County Board Hears Annual Reports, Reviews Zoning Cases And Approves Sexual Harassment Ordinance
By Alex Haglund
The Washington County Board’s first regular meeting for 2018, held on the evening of Tuesday, January 9, was a brief one, with a few reports given to the board by other office-holders, a pair of zoning cases reviewed, and a sexual harassment prohibition ordinance passed at the behest of the state.
County Clerk Nancy Heseman told the board that her department had been a pretty hectic place lately.
“We’re busy in the office, gearing up for the election, and for the end of the year too,” Heseman said.
Coroner Mark Styninger and State’s Attorney Dan Bronke both gave reports for 2017, with Bronke giving his verbally and Styninger’s report given to the board members by Heseman. The figures from both reports were in the January 17, 2018 edition of The Nashville News.
Bronke also gave his report for the previous month, stating that, “all-in-all, December is a pretty slow month.”
For December, Bronke reported that his department received $1,034 for the general fund, $56.25 for the drug prevention fund, $341 for the automation fund and no forfeited funds received.
Sheriff Danny Bradac’s report was delivered to the board as well, and it was reported that the jail is currently housing 12 federal inmates and nine county inmates.
Board member Victor Shubert presented the month’s ambulance department report.
Shubert said that the department’s new ambulance had been received, saying, “we just got it into service last week.”
For Zoning, the first case heard by the board was a special use permit for Jayne Reuter, in order to build a facility to board and groom animals near the Reuters’ residence. The facility would have 20 runs, heated concrete floors, and the dogs would be kept inside at night to keep noise down.
No opposition was presented at the meeting of the zoning board of appeals. The Reuters had stated that they spoke to their neighbors and received no opposition, and zoning department administrator Rick Greten polled the neighbors for the same result.
The board of appeals and the zoning committee both unanimously voted to recommend that the permit be allowed. The county board also voted to approve the special use permit. All board members present voted in favor with the exception of Dennis Shemonic who voted against.
The other zoning case brought before the board was a zoning map amendment, rezoning 3.1 acres from Agricultural to R1 Rural Residential for Alex Rossel. There was no opposition at the meeting of the board of appeals, there are are other residences in the area, and there are also no livestock issues with the amendment.
The zoning board of appeals and the zoning committee voted to recommend that the amendment be passed. The county board concurred and unanimously approved the rezoning.
For the highway department, County Engineer Mitch Burdick presented no resolutions to the board.
Burdick did say that the bid opening for Motor Fuel Tax aggregate purchases would be happening shortly after the board meeting.
“After the bid is approved,” Burdick said, “we do have a couple of projects that we’ll want to move on. As weather permits.”
The board did approve a sexual harassment prohibition ordinance, brought to the board by board member Eric Brammeier on behalf of the board’s legislative committee.
Brammeier told the rest of the board that the ordinance came at the behest of the state of Illinois and was drafted by UCCI, the county organization that Washington County is part of.
Board members expressed questions about the ordinance, since sexual harassment is already prohibited.
Brammeier stated that the new ordinance also asks for acknowledgement forms to be distributed to and signed by all county employees, both full and part time, including County Board members.
Department heads will likely be getting their employees to sign the forms initially, with new employees asked to sign the forms when they fill out their initial employment paperwork.
The board approved an agreement between the Southwestern Illinois Metropolitan and Regional Planning Commission.
The commission helps the county and other entities like it with long term plans and strategic statements. Linda Tragresser of the Planning Commission works with Washington County and is present at most meetings of the county board.
The board also approved two reappointments presented by Shubert on behalf of the personnel and appointments committee.
First, Cathy Sieving was reappointed to the county mental health board.
Second, Burdick was reappointed to the Southwestern Illinois Planning Commission.