County board: Budget approved

At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the Ogle County Board approved its new 2023 budget and appropriations by a vote of 22-1.

ARPA requests approved

OREGON — At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the Ogle County Board approved its new 2023 budget and appropriations by a vote of 22-1.

The budget has a general fund total of over $17.3 million. The 2022 amended budget general fund total was $16.3 million.

The budget included a 2023-2027 long range capital expense plan. 2023 has plans for demolition and planning for the old Ogle County Jail site ($700,000) and the Judicial Center Annex solar project ($300,000). 2024 has plans for sheriff/maintenance building project ($300,000), county facilities capital projects ($200,000) and contingencies including lighting, HVAC, IT support and renewable energy/solar ($500,000).

The total for the five-year capital expense plan is $4.23 million.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, the board heard concerns from Ogle County Board of Health Chairwoman Carol Hoekstra about funding for her board's allotments.

The allotment for the board of health as listed in 2023 is $56,000. In 2022 that number was $80,000 and in 2021 it was $83,000. It is currently looking to hire a new administrator for the Ogle County Health Department due to the planned departure of current Administrator Kyle Auman.

"As a health board, we won't be able to function with the stipend decrease of $24,000," Hoekstra said. "We're having a hard time currently. We're losing our administrator. We've been going through interviews and have seen trouble finding qualified administrators. At this time, it makes it impossible to attract someone for the job with problems with the budget already. Please reconsider what you have there."

Hoekstra said she believes the health department should be kept in the county and it's handled a difficult few years due to COVID-19 on top of handling its regular duties.

ARPA

The board unanimously approved funding for three projects with American Rescue Plan Act funds in the county that total $88,090.

The first involves cameras for the downtown campus and in parks in Mt. Morris for $25,590. In recent years, the village has seen an increase in crimes including burglary, criminal damage and defacement in those areas.

The Village of Stillman Valley was given $12,500 in matching funds for a stormwater project. The village recently had a drainage study done and purchased two properties to facilitate the addition of green space to the drainage that runs through the entire village. There will be construction of a dry drainage ditch to slow the path of water through town.

The Rochelle Fire Department and Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District were awarded $50,000 for a multi-disciplinary training facility project to serve local and regional public safety personnel. The project's needs include a concrete pad and training structure.

The board also approved ARPA funding for its own human resources department for $350,000 over three years.

Recognition

Board Chairman John Finfrock recognized four members of the board that will be departing including Dorothy Bowers, Greg Sparrow, Bruce McKinney and Lloyd Droege.

Tuesday’s meeting was the last for Bowers, Sparrow, McKinney and Droege. Bowers served on the board for 18 years, mostly as chairwoman of the HEW committee. Sparrow served for 10 years, mostly as chairman of the finance committee. Droege was on the board for four years and served on the committees of road and bridge, personnel and salary and state's attorney. McKinney was on the board for 10 years and on the committees of assessments and planning, road and bridge and personnel and salary.

"These four people have been on the board for a long time," Finfrock said. "We're going to miss every one of them."

Election

Ogle County Clerk Laura Cook thanked her staff for their work during the recent midterm election.

"It was a tough one this time, even though it was just a midterm," Cook said. "There was a lot of voter turnout. We had 60 percent, which is great. I also want to thank the township supervisors and all the election judges and volunteers that helped out. Without their assistance, we couldn't do it."

The board also voted unanimously to raise the compensation for election judges from $100 to $150 going forward.

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