New resolution for civil, criminal fee schedules

MICHELE LONGWORTH | Metropolis Planet

Employees of Heartland Mechanical Contractors of Murphysboro are busy hoisting one of several AC units on top of the Massac County Courthouse. By Tuesday afternoon, all the units were in place on the roof, thanks to the use of a crane.

Massac County could receive more money thanks to a new Illinois state statute, which will take effect on July 1, or the county might collect less, according to Massac County State's Attorney Josh Stratemeyer.

"We'll have to wait and see how much of a financial impact it has on the county," said Stratemeyer.

According to Stratemeyer the goal of the resolution is intended to create some uniformity in filing fees across the state. He said for various criminal and civil cases, there would be a schedule of filing fees.

He pointed out on one of the fee schedules, $10, would go to the Child Advocacy Center, which the state's attorney's office, Illinois State Police, as well as other law enforcement agencies use the organization quite a bit.

Stratemeyer said currently a speeding ticket for 1 to 20 miles over the speed limit is $120 but, when the new statute goes into effect, the cost will go up to $164. The commissioners unanimously approved the resolution.

The commissioners heard from Massac County Highway Department employee Kevin Foss regarding issues he has had in getting some of his outstanding medical bills paid. He showed the commissioners two recent outstanding bills, one for over $200 and another for $179, with the date of service for one of the bills dating back to December 2018.

Foss said he has been working with Massac County Treasurer Jody Haverkamp, who was at the meeting, but he said, "It's not getting very far very fast." Haverkamp said the county is still paying on some December medical bills. Later, when Haverkamp was before the board, she said she has been working proactively with Foss regarding his situation.

She reported the general fund balance at $101,484, but noted there is over $45,000 of insurance bills to pay, not including another $5700 payment to Script Care, which needs to be paid.

According to Haverkamp there should be around $80,242.21 of state money transferred to Massac County at some point Tuesday, adding more money to the general fund. But, Haverkamp pointed out payroll is next week.

Haverkamp also told the commissioners Massac County is scheduled to be audited by the Illinois Department of Employment Securities on Tuesday, July 9, at 9:30 a.m.

Farmer asked Haverkamp about an interest payment for $32,801, which was due June 1 to Commerce Trust for the courthouse renovation loan. Haverkamp reported the payment was made before the due date and was paid from the general fund.

Farmer had wanted Haverkamp to use money from the liability fund to pay the bill and when real estate property tax money comes in, the county would reimburse the fund.

According to Farmer, he had spoken to Auditor Jeff Stroder, who said in his opinion, if the county were to pay the bill from a different fund, as long as it was documented, it would not be a finding on the county's annual audit.

Haverkamp said she had spoken to Kristy Stephenson, Massac County assistant state's attorney, who said she is still researching restricted funds. Stephenson said when she finds out more information she would confer with Haverkamp, Statemeyer and Farmer.

The only item Massac County Highway Engineer Joe Matesevac spoke to the board about was a property owner's request for the highway department to make improvements to Travis Lane and cut down a tree. Matesevac explained the property owned by Earl Schmidt is land locked, and Schmidt received an easement through a court proceeding.

The road is six tenths of a mile long and it is a county road district road. However, the tree is about six to eight feet in diameter and is a unique chestnut or oak. Matesevac says the highway department has never dealt with a tree that big and complicating matters more is he is uncertain how much of the tree is actually on the county right of way.

According to Matesevac the tree is not in danger of falling and is not rotten. He said it is likely over 200 years old. He told the commissioners the department could try to smooth out the road and put gravel down, but if the department attempted to cut down the tree, "It would take weeks to haul off."

Massac County Sheriff's Office Investigator Chad Kaylor told the commissioners the detention center is full with around 42 inmates and have faced some issues on where to put inmates.

He gave a heads up to the board about an upcoming payroll regarding Deputy J.D. Haverkamp, who will soon retire. His last day is June 30. After having worked for approximately 38 years, Kaylor said the county will owe Haverkamp about $41,000, which is for sick, personal and comp time he has accumulated over the years. He said tentatively the amount would be on the first payroll in July.

Kaylor said the crossover on Interstate 24, over Country Club Road, has begun and Massac County sheriff's deputies are on the interstate patrolling. He said in 10 hours, 49 citations were written for speed and they were all written for speeding 20 miles or more over the speed limit.

Kaylor also reported the Massac County Sheriff's Office will be working with the company in charge of demolishing the old Dam 52 at Brookport. He said they will be blasting a little bit every day at noon, and the sheriff's office will assist by blocking the Brookport boat ramp.

He said the company will start work when the water level falls below the dam, which is estimated to be either at the end of June or the first part of July.

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