Rock Island County Committee of the Whole met June 13.
Rock Island County Committee of the Whole met June 13.
Here is the minutes provided by the Committee:
The Finance and Personnel Committee of the Rock Island County Board met at the above date and time in the Conference Room of the Administration Office on the second floor of the County Building, 1504 Third Ave, Rock Island, IL. Chair Richard Brunk called the meeting to order at 8:31 a.m. Minutes as follows:
1) Call to order and roll call
Committee members present: Richard Brunk, Scott Noyd, Dewayne Cremeens, Don Johnston, Ginny Shelton, Kai Swanson, Brian Vyncke
Committee members absent: Rod Simmer
Others present: Kenneth Maranda, Dave Ross, Hayleigh Covella, Mike Steffen, April Palmer, Bill Long, Larry Wilson, Joan Russell, Jerry Clyde, Louisa Ewert, DeAnne Bloomberg, Darren Hart
2) Public Comments
There were no public comments.
3) Approval of minutes from the May 9, 2017 meeting
Motion to approve: Brian Vyncke
2nd: Kai Swanson
4) Reports to the committee
Treasurer Ms. Ewert provided her supplemental sales tax report. She noted that at the end of last week she received the March sales tax of $374,138.82. She noted that it’s actually a little inflated and she’s not really sure why. Looking at the three year comparison, it’s a little bit higher. She has no idea why it’s that high.
Ms. Ewert noted that she doesn’t know if Mr. Ross has told the County Board or not, but the county has gotten two letters from the Illinois Department of Revenue saying that there was an erroneous reporting so the county is going to have to owe some money back to the state. One of the amounts was $31,579.36 in local sales tax. They were going to start taking that out starting July 1 or for the July reimbursement. That is eight payments of $3,510 and a final payment of $3,499, so nine payments. The other amount was $126,970.34 in county sales tax for an erroneous reporting. They were going to start taking that out each month for five payments of $21,162 and a final payment of $21,160.34. The state also told her that due to confidentiality provisions, they were unable to disclose any additional information. She called them and she and Ms. Alberts talked to a guy down there and he basically told them it was a major retailer who had erroneously put something in their system so they overpaid. It affected not every county in the state, but it affected the city of Moline. She’s thinking it’s property in Moline, maybe at South Park. Mr. Swanson said if it affected almost every county, it’s probably Walmart. Ms. Ewert said it did not affect every county. It was actually just a few. She had an email out to all the Treasurers in the state when she got this letter to see who else had gotten one. There were probably only about three or four, so it’s not everyone. She’s thinking it was something like Dillard’s or something. It affected some municipalities in that jurisdiction as well. That’s the bad news. She doesn’t know why this month’s tax is inflated, but she supposes that six months down the line they’ll tell her.
Ms. Ewert noted that the committee also has her monthly report. As they know, the interest rate has increased. Back in March it was 0.35%. Then it went to 0.45%. Now it’s at 0.9%. That’s reflected in the current year interest for May. The county received $16,251 as opposed to $7,548 a year ago. It has more than doubled. She was hoping it would increase but now they’re predicting that they’re probably not going to increase the interest rate this next quarter. She hopes that in the future it will go up as they move toward the end of the year. Mr. Johnston asked what funds get that interest rate on. Ms. Ewert said all funds. Mr. Johnston asked if those are coming through the bank. Ms. Ewert said yes.
Ms. Ewert noted that on the monthly report, she has always said to make sure to pay attention to the letter because that tells what the interest rate currently is and also tells what outstanding loans the county has. At the end of May, Hope Creek had to borrow an additional $250,000 basically to make the bond payment. The General Fund currently has loans outstanding of $2.312 million. Hope Creek has a Tax Anticipation Warrant at American Bank of $1.75 million. Liability Insurance is still at $500,000. Ms. Ewert noted that she has already worked up a payment schedule.
