By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Two deputies will be added to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department next fiscal year, which begins on Dec. 1.
The recommendation to add the deputies to the county payroll was approved by majority, although board member Jim Laird voted in opposition.
During Thursday's Fiscal Committee meeting, it was reported that money has been budgeted for the additions, however, the prospect of any laid off deputies returning to Jefferson County appears to be slim.
Major Scott Burge of the Sheriff's Department reported that the four most-recently laid off deputies now have other employment.
"Letters will be sent to them on Dec. 2, but they all have other jobs with other departments," Burge told the committee. "By the time we get tests completed, and classes in April you're probably looking at late April before anyone would be able to be brought on board."
Laird questioned the county's financial situation, offering, "I don't know how we can afford it right now."
During his update on county finances, Treasurer Dan Knox said the county has a $167,067 balance in the General Corporate Fund with monthly claims of $60,589 to be approved at the full board meeting on Monday.
With the county drawing nearer to the close of the fiscal year, he was asked if the county would be in financially good shape at the end.
"We're close, but obviously we'll make payroll and pay bills as allowed," he said. Knox added there about $70,000 in back claims from about two months ago and all of last month's demand claims.
Knox updated the county on a condemnation fund recently located by county officials. He and State's Attorney Doug Hoffman investigated if the fund could be transferred to the General Corporate Fund. Hoffman said neither the funds or interest "can't be touched." He indicated it is also the Attorney General's opinion the county can not spend the money — it essentially is an escrow account the county is holding for imminent domain claims.
IN OTHER BUSINESS:
n A $20 fee from court fees will be earmarked for CASA — Court Appointed Special Advocates. Executive Director Becky Whisenhunt made the request on behalf of the organization, and was supported by Hoffman and Burge.
n The county renewed its membership in the Illinois Association of County Boards and the United Counties Council of Illinois.
n The 2013-14 budget received final approval in committee; as well as the 2013-14 proposed levies.
n An ordinance was tentatively approved for an impound fee on vehicles. Burge requested the $100 fee to help reduce expenses offset by manpower hours when deputies impound vehicles. Burge said a similar ordinance has been adopted for the city of Mt. Vernon for the MVPD.