Rock Island County Governance, Health, and Administration Committee met April 10.
Here is the minutes provided by the Committee:
1) Call to order and roll call
Committee members present: Mia Mayberry, Pat Moreno, Kim Callaway-Thompson, Mike Steffen, Drue Mielke, Scott Terry (arrived at 10:03 a.m.), Cecilia O’Brien (via phone)
Committee members absent: Ron Oelke
Others present: Kenneth Maranda, Hayleigh Covella, Walter Braud, Lo Milani, Bill Long, Ed Langdon, Dewayne Cremeens, Dick Fisher, Amy Davis, Valerie Lanberry, Dick Phillips, Jodie McCullough, Diane Baker, Darren Hart, Karen Kinney, Richard Brunk, Jerry Clyde, Amanda VanDaele, Louisa Ewert, Tammy Muerhoff, Virgil Mayberry, Nita Ludwig, Janet Hill
2) Public hearing for 5311/DOAP program and 2017 Rolling Stock Capital Assistance Application
Ms. Mayberry stated that this is essentially a pass through grant that the county helps administer that provides rural transportation assistance in Rock Island County. She explained there will be a public hearing. She will call for that for each item.
Ms. Mayberry declared the public hearing for the purpose of considering a project for which financial assistance is being sought from the Illinois Department of Transportation to be open. Publication of such hearing did occur on March 23, 2017 in the Rock Island Argus/Daily Dispatch, being a newspaper of general circulation in the County.
The only order of business is to conduct a Public Hearing as provided by 5311 Rural/Down State Operating Assistance Grant requirements. Rock Island County is requesting a continuation of the 5311 Non-Metro Operating Assistance & Downstate Operating Assistance (DOAP) and the award of a Consolidated Vehicle Procurement (CVP) 2017 Rolling Stock Capital Assistance Grant. The grants will allow continuation in providing public transportation services to residents of Rock Island County.
Ms. Mayberry noted that she will make three calls to the public if anyone wishes to address the public hearing.
Ms. Mayberry made a first call for anyone wishing to address the public hearing. Ms. Mayberry made a second call. Ms. Mayberry made a third and final call. She asked to let the record state that she has made three calls to the public with regard to the 5311 Rural/Down State Operating Assistance grant and that all those wishing to address the Board have had the opportunity to do so.
Ms. Mayberry declared the hearing closed.
Ms. Mayberry noted that the committee will now have a public hearing for the CVP 2017 Rolling Stock Capital Assistance Grant.
Chair Mayberry declared the Public Hearing for the purpose of considering a project for which financial assistance is being sought from the Illinois Department of Transportation to be open. Publication of such hearing did occur on March 23, 2017 in the Rock Island Argus/Daily Dispatch, being a newspaper of general circulation in the County.
The only order of business is to conduct a Public Hearing as provided by Consolidated Vehicle Procurement (CVP) 2017 Rolling Stock Capital Assistance Grant requirements. Project NOW is requesting the award of a Consolidated Vehicle Procurement (CVP) 2017 Rolling Stock Capital Assistance Grant. The grants will allow continuation in providing public transportation services to residents of Rock Island County.
Ms. Mayberry noted that she will make three calls to the public if anyone wishes to address the public hearing.
Ms. Mayberry made a first call for anyone wishing to address the public hearing. She made a second call. She made a third and final call. Ms. Mayberry asked to let the record state that she made three calls to the public with regard to the Consolidated Vehicle Procurement (CVP) 2017 Rolling Stock Capital Assistance Grant and that all those wishing to address the Board have had an opportunity to do so.
Ms. Mayberry declared the hearing closed. She noted that they will vote on that further down on the agenda.
3) Public comments
There were no public comments.
Mr. Terry is present.
Governance, Health, and Administration Committee
4) Approval of minutes from the March 13, 2017 meeting
Motion to approve: Mike Steffen
2nd: Kim Callaway-Thompson
5) Reports to the committee
Ms. Kinney noted that her office survived the election. She brought an unofficial results page that everyone can look at if they have any questions as to who won what. She assumes they have all the answers to those questions by now, but just in case. They had a few close races and aren’t sure how that will end up until next Tuesday, when they’ll have two election judges come in and open up the late absentee envelopes and count those. Anything that was received in her office by election night midnight will be counted. There’s no way of knowing until that date. Next Thursday, they will certify the ballot and will know more and if there were any challenges or anything. Hopefully there are not.
Mr. Steffen asked if that will be at 9:30 on the 18th. Ms. Kinney explained that 8:00 on the 18th for the count when the two judges sent down. At 10:00 on the 20th is when they will certify. She believes she was still unsure of the time when she told him, but they finally set it.
Ms. Kinney provided her vital report. She noted that vitals are looking good. Totals are on an upward swing, which is great news for the county in these struggling times.
Ms. Ludwig noted that she wanted to come and give another update. She has been updating the committee for the last few months about the women’s health program in particular. As many members know, they have had financial difficulties at the Health Department for quite some time, especially in light of the state’s budget situation. Really, women’s health doesn’t necessarily have to do with the state budget situation. It is more to do with the grant being severely cut in the last three years. This year they didn’t have the grant amount until December and it was cut again. The Board of Health’s finance committee had promised to review that again. They did that in January. Ms. Ludwig reminded the committee that she came in February to discuss how things are going. The recommendation of the finance committee is to discontinue family planning. The Heath Department will still have the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Grant.
Ms. Ludwig noted that the decision has not been made yet. Last Thursday was the Board of Health meeting. They voted to make a final decision in May. If they make that final decision in May, then the grant basically runs until the end of the grant year. The grant year ends on June 30, 2017.
Ms. Mayberry noted that the Health Department won’t have the Family Planning and asked what they will still have. Ms. Ludwig said Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening. There’s a lot of case management for women who need the diagnostic screening for breast and cervical cancer. They wouldn’t get it at the Health Department. They would likely get it at another provider’s office, but the case manager will still be there.
Ms. Ludwig noted that she has shared information on lots of things in the past such as mumps outbreaks, flu season, emergency preparedness exercises, and all sorts of public health things. They are always in contact with Mr. Ross, Ms. Palmer, and Ms. Ewert down here. That really has not changed.
In the Family Planning situation, there would be one person laid off if that happens: the nurse midwife. She’s the provider and is the only one in that job classification. Other staff that currently work in Family Planning would all still have positions within the Health Department. There are other providers in the area that could take those patients, such as Community Health Care, school health links can serve the teenage population, and Planned Parenthood across the river.
Ms. Ludwig noted that she’s just giving an update. Ultimately, the decision lies with the Board of Health.
Ms. Ludwig added that April is Public Health Month. They have put out a press release about all the other vital programs they do at the Health Department.
Ms. Callaway-Thompson asked if they have ascertained whether or not the services that will be going away will be covered elsewhere in the county. Ms. Ludwig said yes. The Health Department will still do STD clinics. Their provider said he’ll do males and females. In the past he’s done males through the infectious disease program. There’s also a project that does females as well. For birth control or family planning services, there is Community Health Care and the school health links. There are private providers if they have insurance coverage. They can go across the river to Planned Parenthood. Ms. Callaway-Thompson asked if there have been efforts to make the public aware or if they have conferred with the other agencies. Ms. Ludwig said they absolutely have conferred. Henry County Health Department has a family planning program and may choose to apply for the FY18 grant and help service Rock Island County women. That’s really a decision by the Illinois Department of Public Health. As far as notifying anyone, they’ve had a little bit of media attention these last few weeks. The final decision hasn’t been made by the Board of Health yet. Once that happens, they’ll put out press releases, notify clients, post on the website, and all of that.
Ms. Mayberry asked when that decision will be made. Ms. Ludwig said at the May Board of Health meeting on May 4.
Mr. Terry noted that he heard Ms. Ludwig say a decision hasn’t been made by the Board of Health yet. He asked what the Board of Health is doing for this last month. He presumes the Board of Health would prefer to save the program. He asked what steps are being taken for the last 30 days to save this vital program. Ms. Ludwig explained that the Board has tabled this a couple of times now. Efforts that have been made over last few months have been.they go to several health fairs, have a health educator, and several more were planned for this grant even. They take information on every program they do, from WIC to preparedness, everything. That would still happen. There are fliers out in targeted locations throughout the county. Family planning staff put those together. She commends them for doing that. They do have it highlighted on the website. They do postings when they can on Facebook. That’s trickier. It doesn’t get out to as many people, but it is occurring. They do have the LED sign out front that talks about women’s health services and insurance coverage. They continue to work on trying to get as much insurance coverage as they can to attract more private coverage people. They have learned over the past few months that if people have private insurance they’re likely not coming to the Health Department; they are likely going to a private provider, but they are advertising that they can take them. The Health Department has 12 contracts it can take. It takes a long time to get insurance contracts, from six months to a year. They continue to work on that. They are double and triple booking appointments to get as many clients in as possible. They do have the electronic health records system, which is vital to billing insurances and recouping as much as they can. They still work outstanding claims for insurance.
Mr. Steffen asked, if they had an influx of money from a wealthy donor, how much money it would take to continue the program. Ms. Ludwig said they would take it, she can say that. Currently the program is projected to be in the red this year by $138,000. That’s just breaking even, which is all they really try to do in public health. They don’t try to turn a profit in any way. They just need to cover the cost of the program. The grant now is only $95,900. It doesn’t cover the cost of staff or operating supplies to continue the program.
Mr. Terry noted that when he attended the Board of Health meeting, it seemed there was quite a bit of concern. They had feedback from clients on services from other providers, such as Community Health. He asked if they have gotten feedback as term of timeliness of appointments from the sources Ms. Ludwig had spoken of earlier. Ms. Ludwig said she has heard it both ways. She has heard people say that it’s difficult to get into these other locations, but they had someone call as a client and they could get in within a week. If Henry County is able to pick up the Rock Island County women, that could be a very timely service as well. That’s all up to IDPH to decide who gets the next grant.
Ms. Callaway-Thompson asked if they would be referring to the Henry County Health Department. Ms. Ludwig explained that the talk with Henry County is they might be able to send a nurse practitioner to the Rock Island County Health Department building a couple days a week to see them at this location or in their Colona office. It depends on what happens with the grant. Many entities may apply in the next fiscal year. IDPH will make that decision. Rock Island County Health doesn’t really have a say in who gets that.
Ms. Kinney noted that she saw on the news that the Health Department is having an open house. She asked if that is for the entire month of April or just this week or what. Ms. Ludwig said it’s just tomorrow for Public Health Month. They’ll have management staff available if anyone wants to come and tour and see all the other programs. A lot of people don’t understand the different things they have at the Health Department and what they do. They like the opportunity to really explain what they do. Ms. Kinney said thank you and it’s a wonderful idea. Mr. Terry asked for the times. Ms. Ludwig said from 1:00-4:00.
Mr. Mielke said he’s glad Ms. Ludwig mentioned the project. He’s hoping that helps some of the gap. He appreciates the role they have with the organization. Ms. Ludwig explained that they like to collaborate with local partners on anything they do, such as preparedness, environmental health, anything they do. They know there is a need to collaborate with others to get services to citizens.
Ms. Mayberry called for other reports. There were none.
6) Resolution authorizing execution and amendment of section 5311 grant agreement
Ms. Mayberry explained that Items 6, 7, and 8 refer back to the public hearing. These will be to approve the required paperwork so Project NOW can apply for the grant. The County Board approves this every year and the County Administrator recommends approval.
Mr. Terry asked if they can pass them all at once. Ms. Mayberry said they can take them together.
Motion to approve Items 6, 7, and 8: Scott Terry
2nd: Pat Moreno, Mike Steffen
7) Ordinance to provide for public transportation in Rock Island County, IL
Item 7 was approved as part of Item 6.
8) Consider acceptance of the Special Warranty
Item 8 was approved as part of Item 6.
9) Consider revised Liquor Control Resolution
Ms. Mayberry explained that this item is an amendment to the existing Liquor Control Resolution. She said she would highlight some changes, but the whole thing was in the packet. Some changes include adding a classification of farmers markets so anyone with a brewery or winery can sell packaged liquor at farmers markets. They changed the age at which people are allowed at a bar or bar that serves food. If the bar also serves food, anyone under the age of 21 must leave the establishment by 10:00 p.m. seven days a week. In order to be in the bar at any time, a person under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. They added guidelines for people under 21 who work at a bar that serves food. They can prepare food, serve food, provide entertainment, or do maintenance work, but cannot handle alcohol. They are prohibited from being in the establishment after 10:00 p.m. There are updated references to state statutes and new parts about gambling. The language is at the direction of the County Board Chairman with the State’s Attorney’s Office’s approval.
Mr. Mielke said he thought the current was until 10:00 for food establishments. Mr. Maranda said nope. Mr. Mielke asked what it was. Mr. Maranda said it was wide open. If they serve food.they had a few problems. Mr. Mielke said he thought that was the current. He’s definitely on board for changing that. Mr. Maranda said there were a few age differences, so they really cleaned it up and really made it a little tougher. Mr. Mielke said he thinks his confusion is the villages. Mr. Maranda said this is not for the cities or Milan or Coal Valley. Mr. Mielke said he made the assumption that the county was similar. Mr. Maranda said no. They’ve had a couple issues and cleaned the language up to reflect those issues.
Ms. Callaway-Thompson said she’s not sure if this should be directed at the committee chair or the Chairman or who actually reviewed the ordinance. She said she would respectfully ask that they consider tabling this. As someone who has worked in the field on youth substance abuse prevention for the past 15 years, after she looked at this there are just a lot of glaring issues that she would, if she had the opportunity, take the time with her colleagues to review this more and make some recommendations to this committee.
Ms. Callaway-Thompson noted that she also spoke briefly with the Regional Office of Education. The County Board collaborates with a local drug free coalition that was started through the Regional Office of Education. There are other partners in the county, including the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Coroner’s Office. She thinks that in collaboration with them, it would be a good idea to review this and make some recommendations. For instance, there’s Alcohol Sales and Service Training that should probably be mentioned and addressed. They probably need to talk to some partners in the community, in the business community, in the youth sector, and certainly the Rock Island County drug free coalition. She said they may even want to speak to this at the next meeting. Ms. Callaway-Thompson noted that most of the work she and her colleagues do happens in school buildings, but with school being out next month this would be a great summertime project for them. If they table it until next month, she will probably ask to table it again because it would be a great project to look at over the summer and bring back some recommendations.
Ms. Mayberry asked if that’s a motion. Ms. Callaway Thompson said yes.
Motion to table until next month: Kim Callaway-Thompson
2nd: Pat Moreno
Mr. Maranda noted that the training and everything for bartenders is covered by state statute. Ms. Callaway-Thompson agreed but she noted that it wouldn’t hurt to list it in the local ordinance. They can talk about that.
Mr. Terry said he would join in the effort to postpone for one month. His only concern is the employee who is under 21 and has to be out of the establishment by 10:00 as well. He’s kind of concerned about how that will affect some of the rural places. Last time he checked, he thinks McDonalds has kids working until 11:00 or midnight. He’s a parent and he doesn’t know if he’s okay with that.They don’t have alcohol, but if they let them work where there’s alcohol before 10:00, what’s the difference? It’s almost like a curfew. He’s not sure if that’s their position. Ms. Callaway-Thompson agreed. She noted that they have to consider that there could very well be a 20 year old working for an establishment like that living on their own and trying to make ends meet. Now they have to be out of the establishment by 10:00. That may very well cost them their job or stop someone from obtaining employment at such an establishment.
Mr. Mielke asked where this review took place and who performed it. Ms. Mayberry said the State’s Attorney’s Office. Mr. Maranda said absolutely and the Sheriff. Issues from the Sheriff’s Department prompted this. Mr. Mielke said he just wanted to clarify who.
Ms. Callaway-Thompson asked if she can defer to the Regional Superintendent. She asked if this is something that The Cause has looked at or been apprised of. Ms. Muerhoff said not that she’s aware of. Ms. Callaway-Thompson said it certainly should be.
10) Consider status of the county courthouse
Ms. Mayberry explained that this is an initial discussion about the future of the county courthouse. There are different people here in this room to begin the discussion, including Chief Judge Braud and Dick Fisher from the PBC. She’s sure they all saw the article in the paper last week that they began work on annex. Now they have to figure out where to go from here.
Mr. Ross explained that at some point, once the construction of the annex is complete in give or take a year and a half year, something will need to happen to the existing courthouse. That is ultimately up to the County Board. He asked if it should be deeded to the PBC so they can do whatever they so choose, whether that’s raze it, turn it into green space, or whatever the case may be. He asked if it should be a building that somehow is turned into a taxpaying building with private ownership. Mr. Ross noted that there are challenges associated with getting it to that point. His thoughts are the first floor, not that he’s supportive of anything, would be commercial and subsequent floors would be apartments or condos or whatever. With the location right next to a jail, he’s not sure how great that would be for residential, but they could do commercial on the first floor possibly. Then it comes down to money. That building is not in good shape inside. Plus, if they do commercial, they’ll need to totally gut that thing and build it out, for which they all know the county has no money whatsoever. It could come down to a partnership with the city if they even wanted to do that. They could TIF it. These are a lot of what-ifs. He asked if it is the right thing to turn it into greenspace for now, assuming that of that $28 million for the construction there is money left over to raze it. That’s a general overview. They are early on in this conversation. It’s a good thing that they are starting the conversation to see what the County Board’s desire is.