Ms. Ewert reported that Rock Island County had the first installment due date on June 8, which was last Thursday. They are getting all the payments keyed in that they’ve gotten in the mail. Everyone procrastinates and her office is still processing those. They are going to have the first distribution on June 22. That was purposely moved up. It wasn’t scheduled until the following Tuesday. They are purposely distributing on Thursday to help with the next payroll voucher. Ms. Ewert has gotten the payback schedule. As soon as the county starts getting distributions, it needs to start paying back all of these loans. The General Fund is going to pay off their deferred payments from EHB. Liability is going to pay off the entire $500,000. Hope Creek is also going to pay back their loans as well. The loan payback schedule is based on a percentage of the distribution. The first distribution is about 33% of what the county will get in taxes. That’s how the distribution is scheduled. That way she’s not taking all of the money from the first distribution. She is spreading it out. It’s going to be rough on Hope Creek because they are so behind on some of their bills. At the same time, most of their tax money goes back to paying off their loans and the interest. They are hurting more than any other funds that are in jeopardy.
Mr. Johnston said he talked to Representative Halpin about the calculation for the replacement tax since they don’t seem to be able to find out. He’s willing to help. Someone just needs to call him. He asked if anyone has talked to Rep. Halpin. Mr. Ross said he tried. He reached out to his office and sent an email and letter. He was told they’d be in touch with him. He believes Ms. Ewert has gotten ahold of him. Ms. Ewert noted that she doesn’t even know if they’ve started payback on it. She thinks it was something that was up in the air, some legislation. Mr. Johnston said for not having to pay it back, yeah. Ms. Ewert said that was one of the bills. Mr. Maranda noted that his staff couldn’t get an answer either when he talked to Dawn. Ms. Ewert noted that she did contact the Illinois Department of Revenue and got one more month’s worth of Probation Officer salary which was about $96,000. That was about two months ago. See tape. Type another letter and contact people. Mr. Maranda said he thought the county had August’s payment. Ms. Ewert said she just got august. They are still behind by close to 10 months. Those are supposed to be monthly. Mr. Ross noted that they are $84,000 or $87,000 usually. Ms. Ewert said last month was $96,000. Mr. Ross noted that the county has to float them a loan. The county has to borrow to cover the money that the state isn’t paying and pay the interest on it.
Ms. Palmer noted that her office is trying to pick up and assist with payroll and is very busy with that. Hopefully everything is going smoothly. They did crank out the first one that she was in charge of last Friday. They’re busy right now and trying to understand how those processes work.
Ms. Palmer noted that her office is moving into year-end for grants due to the state’s year-end being June 30. That’s always a big deal. They are gearing up for new grant years to start and old grant years to close down. Lots of information and reporting requirements flow through the office at this time especially.
Ms. Palmer added that the Forest Preserve’s year-end comes up soon and her office will be starting on that audit now that they have the county audit completely done.
Ms. Palmer noted that that is just general stuff her office is focusing on. She is hopefully going to be able to assist with cleaning out the attic further and getting approval from the state to get rid of a lot of records. She found out that the last time the Auditor’s office got rid of records was 1976. There are a lot of records she needs to go through and clean out and get rid of in the proper fashion.
Ms. Palmer noted that due to payroll, she probably will not be able to crank out second quarterly paragraph write-ups but she will have all her reports that satisfy her report to the County Board monthly. State statute says she only has to report quarterly, but she feels that monthly is much more important and timely information is vital to the County Board.
Mr. Johnston noted that last month Ms. Palmer mentioned she had collected $1,200 for Judge Braud’s lounge. He asked how much has been collected at this point. Ms. Palmer said that as far as she knows, that was it. Mr. Johnston asked who that money came from. Ms. Palmer said various law firms that she had nothing to do with. She recorded the money in a separate line item so it’s completely separate from county funds as a donation. Mr. Johnston asked if she can supply this committee with the names of law firms that contributed and how much. Ms. Palmer said yes. She’ll work with the Treasurer’s Office to see what the receipt said.
Mr. Steffen asked if Ms. Palmer could give the committee an idea of the cash on hand this morning. Ms. Palmer said she didn’t look it up this morning or last night. Mr. Steffen asked if she’d have it Wednesday night. Ms. Palmer said she will give it to the Committee of the Whole tomorrow night.
Mr. Brunk noted that this is Mr. Clyde’s final appearance before this committee. He is getting ready to retire at the end of this week. Mr. Clyde said the terminology is not correct. Mr. Ross noted that Mr. Clyde is being laid off.
Mr. Clyde provided his monthly report. The only thing he wanted to point out is that in April and March there were huge medical expenses for an injury that was sustained. Those have now dropped off. It’s getting back into what he hopes is a normal month for work comp claims.
Mr. Clyde noted that one of the things he is very proud of in talking about work comp is the fact that the whole County Board was very supportive when the county decided to go and bring in a third party administrator. Rock Island County is going into the start of its third year on that now. He thinks that is paying off. He is not aware of any new huge claims for settlements that have arisen from any claim that has been sustained since they came on board. The efforts they’re putting in, along with having Company Nurse in place, will show benefits to the county going forward. He’s very proud of that. He’s also very proud that he has been able to serve all of the County Board members and employees at the county for the past few years. If he could request, he’d like to have a few minutes to address the whole County Board tomorrow night. He will refrain from saying anything more until then. Mr. Maranda said he’s on the agenda. Mr. Ross confirmed.
Mr. Johnston noted that in the past, the county has had some problems tracking settlements and disbursements. He asked if that depended on hiring that one company or if things have gotten to a place where the State’s Attorney’s Office could come together. Mr. Clyde said the State’s Attorney’s Office sends over all the settlements and that’s tracked on the report sheet for what’s paid off. Mr. Johnston said then Rock Island County won’t have problems like it did in the past. Mr. Clyde said he doesn’t think so. It was more of a miscommunication and misunderstanding between several parties. He thinks that’s all straightened out now and doesn’t foresee any future problems.
Mr. Steffen noted that last month he wrote down that Mr. Clyde said there’d be no new hires, yet he sees jobs posted. Mr. Steffen asked if those are all replacements. Mr. Clyde said yes. There is no new hiring. Those are strictly replacements.
Board of Review:
Ms. Russell said she doesn’t know whether it’s been announced, but June 30 will be her last day working for Rock Island County. She wants to express her appreciation. She has very much enjoyed her almost 20 years here. She’ll miss everyone. There was group applause.
5) Annual report from the Chief County Assessor
Mr. Wilson explained that every year, his office always sends out a lot of information to all the taxing districts, including Rock Island County. This is the first year he has assembled this into one report for the County Board. In there, it goes through and explains.Page 2 on there is just a summary of what happens, the townships his office goes to, and how many exemptions are being completed with the seniors. These are just the numbers they mail out. The Assessor’s Office mails out about 5,700 new exemptions every year for senior citizens.
Going over to assessors books, every year the assessors are required by state statute to have new assessments to Mr. Wilson’s office by June 15. That’s coming up. Prior to that, there’s a little confusion that’s been going on. He usually only gives the County Board the final equalization factors. To have a final, they need a projected tentative. In the assessor books section, there’s a column that says “Projected Factor” and “Factor Applied.” Projected is what he gave to the township assessors prior to them receiving the books. The Factor Applied is what is applied after they turn in the books. His office had some issues, or lot of concerns, from Rural Township this year. Mr. Wilson’s projected was 1.08. After the assessors turned in their books, that increased to 1.10. That was kind of a big deal for the Rural Township folks.
Mr. Wilson noted that he’s required to do mailings. This report shows the date of mailing, the date he published in the paper, and the final date to file an appeal is 30 days later. Then it lists the Board of Review’s number of appeals per township and some other information.
Mr. Wilson continued that page three is the distribution of the equalized assessed value by property class. That’s got all the townships and the number of parcels that are residential, commercial, industrial, farm, etc., and finally a township recap of each.
Mr. Wilson explained that something his office started tracking is when they started coming up with PTEL he thought he’d have to start tracking new construction because new construction under PTEL, he’d be able to tax it.
The next section is where the report starts getting into the fun part: property tax relief. Mr. Wilson directed the committee’s attention to general homestead. This is the taxable amount that is removed every year. They can’t tax it. General homestead is usually the owner occupied exemption. There are also home improvement exemptions so if people are improving with that then that increase of assessed value is decreased each year for four years so they don’t have to pay taxes on it.
Page 11 shows how many senior citizens the county has. In 2010, there were 11,900 senior applicants in the county. In 2016 there were 13,107. For the senior citizen freeze exemption, that count in 2010 was 6,807. It is now at 5,773, so that went down. People are earning more than $55,000 a year on their retirement and so are not getting that. Mr. Wilson noted that if the legislators do increase it to a $65,000 household income, that number probably will go up.
Mr. Vyncke asked if that is something they’re proposing and if there is a bill. Mr. Wilson explained that there’s a bill every year. Any time they talk property tax relief, that’s an issue. Seniors are an attractive bunch of people for legislators because they are actively voting.
Mr. Wilson continued that returning veterans was a new exemption created in 2011. They also have veterans with disabilities. That is different than the veterans with disabilities homestead exemption. This one is when the federal government actually pays to modify someone’s home because of their disability. There are only a couple of those in the county. Disabled veterans started in 2011 also, but in 2015 they changed the statute. There are many more veterans receiving total exemptions now. Early on, there were 1.7 million disabled veterans in 2015. That was increased to reducing over $10 million of assessed value. In 2016, it was $13.5 million is no longer being taxed because disabled veterans are now receiving total property tax exemptions.
Non-homestead exemptions are applications to be exempt from property taxation that the Board of Review does. That has the number of exemptions they receive on an annual basis.
Mr. Wilson explained that the first page of the report is the assessment distribution. That’s not tax distribution; it’s assessment distribution. For assessment, 64% of residents are paying property taxes based off of residences; 4% farm; 21% commercial; 11% industrial.
Mr. Swanson said he has question about page 16 of the report. It has to do with the TIF deductible. The figure in lower right corner is $196 million and considerable change. Mr. Swanson asked if that is the amount that’s taken out of the taxable base. Mr. Wilson said yes. Mr. Ross added that it’s the increased valuation over and above the base value. It was at $197 million but a small one just closed. Mr. Swanson asked if that is valuation in the county that is not being taxed. Mr. Ross said it is, but none of the taxing jurisdictions get it. It goes into the TIF district and they decide how to use it.
Mr. Johnston asked if there are more TIFs in Moline than Blackhawk. Mr. Swanson said Blackhawk is first, Moline is second, and Hampton is third.
Mr. Ross explained that someday 40 years from now, that $197 million will come to tax rolls. Ms. Shelton said they’ll move out of town before then. Mr. Wilson explained that most TIFs are set to expire in 2023. It would be a good idea for the GHA Committee to watch what the legislators do and if they will allow them to extend. The best thing to do is make them start all over again. Then all that value becomes the base. Again, that’s just the situation his office has to track and work at it. There’s a resolution coming on. They do a lot of work on TIFs in his office and the Treasurer’s Office and the Clerk’s Office.
Mr. Johnston said he is glad Mr. Wilson produced this because Hinrichs has convinced him that he makes more. Mr. Wilson explained that Rock Island County is a township form of government, so the actual valuation procedure is completed by the township assessors.
Mr. Steffen asked if the disabled veterans number is included in the 5,700 new exemptions each year. Mr. Wilson said those are just the numbers for each exemption. Mr. Steffen asked if the disabled vets are not in there. Mr. Wilson confirmed.
Mr. Steffen noted that Mr. Wilson used the adjective “new” on the 5,700 and asked if they have to reapply every year. Mr. Wilson said yes. Mr. Steffen asked what happens if they don’t reapply and if that number goes down much or increases over the years. Mr. Wilson said he would have to see which one Mr. Steffen was talking about. Mr. Steffen said it was right before Mr. Wilson started talking about homestead. Mr. Brunk asked if Mr. Steffen could follow up on that after the meeting. Mr. Steffen said yes.
6) Consider transfers of appropriations
Motion to approve: Ginny Shelton
2nd: Kai Swanson
7) Consider appropriation resolutions for funds
Mr. Brunk explained that most of these are grant and seizure funds with the exception of one position in Building and Zoning for a position that was initially slated to be laid off. Money should have been put back into the budget for the current fiscal year.
