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County approves tax warrant of $700,000

  • Matt Donkin, left, is presented with a certificate of appreciation by Franklin County Board Chairman Randall Crocker during a recent county board meeting. Donkin, who served as the regional superintendent of schools for multiple counties in Southern Illinois, including Franklin, recently resigned to become superintendent of the West Frankfort school district.

    Matt Donkin, left, is presented with a certificate of appreciation by Franklin County Board Chairman Randall Crocker during a recent county board meeting. Donkin, who served as the regional superintendent of schools for multiple counties in Southern Illinois, including Franklin, recently resigned to become superintendent of the West Frankfort school district.
    Submitted by Franklin County

 
BY RICK HAYES
Contributing Writer
updated: 6/4/2017 11:44 PM

A resolution seeking reimbursement of payments for probation and detention services was approved by the Franklin County Board during a special meeting late last week.

At the same meeting, leaders took action intended to relieve the county's financial crisis, approving a tax anticipation warrant ordinance that will allow the county to borrow $700,000 from a local bank until the county begins collecting 2016 real estate taxes due this year.

The county is securing the 2.7 percent loan through Peoples National Bank. Treasurer Keith Jones said the county has to pay off the loan by Nov. 15 in order to avoid paying any late fee penalties.

"We've set a tentative schedule to collect taxes," Jones said. "We're looking to have the tax bills out by June 19, which means the first installment would be due one month later and our first distribution 30 days after that. So we're looking at late August or early September before we collect our first distribution, which last year was around $600,000."

The treasurer said that distribution, along with funds from the second installment due 30 days later, would be used to pay off the warrant.

"This isn't a permanent solution; it's a temporary solution for us to decide what to do next," Jones said. "We could possibly get circuit clerk fees early and be able to make another payroll without doing this (warrant) but I think eventually we're going to have to do this."

It takes approximately $157,000 per month to pay probation and detention center salaries and benefits. The state reportedly owes the county about $1.1 million in past reimbursement payments, although Jones reported he did receive a payment of $65,000 from the state recently, pushing the county's common account up to $270,000.

"Whereas the State of Illinois has failed to make timely reimbursements for employees in the Second Judicial Circuit and Detention Center and has caused a serious financial crisis in Franklin County's budget and has placed essential services for the citizens of the county at risk, the Franklin County Board wishes to seek relief from the State of Illinois … and that reimbursements will be brought current and be timely made in the future," the resolution states.

"We support what you are doing," said Shawn Freeman, the Detention Center superintendent. "It puts everything in jeopardy and places a huge burden on Franklin County."

In the only other action during the special meeting, Edward Jones and Legends Bank (formerly Mid-Country) were added as designated depositories for county business.