Judge Braud provided everyone with a copy of the east to west view of the annex as they expect it to be completed. He noted that when the County Board is making its very tough decisions, he just wants them to keep in mind and have a view of what it will look like as they come off the bridge. This whole thing is about what it looks like coming off the bridge. They put a lot of extra time and effort into it and crammed it into the $28 million to get something that will be a striking presence so that when people come to Rock Island, they don’t see what they see now. They are going to see something that is lovely and makes a statement. There is clearly space for something where the courthouse stands, whether it’s the courthouse, another building, or greenspace. Judge Braud noted that he doesn’t have a copy of plans where it was greenspace with some kind of sculpture, but you come off the bridge and look to the right and it’s just beautiful.
With this, for all of the County Board members here, Judge Braud noted that he doesn’t want to forget to say thank you. It’s been two years since they made their vote and it’s bearing out. He wanted to give them a little bit of the schedule. Bids are coming in. They have had the first set of bids already. The second set is coming in later this month. The third will come in May. After that, they really can’t change anything. As a matter of fact, they probably can’t change anything now because the architects have done all their work in getting it ready. They are stuck where they are. Mr. Braud noted that he knows the County Board will make good decisions; they’re making good decisions, but if they can’t find a way forward, in other words to repair the courthouse or do something good, then the PBC may have enough money to factor into the $28 million to tear the courthouse down. That’s all they factored in. That’s something that the County Board would be able to do because the PBC has factored that in. It may turn out when the bids are in that it doesn’t come out as well as they hoped, but that’s the way it sits presently.
Judge Braud noted that there are some real challenges to keeping it as a courthouse. He believes they’re insurmountable, but that’s just his opinion. If the County Board comes to a conclusion that the courthouse is a lovely thing and ought to be saved and they can find the $15-20 million it would take to do it, he’s fine with it.
Judge Braud thanked everybody again for the vote. The community, Rock Island County, the city, everybody, does a good job. Judge Braud said he loves this place.
Ms. Mayberry asked if Judge Braud is saying that if they do decide to tear it down with the money left over, they’d have to make that decision by May when the next bids come in. Judge Braud said no. He’d say by the end of the year.
Mr. Moreno asked if Judge Braud is saying that if it’s over what he thinks it will be, there will not be enough money to tear it down. Judge Braud confirmed. Mr. Moreno asked if they’ll know that by the end of the year. Judge Braud said yes.
Mr. Terry thanked Judge Braud for his passion and leadership on this project. Without him, they would not be here today. Generally, he’ like to express a little frustration. He doesn’t like reading on the front page what the County Board will likely do when they’ve had no discussion as a County Board. Some of that he doesn’t think was malice or bad intent, but hopefully it’s a learning experience for everyone. He appreciates Judge Braud bringing this to them now. It sounds like they need to get on the ball discussing what to do. He’s hoping that under the Chairman’s leadership, they’ll put together some sort of sub-committee or commission. They need to hammer this out whether they partner with the PBC or whatever. By the end of the year, they need to let the PBC know out of courtesy to them whether they’ll deed this over or not. Mr. Terry thanked everyone for coming to speak to them.
Judge Braud said he will know probably by July whether they have enough money. He can tell the committee it’s roughly a half a million dollars. He’ll know by July where the bids have come in and if it’s at a rate where, in anticipation of other problems, they’ve got that. He believes and the PBC Chairman believes that they’ll be okay. Certainly there’s nothing he would have to do to change anything before early winter/December.
Mr. Mielke said he’s glad they’re talking about this now. It’s been hanging out there. He knows they really didn’t have figures for what it will take to demolish it until now. He doesn’t know if his constituents will be on board with him voting, and he knows they’re not voting now, to give up control over the future courthouse. He doesn’t know if they know the view or the will of the public on the building itself. That is his deep concern: the public needs to know that he’s reluctant to give up control over the decision they expect the County Board to make ultimately. Maybe the PBC would be a way to do that, he’s not saying that. He’s just very hesitant.
Judge Braud noted that the only reason that they would deed the property to the PBC is because it will be abandoned when they make the move. They anticipate the move being made in November or December of 2018. That’s the only purpose. Mr. Mielke said it’s an option. Judge Braud explained that the PBC would have to have authority to tear it down because it’s not their building. Mr. Mielke asked for confirmation that if they were to deed it to the PBC, it would be for sole purpose of demolition. Judge Braud confirmed. If the County Board arrives at a conclusion as a group in their official duties that the only way to go is to give it to the PBC to take care of, they can give it to the PBC. Mr. Mielke said they would definitely need to look into this in some kind of exploratory way.
Ms. Mayberry said she would think that would only come into play if the county doesn’t have enough money to do it themselves. Judge Braud said absolutely.
Mr. Steffen noted that, firstly, at this time he’s not ready to give up the deed to the courthouse. He noted that Judge Braud said he’d have a better idea of the bids in July. He asked how they will handle overbids if they cost more money than the bids. Judge Braud said they hired a construction manager. If they come in over bid, it’s his problem not theirs.