Motion to approve: Scott Noyd
2nd: Brian Vyncke
8) Consider claims ($1,533,265.56) and TDs ($2,460,914.01)
Motion to approve: Brian Vyncke
2nd: Ginny Shelton
9) Consider 2017 Equal Employment Opportunity Plan
Mr. Clyde noted that the plan is in the committee packets. He explained that it may be helpful if he stages where this all fits in. In the packets, he has included the county’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy, #100-3. That’s the general policy for the whole county that says the county is going to be fair to everybody regardless of any protected group they may be in. Several of the federal departments, especially the Department of Justice, require that if you receive a grant you have to have an economic opportunity plan that is adopted by the county. There are certain thresholds on it. If you receive grants less than $25,000, you don’t have to have an EEOP. In between $25,000 and $125,000, he believes is the current threshold, you have to have a plan that’s been adopted by the governing body. If you have more than $125,000 in grants, your plan has to be submitted to the Office of Civil Rights and they have to approve it.
Mr. Clyde explained that the Sheriff’s Department has a grant, a pass through type grant, of about $30,000, so that requires that the county do one and one for the Sheriff’s Department specifically that has been adopted by the county. The first one was adopted in July 2015. This plan has to be readopted every two years.
In doing analysis for this, Mr. Clyde took a look at the 2010 census and compared it to the EEO-1 standards by the federal government to see if there are any apparent areas of, the term they use is “underutilization of a protected group.” Mr. Clyde said he is going to refrain from using “underutilize” and say it’s a “deviation from the standard.” In the last year, it’s come to light that now the Office of Civil Rights has introduced a new requirement for anyone who has a grants over $25,000 that you have to conduct and submit a utilization report to the Office of Civil Rights. That has to be submitted once a year. Mr. Clyde included in the packet the revised EEOP plan that he is going to ask the committee to consider and pass on to the County Board for approval. Also in there is the utilization report that he has now submitted. Mr. Clyde said the Sheriff did theirs and the question may come up, “Why does there have to be one for the county?” The Department of Justice, in talking to people at the Office of Civil Rights, requires that even though the Sheriff submitted theirs separately and it was a great report, they are part of the county so Rock Island County has to submit a utilization report. Mr. Clyde included that at the end of the report.
Mr. Clyde noted that if anyone wants him to go through it in depth he will, but he will just point out what deviations the county has. He noted that the committee is going to be surprised. He thinks Rock Island County is doing a great job. There are four categories Rock Island County has deviations in: technicians, protected services nonsworn (jailers), administrative support, and service and maintenance. Of those four categories, white males deviated the most in three of those categories. Mr. Ross clarified that that means the numbers are too low on white males according to the Department of Justice. Ms. Shelton said that’s amazing. Mr. Clyde explained that they have to take a look at areas where they’re at. It’s mostly at Hope Creek and also in deputies and Correctional Officers. Rock Island County is deficient in Hispanic and Latino employees in the service area. One area where there is a deviation from the standard is in protected services nonsworn, or COs, for white females. That’s historically been a hard area to attract to.
Mr. Swanson asked that Mr. Clyde relay to the Sheriff that when you look at the line item for protected services sworn, there is not a single deviation above 5%. That’s remarkable human resources management. Mr. Swanson said, “Kudos.” On the flip side, for nonsworn, white males are overrepresented by 33%. Obviously that skews toward males, but there is an opportunity to increase diversity. It’s amazing that there’s not a single category above 5%. That’s phenomenal. Mr. Clyde said he thinks the county is doing an excellent job. He is not going to recommend that any new changes of action need to be taken at this time. If the county has the opportunity to attract more CNAs or dietary technicians into that area, that would be wonderful, but it’s not going to happen.
Mr. Clyde requested that the committee pass this report onto full Board for approval.
Motion to approve: Kai Swanson
2nd: Ginny Shelton
10) Consider options for mitigating mold issues in the County office building
Mr. Ross explained that he has had two separate tests done on the county building from two separate companies for mold in the building. Both of them came back showing increased levels of mold over and above what is found in outdoor environments. Depending on what company you talk with depends on the severity of it. Some information Mr. Ross has shows that a total mold count over 500 is high. Others say over 10,000 is high. Long story short in this building, the highest level of mold came from the doorway to his office at 1,300.
