The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

911 And County Money Concerns

by Sally Day, Quill Reporter

No one denied that the Henderson County Sheriff's Office needs additional dispatchers, during the December 2011 meeting of the Henderson County Board, held Tuesday, December 13.

There are times when an ambulance call comes in, then a second call comes in, perhaps a car accident, and it may be around meal time, and the dispatcher is responsible for handling all of this.

Take this case scenario and add to it that during severe weather, the dispatcher may be answering an incredible amount of calls regarding weather sirens, tornado watchers, etc.

Keep in mind that there is only one dispatcher on duty during any given shift. The question is, how does the County pay for additional dispatchers?

It was noted that some counties have a dispatching tax; in Hancock County it is said to cost residents eight cents per person.

Henderson County Chairman Marty Lafary asked Henderson County Chief Deputy Donnie Seitz to spearhead a committee to study this challenge.

Carrie McKillip, Extension Educator from the University of Illinois Extension Office, offered the board a four-page pamphlet showing facts obtained from the 2010 Census.

Henderson County population went from 8,213 in 2000 to 7,331 in 2010, a decrease of over 10 percent. The youth population (under 18) was down over 21 percent, from 1,898 to 1,493 youth.

Other facts included housing, education, and employment by industry. McKillip did make note that the Illinois Emergency Management Agency was very impressed with the Hazardous Mitigation set up by the County.

Coral Seitz, Henderson County Zoning Officer, told the board that the County now owns 13 buy-out properties, bought out from the 2008 flood. These will now be know as "Green Spaces".

The property will not have a four sided structure on them from this time on.

The property could be used as parks, tennis courts, etc.

Seitz noted Henderson County is the first county in the state to go through this entire process.

Seitz noted that the county collected $201.50 in Zoning fees for the month. Year totals included $3,472.74 in Zoning fees and a total of $3 million dollars in construction.

Marion Brown, Henderson County Board Member, discussed placing security cameras at the Sheriff's Office.

Chairman LaFary noted this should have been done years ago. Henderson County Sheriff Steve Haynes said he had received a quote of $7,000.00 to have this done. The person who had agreed to the bid had changed his mind and has said he is not interested in installing the equipment.

Henderson County is in the planning stages for a centrally located building or headquarters to house a generator for warmth and cooling, a possible office for emergency services, and other like needs in the case of natural disasters, such as tornadoes or earthquakes.

Henderson County Assessor was on hand to request the board consider switching map vendors from Sidwell to Bruce Harris and Associates.

Currently, the county uses a computer generated program called Parcel Builder Map Viewer. The board agreed to accept the contract from Bruce Harris and Associates.

State's Attorney Scott McClintock discussed the Child Advocacy Center. He noted the agency covers Knox, Warren, and Henderson Counties.

McClintock said they hold forensic interviews and offer therapy and counseling services. The board passed a resolution for fee to support The Child Advocacy Center.

The board tabled a discussion pertaining to changing the County Board to Commissioners instead of board members.

Board member Gail Russell noted it is very difficult to find people to run for the County Board. Currently there are 12 people (8 Democrats and 4 Republicans) running for the 11 positions on the County Board.

In other business, the Board: