Massac County commissioners heard Tuesday morning from visitors Jerry Boney, of Metropolis, and Steve Hogg, of Pope County, who gave a presentation regarding House Bill 101, which is before the Illinois General Assembly. The bill, Hogg said, calls for counties to separate from Cook County.

As Hogg explained, this was the same process the state of Virginia used in 1862, when West Virginia was formed.

"Everyone is fed up with laws forced through Springfield," said Hogg.

"Something needs to be done," said Boney, who said all they are asking is the non-binding referendum question be placed on the November ballot.

According to Hogg, Pope County has passed it and in two weeks, Hardin County will decide on allowing the question on their ballot. He told the board the first step is allowing the voters to decide on the issue, and that would allow for counties to communicate about how to move forward.

Hogg left information with the board, County Clerk Hailey Miles and a packet for Commission Chair Jayson Farmer, who was absent from the meeting. Commissioner Jeff Brugger said he and Commissioner Jerel Childers will discuss the issue with Farmer, and the board will have it on next week's agenda for a vote.

Massac County Treasurer Jody Haverkamp brought the weekly financial report, which indicated a county general fund balance of $98,226, but also mentioned there is around $40,000 in medical bills, which will need to be paid.

Joe Matesevac, Massac County highway engineer, told the board he had some "good news regarding the bridge on Hickory Hill Road. He told the board the railroad company has said its intent is to repair the wood on the bridge to the point where the road could be re-opened.

However, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has told Matesevac, a structural engineer would have to sign off on plans by the railroad and would have to be approved by IDOT. Matesevac said it is a good sign the railroad is not ignoring the situation.

He also mentioned another bridge on Unionville Road -- near the Pope County line -- which has a 10-ton weight limit on it, he will have to begin working on replacing it soon.

In other business, the board:

• Re-appointed three people to the Massac Memorial Hospital District Board for four-year term: Paul Henry, Carolyn Wills and Dr. Bharat Patel. The board also appointed three people for three-year terms: Ted Holder, Thomas Reed and Joe Elliott.

At last week's commissioners meeting, following a short closed session, Massac County's commissioners accepted another donation from Banterra Bank at its meeting on Dec. 31.

The commissioners unanimously agreed to accept the donation of the property at 810 Market Street, formerly the building that housed Lange Chiropractic and Title Professionals.

As a part of the agreement, the board would have to keep the property for three years. The donation is valued at $95,000.

Farmer said Banterra had contacted the county wanting to donate the building hoping it would be another useful asset to the county. He said the county has utilized the former bank building as the courthouse annex and hopes the county will be able to use this building. "We're thankful for Banterra and their generosity to the county," said Farmer.

The board also:

• Signed claim forms for Massac Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Horn, who also discussed with the board about moving the mass casualty trailer and the Ford pick up truck from the city fire department to the fenced in county owned property next to fire department.

• Received the list of unpaid bills from the sheriff's department from Sheriff Chad Kaylor, who also told the board he is working on a total number of tickets written in 2019 and thinks it should be around 7000.

• Signed claims for Matesevac.

• And, approved a motion made by Childers to accept the resolution with Massac County Trustees and the City of Metropolis concerning a parcel of land located in the 800 block of West 11th Street. The county trustees owned the parcel and the city of Metropolis purchased it for $818.

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