The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Hancock County Board Meets

Joy Swearingen, J-P correspondent

A new schedule of fines and fees were approved for Hancock County criminal, traffic and civil court. The fees were approved at the regular county board meeting April 16, after being reviewed by State's Attorney Rachel Mast.

Mast explained the reason for the changes at the March meeting, citing new state legislation that was designed to reduce disparity in the income of those convicted in Illinois courts.

The changes relate to fees that are paid into the county's general fund charged for criminal and traffic convictions. Additional fines or fees may be applied to other funds.

With the new legislation, the list of fees has grown from one sheet to roughly 14 pages, with fees based on percentages of the total amount, and adjusted by income level.

The result will be less money collected for criminal action. Funds previously collected that pay for drug court, teen court and court security will no longer be available.

A second list of fines and fees for civil cases was also approved.

Resolutions continuing the agreement with Western Illinois Regional Council (WIRC) to continue a paint and electronics recycling program were approved. The free collection site for these items is open every Friday morning at the Hancock County Highway Department garage at the east end of Wabash Street in Carthage. The county will pay $4,682 in 2019 to continue the program, with the Hancock County Health Department and the city of Carthage each paying around $1,300.

Numerous re-appointments of trustees were approved to the following fire protection districts:

Blandinsville-Hire - Eugene Lester, 3 years; Steve Haney, 1 year; Lee Ward, 2 years.

Bowen - Ray Stuehrenberg, 1 year; Lyle Paben, 3 years.

Colchester - Stephen Altenbern, 2 years; John Bushmire, 3 years.

Lima-Tioga - Kevin Roskamp, 1 year.

Nauvoo - Paul McKoon, 3 years.

Tri-County - Joe Jefferson, 3 years; LeRoy Dunn, 1 year; Lowell Thompson, 2 years.

Warsaw Rural District - Mike Heisler, 3 years; Marie Austin, 3 years.

West Point - Tammy Dighton, 3 years.

Trustees to Augusta, Dallas and LaHarpe departments are still to be named.

Tom Scheetz was appointed as the county representative to the WIRC.

An agreement was approved with Starcom Communications for more radios for the Sheriff's Office, and installing a repeater on the tower at the county jail. There are currently repeaters at Niota, Warsaw and east of Augusta, but radio coverage is poor in Carthage at the jail and courthouse. The cost of $45,000 will be paid over three years or less and will use some available drug funds.

A contract with Devnet was approved for software for the assessment office that helps integrate their mapping system with other programs.

The board approved bridge repair projects at Little Creek, about 2.5 miles west of Basco, and at Deer Creek, about half a mile north of Burnside. Both contracts went to County Contractors of Quincy.

The board approved agreements for bituminous road material for the county from W.L. Miller of Hamilton and Tri-State Asphalt LLC of Morris, and material for townships from W.L. Miller.

The week of May 18 to 24 was proclaimed as Safe Boating Week.

The board discussed contracting with an appraiser to assess the building and grounds near the sheriff's office owned by the ambulance service. No decision was finalized.

Ambulance charges of $88,021 were written off as noncollectable, based on adjustments made by Medicare and Medicaid.