Photo by Wendy Davis

Iroquois County Board Tax/Zoning Committee has its September meeting Tuesday.

A lot of information came from the Iroquois County clerk/recorder’s office in Tuesday’s county board tax/zoning committee meeting.

Lisa Fancher told the committee members a recent fee study was completed by Bellwether Consulting and it advised the county to increase fees within the department.

Fees charged in the clerk’s office can only be increased with having a fee study done and by county board approval. The last increase was made 10 years ago.

“I would have liked to see them go higher,” Fancher said, noting they are inline with what’s charged by counties similar in size to Iroquois County but well below those charged in larger counties. Champaign County, she said, charges $24 for a certified birth certificate. The study looks at the current fees, and judges increases based on a variety of factors including consumer price index and office expenses. “(The increases) have to be justified.”

The increase affects several of the vital records fees.

Certified copies of birth certificates will increase from $12 to $14 for the first copy, and it’ll increase from $2 to $5 for each additional copy.

The marriage license application will increase from $33 to $50. Certified copies of a marriage license will increase from $12 to $18, and it’ll increase from $2 to $5 for each additional copy.

An application for an assumed name of business or change of business name will increase from $5 to $24.

A registration of a notary commission in person will increase from $5 to $10; the fee to register a notary commission by mail will remain at $10.

There will be a few which will remain the same.

Certified copies of a death record will remain $26, but there will be an increase from $6 to $9 for each additional copy.

A clerk fee for redemption of a tax sale certificate will remain at $110.

This will go into effect Oct. 1.

She said the study also looked at fees within the recording department, and an increase was suggested there, too.

She said she doesn’t want to make any changes within recording until the state makes its own decisions on fee changes. This way, she said, “I didn’t want to raise them and then raise them again”, because of the time and cost put into making the changes and letting the public know.

Next, Fancher told the committee the state board of elections is wanting a study done looking at the handicap accessibility of poling places.

Iroquois County’s Options Center for Independent Living did such a study nine years ago, she said. This one needs to be completed by March.

She said this will require a lot of man hours to complete. “We’re a big county.” There are 37 precincts in Iroquois County, and with the inclusion of the county’s administrative center, there are 34 poling places.

The study will look at inside and outside the building, including parking lots and curbing, she said. She said she’s sure there are going to be places which won’t meet the guidelines. “Those that aren’t, how will we make them compliant?”

She said it could be as simple as finding a different place for voters to vote in the precinct, but there are places in the county where there aren’t many options if a change would need to be made. She gave Milks Grove precinct as an example, where the poling place is in the township building.

In other business, Fancher, along with treasurer Kurt Albers, presented the committee a contract to use the services of Joseph Meyers and Associates as the county’s delinquent tax agent.

The county will no longer use Ballingers, as it has given the company the required 120 day notice for the proposed change. The new contract will go in effect Oct. 15.

Fancher said Joseph Meyers and Associates has been working with Ballingers to get the current properties it’s holding switched.

Joseph Meyers and Associates has also been helping correct an issue where Ballingers failed to properly record a few properties a few months ago.

Fancher updated the committee on this issue.

She said there are three buyers who are wanting to deed their properties back to the county, three who will will keep the property to eventually get a superior title and one which hasn’t decided yet.

The total cost the county will have to pay back to those who deed the property back to the county, basically get a refund on their purchase, will be $5,241.90. She said the county board will have to let her know where the money should come from in the budget.

As for zoning, administrator Bob Yergler said there’s a few issues which he wants to see fixed.

One, he said, it putting in a stronger penalty for those who don’t get the proper permits or inspections done.

Plus, he said, he’d like the board to consider a change, starting to put a fee on ag buildings. “Tool sheds aren’t just tool sheds anymore,” he said. There are a lot of “tool sheds” which have plumbing for bathrooms and they have offices and living quarters. He compared them to “man caves” and “mini-Taj Mahals”. “They aren’t normal poll buildings.”

These buildings require inspections done by the county, and, because they’re getting permits as “agriculture” buildings, there’s no fee. The county doesn’t get any sort of compensation in doing the inspections.

Also at the meeting,

— Albers reminded the committee and the public the second installment of property taxes will be due Sept. 16.

— There will be a zoning board of appeals hearing at the end of September to hear a request for a conditional use for a microbrewery to be built, said Yergler.

— The committee approved a revision to the solar ordinance.