Mr. Ross noted that the second report he got from a very good company said they would not recommend complete remediation based on this, but there are things that can be done to help. For the types of mold most prevalent in this building, there is a wide variety of them, 98% of molds were ones that are found outdoors. It’s coming in through vents, windows, and doors; it’s getting tracked in. She said it’s getting trapped in chairs, in carpets, so the county can have a much better cleaning schedule for chairs and carpets. That will help. She recommended HEPA filters or ozone purifiers to clean the air and cleaning the duct work throughout the building. All of that would be helpful. Mr. Ross explained that he said, “Okay, but what if people are allergic? Even though you don’t recommend complete remediation, some employees may be highly allergic.” Mr. Ross noted that he can’t speak for anyone else, but he went and got tested from an allergist/immunologist and is highly allergic to the three molds most prevalent in the building. There are other employees who may be like that. A lot of employees have said they’re sick more here since they’ve been in building than they have been at other times.
That’s somewhat of a moot point at this juncture because unless the county has money to do something, the most the county will be able to do is clean, which is what staff is doing. However, staff went out and looked for initial quotes. If the county building was to replace flooring in the building, it would cost anywhere from $500,000 to just over $1 million for the entire building not taking into account any remediation for the asbestos under the flooring if those tiles break. These are initial quotes. Replacing chairs throughout the building would cost around $9,000 for just replacing the kind that are made of material that’s not easy to wipe down. For purifiers, if the county was to put in commercial ozone generators throughout the building, it would cost $1,400. To get duct work cleaned would be $7,800. The average is $35/vent and the building has 225 vents.
Mr. Cremeens asked about the ozone machines for $1,400. Mr. Ross said that’s for whole building. They are about $70 apiece and the building would need about 20 of them.
Mr. Cremeens noted that some areas are worse than other areas. Mr. Ross said it seemed to fluctuate. The second floor was the worst. He doesn’t know why. That makes no sense to him. The third floor was pretty high in one test and low on another. It was the same in the basement. It was high on the first one and pretty low on the second. The only one that was consistently terrible was this floor.
Mr. Johnston asked if anyone has tested the courthouse or other buildings or facilities in the county. Mr. Ross said he didn’t have them do it. He’s just under control of this building. Knowing the courthouse is winding its way down one way or the other.Mr. Johnston said he was thinking about something like the Health Department. Mr. Ross said they haven’t tested as far as he knows.
Mr. Ross noted that he has reached out to the State’s Attorney to ask if any remediation efforts could be paid for out of the Liability Insurance Fund if the county chooses to remediate and he is still waiting on a response. At this point, this is just an update.
Ms. Shelton noted that cleaning the vents would probably help. Mr. Ross said absolutely. He noted that when they clean the vents, it will push everything on to the floors then they’ll have to clean the floors. There are still things he is looking at are not extremely expensive, but finances are an issue. Other than just cleaning things that don’t cost much money other than cleaning solutions, he is holding off on anything until he finds out more about funds he can use.
11) Consider Agreement between University of Illinois Extension and Rock Island County
Mr. Brunk noted that this agreement is related to their levy amount of $225,000 annually.
Motion to approve: Brian Vyncke
2nd: Ginny Shelton
Mr. Johnston asked why that is different than the other levies and if there’s an agreement for all of them. Mr. Ross said the county does $70,000 for one of the child advocacy groups, $225,000 to the Extension.Mr. Johnston asked if all the county is doing is setting the levy, collecting it, and paying it. Mr. Ross said there’s no difference. The state wants this resolution passed. His understanding is the County Board is still very supportive of the University of Illinois Extension. The state asked for this.
Mr. Maranda asked Ms. Covella when Ms. Garner is coming. Ms. Covella said she’ll be at the County Board meeting. Mr. Maranda said then the County Board will hear how many thousands of kids they help. Ms. Shelton said they have amazing programs. Mr. Swanson noted that they also have free training for County Board members.
Mr. Maranda explained that when this was passed umpteen years ago, it was dollar for dollar. Then the state took 16%. Now he thinks it’s back in the 70s. He can ask Ms. Garner when she gets here. He noted that Ms. Bloomberg is involved quite a bit in this. Ms. Bloomberg said it’s a land grant institution. That’s where it started. It’s been around for decades and has evolved and changed.
12) Consider Board member per diem/mileage report
Motion to approve: Brian Vyncke
2nd: Ginny Shelton, Scott Noyd
13) Committee member opportunity for brief comments (no decisions will be made)
There were no additional comments.
Meeting adjourned at 9:19 a.m. by Chair Richard Brunk.