The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Hancock County Board Hears of Manufacturing Project

Joy Swearingen - Quill Correspondent

Tim Scheetz of Peoria approached the Hancock County at their regular meeting July 16 seeking a location for a manufacturing project in the county.

Scheetz, formerly of Hancock County, has a prototype for an Endeavor Trax-Truck that would revamp retired Cat Challenger farm tractors into a heavy-duty cab-forward truck with track undercarriage for work in heavy construction areas.

Scheetz said his trucks would meet criteria for new requirements that by 2020 contractors for federal construction projects must use U.S. made equipment. Tax breaks are given to companies refurbishing old equipment.

Scheetz said he would hire employees right away and needs about 10,000 square feet of space to get started. He inquired about renting the building near the Sheriff's Office, previously owned by the county ambulance service. He has an order for 50 track-trucks to go to Houston, Texas, as soon as he can get them built.

Steve Steinhour and Doug McCoy also expressed interest in buying not renting the same property as a work space for their auto service and repair businesses.

State's Attorney, Rachel Mast, said she would look into the matter, because the county is in the process of turning that property over to the Hancock Building Commission.

Another visitor to the county board meeting was the president of Carl Sandburg College, Dr. Seamus Reilly, who began at the college in July 2018.

"I am here to meet you and reaffirm my commitment to Hancock County and the students of this and all 12 of the counties in the Carl Sandburg College district," he said. Reilly visits the Carthage about once a month, meeting with the K-12 schools, businesses and others in the area.

"I am especially proud of the CEO class here in the county, it is one of the best. I look forward to working with economic development for the area."

Caryl Riley spoke as a representative of the census to be taken next year. She noted that April 1, 2020, would be census day.

The vote on a resolution to confirm a new toll structure at the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe bridge between Fort Madison and Niota failed in a six to six tie. The measure raised the toll from $2 to $3 and the fee would be assessed on traffic leaving Illinois and entering Iowa.

Yes votes were cast by Dennis Castlebury, Gary Dittmer, Wayne Bollin, Steve Bolton, Tom Rodgers and Delbert Kreps. No votes were cast by Janet Fleming, Patsy Davis, Mark Menn, Don Little, Tom Scheetz and Pat Cramer. Three board members were absent.

"It is my understanding they are raising the toll by $1, and if we don't approve, they have the option to shut (the bridge) down," said State's Attorney Rachel Mast. Mast said she would get information on what the failed vote would mean in the future. Some board members questioned whether the vote would have any effect on the privately-owned bridge.

The board approved writing off unpaid ambulance charges of $72,012 in contractual adjustments (Medicaid and Medicare) and $5,464.16 for bad debts believed to be uncollectable.

The board approved the appointments of Stephen Mulch to the Dallas Rural Water District for a five-year term expiring March 2024, and Ronald Mellinger to the LaHarpe Fire Protection District for a three-year term ending May 2022.