Mr. Fisher noted that there are three phases to this construction. The first phase has been bid and approved. It’s already half a million dollars under, so hopefully it stays in line with that. There’s no guarantee for it. Gil Bane is the construction manager. DLR is the architect firm. They are great to work with. Every move they make and dollar they spend runs by the PBC and Judge Braud. They know everything that goes on. The security fences are up. The parking lot is vacated.
Bids will go out on April 28 for the second phase for walls, windows, and those kinds of things. The final phase is the interior architecture. That is all due back in mid-June. They will know by mid-June what the costs will be. Right now, it’s looking really good. Mr. Fisher hopes there will be enough money left over to demo the building, but there’s no guarantee. It’s not their building now. The easiest way to do it if it comes to that is to quitclaim the building to the PBC and they’ll take care of it. Under the PBC law, they have the right to do that. The county has already quitclaimed a couple of lots to them over the last year that the county bought prior to that in foreclosure sales. They deeded them to the PBC and the PBC used it for parking lots. Those are done. Right now, they are trying to bore under 15th Street and across 3rd Avenue to bring power from this building across the street. They’re on the fast track. What the county decides to do with the courthouse, they’ll work with the county on it. There would be a great cost savings if they deed the courthouse over to the PBC because of the steam lines and electrical lines that go under that parking lot and feed the courthouse now. They’ll look at that at the time, but they are on the fast track.
Ms. Mayberry noted that she’s not saying she’s for or against deeding this to the PBC. They’re not there yet in the decision making process. She asked if there’s any way it could be drafted where the county has some sort of say as to what happens to the land after they deed it over. Mr. Fisher said they could discuss it, but once it’s deeded over to the PBC, the PBC is responsible for it. If there’s a building on there, PBC is responsible for the building. If it’s parking lot, PBC is responsible for the parking lot. If it’s greenspace, they’re responsible for that too. They worked on it for a short period of time with the City of Rock Island when they discussed partnering with them and a development company out east to develop 3rd Avenue. That went by the wayside.
Mr. Terry thanked Mr. Fisher for his leadership and the time he has spent on this. He said he’d like to add to what he, Mr. Mielke, and Mr. Steffen touched on. Mr. Terry noted that he appreciates Mr. Fisher’s highlight and this really might be best way to go if the County Board decides to demolish it. They don’t have money to do it themselves. He’s just trying to reemphasize that this is also the people’s building and the people care about it. A lot of folks are into historical preservation in Rock Island County. He knows this because after the news story, he got a couple of emails asking what they’re doing tearing down the courthouse. That shows that people care about this issue. The County Board is responsible right now for stepping up to the plate. It’s not PBC’s responsibility, so they should be perhaps having some town halls in their districts and inviting PBC folks to come talk about what they’re doing. They need to get the public’s input on this. That’s all he is trying to stress.
Ms. Callaway-Thompson said she doesn’t think she could have said it better. She concurs with that. It’s exactly what she was going to say. It would behoove the County Board to wrap up discussions amongst themselves and possibly host some meetings. Ms. Mayberry said maybe they can have a special County Board meeting of some sort between now and then where the public can come with their comments.
Mr. Mielke noted that the PBC is the best venue for building buildings that the state provided for in counties. He does want to remind everyone that Rock Island County’s PBC has never been expanded, even though they had a court ruling allowing them to build the annex to the jail which has courtrooms. That was a good solution, but the public input part is critical. They didn’t get public input to do that. He gets calls asking when the public voted to do the $28 million. They didn’t. In sticking up for his residents, he’s very hesitant. They haven’t expanded the powers of the PBC. Now they’re potentially using the PBC, not that it’s a bad idea, to tear down the courthouse. They need to make sure to do it the right way. Public input is critical and they need to make sure it’s still within the purview and current scope of the PBC and that they don’t circumvent the public’s will. That’s where they get in with other groups. They still have to have money to do it, but they need to the public’s voices first. Mr. Maranda said to tell them to bring their pocket books. They deny everything. Mr. Mielke noted that they elected the County Board to make these decisions and he reports to them. Mr. Maranda said absolutely, but when they start throwing fits tell them to bring their wallets.
Mr. Fisher said he’s not a building contractor or an engineer, but he had 42 years in the Sheriff’s office. He lived in that courthouse. He worked for eight sheriffs. That courthouse is in disrepair. Mr. Mielke and Ms. Mayberry said they all know that. Mr. Fisher noted that many people, construction companies, tell them what this means. They have to start from the bottom up and take it all down.
Mr. Brunk said, to clarify, that a few minutes ago Mr. Fisher said there’s history as far as the county deeding over properties to the PBC for its purposes. If the County Board ultimately were to make that decision with the courthouse, it’s not charting new waters. That’s been allowed under state law. Mr. Fisher confirmed. He noted that one property was quitclaimed last month. The State’s Attorney wrote the quitclaim and it was approved by the PBC and the PBC took it over.
Ms. Mayberry said, having heard everyone’s input and concerns, maybe in July at the full County Board meeting they can have a public hearing and confer with constituents between now and then. They’re sure to get a lot of calls and emails on this, which is a good thing. They want to hear from constituents. It’s their courthouse too.
Motion to have the County Administrator set up a public hearing for July: Drue Mielke
2nd: Kim Callaway-Thompson
Judge Braud noted that any information the County Board needs about the condition of the building or cost of repair, they’ve done all that. They don’t need to remake the wheel. He asked them to just let him know what they need. He can provide them with it. They’ve swam down this stream already and determined ahead of time whether they could retrofit the courthouse or turn it into something else, offices, etc. The dollars are monumental because it’s an 1896 building.
Mr. Langdon asked if they should come directly to Judge Braud for information. Judge Braud said Mr. Fisher. Mr. Fisher said or the Sheriff’s office. He has a lot of background.
