After meeting with the county's road district commissioners on March 3 to discuss salaries, the county commissioners approved a 2.5 percent salary increase at Friday's board meeting.
The salaries are paid for by real estate tax levies and motor fuel tax funds, meaning they do not come from the county's general fund. Board Chairman Ronnie White said real estate tax receipts have been trending slightly upward during the previous year and thus, the commissioners approved the increase.
"State highways, county highways and road districts each have their own funding source," White said.
The salaries will increase 2.5 percent each year for the life of the four-year contract, which starts May 15. Yearly increases are effective May 15 of each year.
The road district commissioners had been asking for a 3 percent increase.
Commissioner Dave Holder said that since the county has a commission-style of government rather than a township one, the commissioners are required by state law to set the salaries.
Holder noted that the salaries are different as they're based on the number of people the district serves. District 4 is the smallest as it serves Kaskaskia Island.
New base salaries are as follows:
District 1 - Commissioner: $58,671; Treasurer: $4,477
District 2 - Commissioner: $56,580; Treasurer: $4,194
District 3 - Commissioner: $54,575; Treasurer: $3,948
District 4 - Commissioner: $211*; Treasurer: $3,383
*Paid per day for each day worked for the first year, with a $5 per day increase beginning on May 15 of each successive year.
In other news, the commissioners heard a report from Randolph County Care Center Administrator Ken Slavens on a new federal life safety mandate for nursing homes.
Slavens said that since the facility has residents who are Medicare recipients, the care center would be required to be able to run the full facility (including televisions) at full power for at least 30 days in the event of a large-scale disaster.
"We have a generator and we are able to isolate basic functions in an emergency," Slavens said.
But Slavens said that to be able to meet the mandate's requirements, a generator with that kind of electrical capacity would cost $250,000.
"There's other people who don't have one at all and that's hard to fathom," he said, noting that after a certain length of time, the residents would be transferred to another facility until mainline power was restored.
During public comment, White spoke briefly on a news release distributed to media regarding the public safety tax. The commissioners are expected to approve a resolution at their next meeting on March 24 to officially establish distribution of the funds should the referendum pass in the April 4 election.
"We will pass a resolution at our next meeting so that people will have a firm idea of where the money is going and how it will be distributed," White said.
"According to state law, the funding from the safety tax can be used in several areas dealing with public safety," the news release stated. "These include costs related to ambulance service, coroner, circuit clerk, courthouse security, sheriff and jail.
"Right now, all these are partially or fully-funded out of the county's general fund. The revenue from the safety tax would be designated for use in these areas, which would help the county use its general fund to sufficiently support its other departments."
The news release stated that in the past five years, the number of people employed by the county in the sheriff's office, health department and county highway department has been reduced by 34.
The sheriff's office has only eight full-time deputies, while neighboring Monroe County has 16 and less area to patrol.
"These are large safety concerns not only for the sheriff's employees, but for the citizens of Randolph County," the release said.
- The commissioners approved the appointment of Emily Lyons and Jerry Willis to the Randolph County Tourism Board, as well as Robert Fox to the Coulterville Fire District.
- The commissioners approved general assistance claims in the amount of $800, with $1,121.54 in administrative costs.
- The Randolph County Care Center reported 65 residents.
- The commissioners approved a contract extension with CTS Phone Systems. The new 60-month agreement will pay CTS $1,194.08 per month to increase and maintain backup storage from 3 terabytes to 10 terabytes.
"As we continue to put more stuff on the website, we need to have additional storage," said Commissioner Dave Holder. "This keeps payments the same and extends it for an additional two years."
Holder noted the contract covers phone lines, long distance service and server backups.