The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Hancock County Board

Joy Swearingen, Correspondent

The Hancock County Board is looking into an ordinance that would allow for a special use alcohol permit for businesses.

The action was prompted by a request from Tammy Huls of Flippin' Furniture, but will not be final in time for the outdoor market Huls has planned in May. Huls had hoped to have Baxter's Vineyard selling wine in bottles or glasses an open air market at her business that is outside Carthage city limits.

Lindsay Schlotterback explained the plan for the market, saying she had experience getting a letter of approval from the Village of Bowen to hold a once a year event with alcohol.

The county has a special use license for not-for-profit groups, but not for businesses. The Building and Grounds committee is investigating the idea and will work with State's Attorney Rachel Mast to draft the ordinance, which could allow such events in the future.

Website goes off-line

The county web site has been taken off line, at least temporarily. The county is not required to have a web site, but if it does, certain requirements must be met.

Problems with the site were called to the county's attention by Bob Wright of Nauvoo who wrote a letter to the Attorney General.

Wright explained that in March he had checked the county website and did not find information about county board meeting times and agendas which might tell how a new state's attorney would be appointed after the death of Jason Pohren.

Mast was appointed State's Attorney at the March 20 board meeting, and installed the next morning, after Pohren died unexpectedly March 19.

Wright stressed that he was not concerned with Mast in the position, but that he had several questions he thought should have been answered before the appointment was made.

"My goal is to let people know what is happening at the county board and that the open meetings act works," Mast said.

Board president Delbert Kreps said, "I think we should open the website just as soon as we can meet the requirements and get it done right." He designated the Building and Grounds Committee to look in to what is needed on the site and who will be responsible for keeping the site up-to-date.

In light of the letter from the Attorney General, Mast's appointment as state's attorney was on the meeting agenda and was approved again by the board.

Tax bills will be late

The tax season will be late this year since a qualified supervisor of assessments has not yet been hired, according to Finance Committee chairman, Wayne Bollin. He said interim supervisor of assessments, Heidi Wilson, is working to get help completing tax assessments.

After assessments are completed, they are posted in county newspapers, the Board of Review meets for 30 days to hear questions, and finally tax bills are sent out.

On the recommendation of County Treasurer Kris Pilkington, the board approved the issuing $800,000 of tax anticipation warrants, to be used only as needed. It was suggested the county send letters to all tax entities telling them their tax money may be late this year.

Other county news

The board approved a bid for tree sap from Buss Ag Services of Mendon, and approved buying various road repair materials from the following providers: Gray Quarries of Hamilton, R.L O'Neal of Plymouth, Central Stone of Carthage and Tennessee, Cessford Construction Company of Dallas City and W.L Miller of Hamilton.

Bids for remodeling the interior of the Highway Department office building were opened March 26, and awarded to Chandler Construction of Carthage for $8,400 labor and materials and to Midwest Office in Keokuk for office furniture for $2,307.

The bid for bridge replacement in Bear Creek Township was granted to low bidder, County Contractors of Quincy for $275,416.

The Labor Agreement with EMS employees was approved, with corrections that were noted at the March meeting and approved by employees.

The board designated all banks in Hancock County as depositories for county funds.

Unpaid ambulance charges believed to be uncollectible, totaling $39,651, were acknowledged as a write-off.

Hamilton is working on a location to house the ALS ambulance for part of the year, along with Warsaw. EMS director, Gabe Smeltser, said the move would likely be made in July.

Smeltser noted that Medicare is $400,000 behind in payments to the county, but had made an $8,000 interest payment.

Dan Gallaher was appointed as trustee to the Nauvoo Fire Protection District. Linda Asher and Steve Siegrist were appointed as trustees to Warsaw Rural Fire Protection District.