Watseka has done with putting in new park playground equipment is nice.

The county needs to use the assets it has to do this. Then, like a business, he said, it should seek new attractions and market it. “We have assets in the community not used.” He said something the county needs is a means to get people to work.