Photo by Wendy Davis

The Iroquois County Board Finance Committee talks with 9-1-1 director Eric Raymond about the proposed FY20 budget numbers.

At Thursday’s Iroquois County Board Finance Committee meeting, the group got the FY20 budget its been working on into the black.

It began with a $30,000 deficit, and by the end of the meeting it was in the black with more than $16,000.

Finance manager Jill Johnson told the group county clerk Lisa Fancher agreed to give $15,000 from her department’s automation fund, and circuit clerk Lisa Hines will give $35,000 from her department’s automation fund.

It went over plans for snow removal. Maintenance supervisor Chris Drake said he worked on numbers and asked for a part time person who could be called in as needed year-round. He asked to pay this person $22 an hour. He said if there are 13 snows like there were last year, then the cost would be just $1,400. Last year, the county paid nearly $40,000 total for the job. He said this person could do other work around the buildings, as well, but there’s not enough work to hire a full time employee.

“It allows for flexibility but it’s still a trial and there’s a candidate in mind,” said county board chairman John Shure.

The committee agreed to hire a part time person working no more than a 1,000 hours, as per IMRF rules, but figured a budget with this person working 300 hours, totaling $6,600 for the budget.

Another item changed in the budget was decreasing animal control administrator Hany Youseff’s salary request. He had asked for $24,000, doubling what he currently makes, saying he puts in a lot of hours on the job and there will be more work involved when cat registration beings. Plus, he says it makes his salary more competitive with other county’s animal control administrator.

Committee member Sherry Johnson said due to the county’s financial restraint, it can’t double someone’s salary in a year’s time. Plus, she said, Youseff is a party in what put the county part of pending litigation with a former animal control officer.

The committee approved, with a “no” vote from Johnson, to increase Youseff’s salary by $3,000. Committeeman Charles Alt reasoned that Youseff will have more work when people begin registering their cats.

What hasn’t been fully figured out yet is what to do with the public safety tax money requests, but committee chairman Michael McTaggart said this is a different fund and doesn’t need to be approved with the general fund.

There’s still question on how much money, if any, to give 9-1-1, as it will be making a lot of purchases related to the state mandated change to NextGen 9-1-1.

Eric Raymond, 9-1-1 director, has asked for $200,000 for equipment, but McTaggart said there will be grants which 9-1-1 can get to recoup costs. McTaggart said what’s given to 9-1-1 should be conditional based on grants.

Raymond said, “There’s plenty in capital expenses regardless of grants,” and the Emergency Telephone Systems Board (ETSB) can’t afford it all.

He reminded the board last year ETSB contributed $225,000 to joint dispatch, when both the county and the city of Watseka were struggling financially and asked to pay just $115,500. ETSB agreed, telling the county board it would need help in FY20 for the NextGen 9-1-1 costs.

Initially, ETSB asked that the county and city pay $167,500 equally with the ETSB and $125,000 would come from the public safety tax monies.

The county’s FY20 budget is showing $120,000 from both the county and city and $255,196.37 from ETSB.

ETSB will have a special meeting at 11 a.m. Oct. 23 to look at its FY20 budget and there will be a rescheduled Nov. 6 meeting to 11 a.m. Nov. 14.

Also at the meeting, county clerk Lisa Fancher presented the cost of purchasing the four parcels groups wanted to deed back to the county after this summer’s recording error by the county’s trustee, Ballingers. The total cost is $6,589.80 and the county can put them back up for auction. She said the states attorney and the new county trustee, Joseph Meyer and Associates, are working to recoup the money from Ballingers, as it was its error and the company got paid for the work it didn’t do correctly.

Myron Munyon was at the meeting to tell the group insurance renewal for liability and general insurance will be in December and they’re looking to find the lowest costs.

Suzie Werner was at the meeting to explain she was able to nail down a 7.5 percent increase on the health insurance renewal with Health Alliance, without a two-year rate guarantee.

The IT committee had its meeting immediately after the finance committee met.

Michael Taber from Area Wide explained they have been reviewing quotes for a website update and redesign, and the cost is looking to be around $20,000. It’s not in the budget for FY19 or FY20.

The committee approved the costs of the software licenses for the server totaling $39,500 to be taken from the FY19 budget. It also approved extending the email security awareness training for employees at a cost of $2,376. Fancher said this training is beneficial in guiding employees on how to spot emails which could do damage to the county’s computers and system as a whole.