Mr. Maranda added that the PBC has a meeting every month. County Board members can attend it. That’s his recommendation: if they’ve got questions about this, go to PBC. Mr. Mielke asked when those are. Mr. Fisher said the second Thursday of the month at 3:30, right here.
Ms. Mayberry thanked Judge Braud and Mr. Fisher for coming. She noted that this is a fluid situation, so if they feel the need to come back and talk to them, please do.
Mr. Maranda said, not to go back, but Diane Baker has not been here since they changed the format of the reports and she’s been waiting to be called on. Mr. Maranda explained to Ms. Baker that she just needs to let Ms. Mayberry know if she has a report so she knows to call on her.
Ms. Baker apologized. She introduced herself. She’s with the University of Illinois Extension office. She just rotates in and out of here occasionally. She has the pleasure of working with the 4-H program, primarily with metro and military kids. She wanted to highlight what a few of the kids have done recently.
They have three 4-H kids who were selected to represent Illinois at the National 4-H Healthy Living Summit back in February. Two were from Rock Island and one was from Moline. They went as a team to that summit. The most surprising thing for her, she went as their chaperone, and what was disturbing was the amount of mental health concerns that kids have and the pressure from social media. It was really startling. What they talked about even just a couple years ago was physical health and nutrition. Now that’s all shifted to social, emotional, and mental health issues. That’s always important to have on the radar screen. Those teens have come back and will do a Healthy Living Kickoff and a series of events for kids in middle and high school about what do when they’re stressed, such as yoga, mindfulness, hiking, or healthy eating. Pet therapy came up and they’re looking at working with a shelter on that. They will show some possibilities to build in stress relievers at an early age knowing that every kid will have to learn to cope with stress differently.
The second area they have is three teams on is the state 4-H Youth Leadership Team. There are 22 kids from across the state who represent 4-H. Three are Rock Island County 4-Hers, which she’s excited about. The newest member from Rock Island is a junior at Rock Island High School. She is serving her first term. She just spent a week in Washington, D.C. as part of a national 4-H conference. She had an amazing experience. She called Ms. Baker and said it was absolutely life changing. That’s all she knows at this point. She had the opportunity to have a really good visit with Rep. Cheri Bustos and she is looking forward to some things following up in Rock Island County as part of that.
They also have two kids on the state 4-H Illini Summer Academy Planning Committee. They are doing overall coordination for the state. The Illini Summer Academy is open to all teens. It’s five days at the University of Illinois living in the dorms. They choose from about sixteen different academies, including chemistry, molecular and cellular biology, creative writing. There are all kinds of topics to give the kids insight into what college is like. Registration goes through the end of this month.
The Teens as Teachers program is going very strongly. They have 40 teens who have been in training throughout the school year this year. They are ready for summer to get here. They will do Illinois Junior Chef at about 15 different sites throughout the summer. They partner with day camps in the metro Quad Cities area and teach kids basic cooking skills and healthy living. It’s teens teaching younger kids, so they get job experience, volunteer experience, etc. About 300 kids participate in that program over the course of the summer. A few also do farm-to-table to teach about Midwest agriculture. They are doing that a little differently this year. This time, they’ll take kids places. Instead of the Extension coming to the kids, they’ll spend a day at the fairgrounds, a day at WIU for ag engineering and ag technology, a day at Blackhawk State Historic Site, and one more place that’s slipping her mind, then the final day at a farm and the Mercer County Fair. That’s all targeted at metro kids to get them out and understanding agriculture and all the careers in agriculture that may be possible career paths for them.
The Teen Hunger Ambassadors program continues to go well.
It’s Month of the Military Child this month. They have a couple of activities specifically for military kids. They also have a military kids’ camp coming up in July. That one is military specific.
Ms. Baker left some newsletters and brochures for the committee members to share.
Mr. Steffen asked if they got a good turnout for the pork chop dinner. Ms. Baker said they did. A couple County Board members were there. She appreciates them being there. That was a fundraiser for the foundation. They’re a private sponsor.
Ms. Callaway-Thompson asked if the newsletter is electronic and if it’s on their website. Ms. Baker said that’s a good question and she’ll have to check. They do have weekly email blasts. County Board members should all be receiving those. That information is in there. Ms. Callaway-Thompson said she just wants to know where to refer someone.
Ms. Lanberry asked if there are activities for adults. Ms. Baker explained that the rest of the Extension program is for adults. She works specifically with the youth program, but they have lots of adult programs in nutrition and healthy living. Kirsten Bogdonas is the educator. Russell Medley does community and economic development. Marcus Smith does horticulture. Those are the big areas.
Mr. Mayberry noted that he and Mr. Maranda have known Ms. Baker for many years. They served on that board. Ms. Baker works 24/7 with kids and the community. He thanked her for the work she does all the time. She’s making sure these children in the community grow up to be positive adults. Ms. Baker thanked everyone for their support to make that happen.
11) Consider partnership with the Regional Office of Education for daycare at Hope Creek
Ms. Mayberry noted that the county is starting to think outside the box as far as strategies to improve operations at Hope Creek. They have Ms. Muerhoff from the ROE and Mr. Ross here to talk about Item 11.
Mr. Ross said his discussion will be brief then he’ll segue to Ms. Muerhoff. He and Ms. Muerhoff met a couple of weeks ago and were talking about things that could benefit the ROE and Hope Creek. One concept is having all day childcare at Hope Creek. There are a lot of potential benefits that could derive from that. He will let Ms. Muerhoff talk about those. They also talked about initial concerns they have and can work through. At this point, the discussion is whether or not the ROE should apply for a grant to allow this to happen. They still have to work out the details of exactly where the space would be and payment back and forth to cover utilities and things like that. They can work that out. At this point, unless the committee and County Board say please move ahead with the grant, they don’t want to waste anyone’s time with that if it’s not something the County Board might be interested in. Mr. Ross noted that in the agenda are links to a couple of news articles. Ms. Muerhoff said she also provided copies. Mr. Ross said it’s all conceptually very interesting. It intrigues him.
