The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

County Board plans for payback after failed appeal

-by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher-Owner

OQUAWKA-A small crowd of onlookers gathered at a special Henderson County Board meeting Monday to address a $471,000 bill an appeal judge ruled is due IEMA, stemming back from the 2008 flood.

Included in the upstairs courtroom was TV-6, the Henderson County States Attorney Scott McClintock who was advising the board, and Randy Frese, Republican member of the Illinois House of Representatives who represents the 94th district who came for support, even though the issue is a federal issue with FEMA and IEMA.

The short meeting heard the board gather, then quickly move to cash in two C.D.s totaling $286,000.

Chairman Albert Renken asked Attorney McClintock if there was anything else they needed to do, and he said "no", and the board adjourned.

Board member Marty Lafary, who was Chairman during the flood, told the crowd, "You need to put pressure on our legislators. We'll need their help!"

After the meeting, Board member Terry Myers said their were still funds left for emergencies such as failed furnace/air conditioning, etc. but Chairman Albert Renken said afterwards, we do not have enough funds to pay this debt off. The county is going to need help.

Renken said the $500,000 grant was awarded during the flood and used for demolition, hazardous material removal, moving homes and buildings, etc.

"It's not that anything illegal was done, but I think it was more of a filing issue."

Renken said during the pressures of the flood, different FEMA representatives who came were giving them different information. One would say do it this way, another would say that way was all wrong.

After the appeal was lost, Attorney McClintock, Renken, Myers, and Knupp went to Springfield last Thursday and Attorney McClintock, representing the county board, presented a plan to pay back the money. IEMA needed the county to cash two CDs of their emergency savings and make a payment to show good intent, Renken said.

The Audit meeting which is held the first Monday of the month will meet in the upstairs courtroom at 8:30 a.m. this coming Monday, October 3rd. The board will meet again on its regular second Tuesday of the month, October 11th. The finance committee was moved under Lafary's watch to meet during regular board meetings with the entire board.

Renken will complete his 14th year with the board and his 2nd year as Chairman, this November. Renken said they are not preparing for a flood disaster this year, as there are no funds, but feels this year will be no problem if the flood doesn't go over 19 feet. There is only a private levy that may have concern, Renken said.

Present predictions were reported as not expected to exceed 17' at Burlington, IA this fall.

Legislators have been contacted with Frese present, no response from Congressman Cheri Bustos, and phone responses have been made back from Senator Dick Durbin's office, it was reported.