Ms. Muerhoff explained that the ROE has provided pre-kindergarten services, now known as Preschool for All, since the 2003-2004 fiscal year. When they began that program, they applied for state grant funds through the Childhood Block Grant. At that time, the ROE felt that they were very innovative because they worked directly with childcare providers. They inquired whether school districts were interested, but they were all at capacity for serving children and had no additional space. They in turn reached out to local childcare providers. Overwhelmingly local providers said yes. They were interested. Since that time, they have served thousands of children. Currently they serve 31 classrooms of 20 children per classroom. A licensed teacher goes into one class and then goes to another in the afternoon. They serve two classrooms per day.
Ms. Muerhoff explained that the reason she approached Mr. Ross is they are looking at next fiscal year’s application. Up until about a week ago, they were told the application for next year would be competitive. That is not going to be the case. It’s going to be pushed back to FY19 essentially. However, even having said that, she started researching this intergenerational preschool program concept about a month or so ago and found it very intriguing. In her work here in the county and working with the County Board and knowing that they have this valuable resource in the community of Hope Creek Care Center, she thought, “Why not ask? It can’t hurt to ask.”
Ms. Muerhoff noted that she did inquire with one of their consultants at the Illinois State Board of Education to determine if there are any other programs exploring this model. They were not aware of any other program throughout the state utilizing Early Childhood Block Grants to provide preschool programming within a care center. That intrigued her. She thought, “Let’s be highly innovative in Rock Island County if at all possible and collaborate and pool resources to provide programming for a group of 20 children ages 3-5 in a care center.”
Ms. Muerhoff noted that in the packet, she shared a few benefits both for children and adults. This program provides an opportunity for the enhancement of socioemotional wellbeing among both the children and the adults. It enhances the opportunities for the children to learn from the older adults and vice versa. The resources on the back of her report, the committee is welcome to view. There are some videos and so forth. They’re quick snippets three to five minutes in length that share how it has worked in other programs in other states. There’s actually a program in the Seattle, Washington area that has been providing intergenerational preschool programming for over 20 years. Ms. Muerhoff intends to contact them and ask how they did it and gain insight into how it may work successfully.
The concept behind the program she’s proposing is to serve 20 children ages 3-5. For the overall preschool program, the finite details need to be established and worked out, but overall it would run roughly from 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. There would be, in collaboration with another childcare provider in the community, the option for full day child care outside the hours of the preschool program. The preschool program itself would be state funded by the Early Childhood Block Grant, so that portion of the program would be free to parents. If they needed care outside of those hours, there would be the potential with the childcare portion that they might be eligible for the childcare assistance program or a sliding fee scale.
In talking to Mr. Ross, they toured Hope Creek to see if there’s viable space. No decisions were made. They thought that there might be some opportunity there for the staff of Hope Creek to partake in the childcare services. In turn, perhaps it would reduce absenteeism. They all know as parents that if your child is ill, sometimes you have no option other than to stay at home and miss a day of work. This might be an opportunity to reduce absenteeism if someone doesn’t have childcare available. The child care option would be in addition to preschool programming. A licensed teacher would be provided as well as a licensed care professional, so two adults. That’s one adult per 10 children. There would be programming throughout the day.
Ms. Muerhoff explained that her overall thought, though no finite details have been determined, is to have at least one time throughout the day for the residents or individuals at Hope Creek to interact with the children. They’d collaborate with the Activities Director to determine what that would look like. It may be a painting activity, or reading books and having some opportunity to interact throughout the day.
Ms. Mayberry said it’s a very interesting idea conceptually. She’s glad they’re having this discussion and that she and Mr. Ross have been collaborating on this. She noted that Ms. Muerhoff mentioned possibly making it so Hope Creek employees could possibly have daycare through this and asked if that’s in addition to the 20 or if 20 is the cap no matter what. Ms. Muerhoff explained that 20 is the cap based on licensing requirements by DCFS. Ms. Vogt shared that many shifts are 6:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. They could, in collaboration with a childcare provider, provide maybe 5:30 or 5:45 a.m. so parents have time to get their children settled in and have enough time to get to work on time.
Mr. Mielke noted that he wanted to say how exciting this is. Ms. Muerhoff said thank you; she’s really passionate about it. Mr. Mielke said he was blessed to have four grandparents and to be raised by them when his parents were at work. He’d stay with one set or another. He doesn’t know if every child has that intergenerational connection. It gives a whole different perspective. It’s a circle of life thing. The nuclear family has disconnected young children from the generations. He thinks they underestimate the power of that in development. This is a great possibility to combine services. It’s really something he wants to pursue and look into how viable it is.
Mr. Steffen said he too likes it very much. He asked if the teacher salary is paid from a grant and if they would not be a county employee. Ms. Muerhoff said they’d be an ROE employee. Ms. Mayberry asked if no Hope Creek employees would be working there and if it’s completely separate. Ms. Muerhoff said that’s correct.
Ms. Callaway-Thompson concurred with her colleagues. She and Mr. Ross have had some discussions about this. She was originally scheduled to attend one of the meetings but couldn’t make it. She likes the idea and hearing that Seattle has a model that’s been in place for 20 years. She likes that they could be trailblazers here in Illinois and would like to support the motion.
Motion to approve: Kim Callaway-Thompson
2nd: Drue Mielke
12) Consider resolution to certify elected official’s participation in IMRF
Ms. Mayberry explained that this is a resolution to reaffirm that Elected Official officeholders who participate in IMRF meet the annual hour requirement. It has been recommended by Mr. Ross.
Motion to approve: Mike Steffen
2nd: Pat Moreno
13) Consider PBC Indemnification Agreement
Ms. Mayberry explained that this is a request from the State’s Attorney’s Office to approve an indemnification agreement for the PBC. The State’s Attorney recommends approval. Mr. Ross has confirmed that there are no upfront costs for the county in this agreement.
Motion to approve: Pat Moreno
2nd: Mike Steffen
14) Consider Rock Island County newsletter
Ms. Mayberry noted that the committee discussed what this would look like conceptually. What they have now is what is set to go out. She thinks this is a fantastic way to get information out to the public and constituents. Ms. Mayberry commended Mr. Ross and Ms. Covella for putting this together and the Department Heads and Elected Officials who put content in here that will be very helpful to the residents of the county.
Mr. Terry said he thinks it’s great. Any newsletter is better than what they have now. He’s 100% on board. He asked if they can find space to put the County Board members and their emails to click on and it can pop up to send an email to a Board member. That’s something he hears a lot that people don’t know who their Board members are. He understands it’s on the website, but they see that a lot of times with newsletters. He asked if they can find a way to put that in. Ms. Mayberry asked if space is an issue at this point. Mr. Ross said it’s technically unlimited. Mr. Mielke noted that if it’s a.pdf on line, the newsletter he does is as big or small as it needs to be. Mr. Terry said then if someone reads something in the newsletter, they can click and send an email just like that.
Ms. Callaway-Thompson asked if the link to the newsletter will be on the homepage. Mr. Ross said yes. He will bring this to the committee every month for comments and concerns. Then the Committee of the Whole can weigh in. if there aren’t any concerns at Committee of the Whole, then it will be published online.
Mr. Steffen noted that even though Mr. Ross’s name is not on here, he considers him the editor because he’s fed the information, then he and Ms. Covella put it together. Mr. Ross confirmed. Mr. Mielke said that’s a good point and maybe there should be a contact person. Ms. Mayberry said there’s an email address on the back. Mr. Ross said it’s just the County Board generic email. Mr. Mielke said that’s better than nothing.
Mr. Ross said they’ll implement Mr. Terry’s recommendation in a future issue.
Motion to approve: Mike Steffen
2nd: Scott Terry, Kim Callaway-Thompson
15) Review of pending/proposed state legislation & policy matters affecting Rock Island County
Ms. Mayberry noted that in the packet is the March edition of the Illinois Association of County Board Members newsletter. That highlights different things going on at the state and some bills. She asked the committee to take a look at that and noted that they are still working on the short-term and long-term list. She asked everyone to keep an eye out for anything that should be included from this or anywhere else and bring it to committee or let Mr. Ross know.
Mr. Mielke noted that he was at Henry County’s Executive Board meeting on Saturday. One thing that came out of their meeting is they are recommending passing on to their legislators a recall vote mechanism for any Elected Official in Illinois. He wanted to make the committee aware of that. He’s not a proponent of it at all, but he wanted to mention that they are initiating that state legislation to allow a recall of any Elected Officials. Ms. Mayberry asked if Mr. Mielke could expand on that a little bit. Mr. Mielke explained that this was in reaction to a County Board member that someone from the public had asked to resign. Unless an Elected Official has broken a law, they cannot compel an Elected Official to resign. They can ask for their resignation, but there is no mechanism to force them to resign. That’s where this comes from.
Mr. Terry said he wanted to put this out there. He went to the Board of Health meeting last week and got some information regarding the whole family planning program. He would love to entertain writing up a short general letter of support because they themselves support the program and want it to continue. One thing Ms. Ludwig didn’t mention is if they get rid of this program, even if the state allows it to go to Henry County, it’s likely a program Rock Island County will never get back once it’s gone. He’d entertain a general letter of support before they meet next month making it clear the county is behind the Board of Health. Mr. Maranda asked Mr. Terry to clarify that. Mr. Terry said a letter of support to the state legislature. Mr. Maranda said no, they can’t do it. They have a board. He’s not going to overstep that Bard. Mr. Terry said it’s a letter of support of the Board of Health and they can send a letter to anyone for anything. It is in their power to send a letter of support. Mr. Maranda said they have their own board up there. He understands. He thinks the County Board would be stepping on the Board of Health’s toes up there. If they want a letter of support sent out, they can send it out.
Mr. Terry said the County Board still represents folks living in Rock Island County. If they think it’s an important program, he doesn’t see the harm in sending a letter saying it is an important program and the County Board supports finding funding. It’s not that it’s the county’s program; it’s just that they recognize it’s an important program for its constituents.
Mr. Langdon said he sits on that Board of Health. They have tried everything. They have explored other options trying to get money and the grant money is not coming in. All this gridlock going on down in Springfield is affecting the county’s Health Department. They are not getting the grant money coming in. He asked what Mr. Terry wants them to do. Mr. Terry asked Mr. Langdon why they made a motion to table it and said it’s because they feel there’s hope. All he is saying is keep fighting for the people they represent. He doesn’t see any harm in it. Mr. Langdon said if he can come up with something, great. Mr. Terry asked if Mr. Langdon wouldn’t encourage a letter of support from the county saying the support the Board of Health. Mr. Langdon said if Mr. Terry has any ideas, let them know.
Ms. Mayberry said she understands where Mr. Terry and Mr. Maranda both are coming from, but it’s not on the agenda so there’s nothing to take action on this month.
16) Committee member opportunity for brief comments (no decisions will be made)
Ms. Mayberry thanked everyone who attended. She noted that there are lots of positive things going on in Rock Island County that were highlighted at today’s meeting. She thanked everyone for their dedication.
Meeting adjourned at 11:17 a.m. by Chair Mia Mayberry