EDITOR’S NOTE: This is Report to the People No. 16 by Madison County Board District 3 representative Philip W. Chapman.
To aid with government transparency, I provide this Report to the People.
Senior tax exemptions: Many seniors express fears that spiraling taxes will make it impossible for them to hold onto their beloved homes. There are two senior citizen exemptions that might help you. First, the PTAX Application for Senior Citizens Exemption (PTAX Form 320) provides possible savings for seniors owning their home or having a legal equitable interest in a residence or who had a life care contract with a facility under the Life Care Facility Act. Your name must be on the property title and you must be 65 years or older as of Jan. 1, 2017, to apply. The second opportunity is the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Form (PTAX 340 Form), which allows seniors 65 or older to have their home’s assessed equalized value at base year value and prevent or limit any increase because of inflation. However, your household income must be $55,000 or less. The last day to apply for this exemption is July 31, so you might wish to get started now. If you desire a PTAX 320 or 340 Form or have a question, call (618) 692-6270 (County Assessor’s Office) for additional information.
Transportation Committee, April 12: I moved the following resolutions be approved: Seller Road (CH 52) Section 90-001600FP, 2017 County MFT Maintenance Road Oil Material Proposal, Environmental Covenant, Parcel No. 07-1-11-32-00-000-010 Former Nike SL 10 Launch Area, Right of Way Acquisition Seller Road, Section 90-00166-00FP, Purchase of Yellow – White Marking Paint, Jurisdictional Transfer Governors Parkway (CH75), purchase of good, used John Deere excavator. The committee voted unanimously for these resolutions.
Finance Committee/facilities management issue: In an effort to save money and streamline services in the Facilities Department, County Board Member Don Moore (Troy) and I met with newly hired Director Rob Schmidt to discuss proposed changes. It appears that the following malfunctioning aspects of the current system Mr. Schmidt inherited need overhaul: job descriptions, evaluations, personnel monitoring, work order system (work order forms and tracking system), and preventive maintenance. Cost-effective asbestos removal issues remain. A more efficient system would assist with better jail maintenance. Cost-cutting linked with more effective management would lead to a more effective system and provide sufficient numbers of personnel. For example, outsourcing of lawn mowing would save the county $107,000 of cost annually while freeing county personnel to address the current backlog of approximately 270 work orders, allowing for repair and for preventive maintenance.
Tax Cycle Committee, April 11: Treasurer Chris Slusser and I arranged for Joseph Meyer and Associates to address the committee to explain tax sales. Meyer and Associates generate approximately $130,000 in receipts annually while taking all the risk with delinquent properties. They ensure all taxes are paid and help prevent problems associated with dilapidated properties. Now properties are repaired or demolished and returned to the tax rolls. Prior to hiring them, some taxes went unpaid while remaining in poor condition.
Amy Meyer, recorder of deeds, reported the upswing in deeds of conveyance. Madison County real estate figures reveal “more homes are moving” and appreciating in value.
Judiciary Committee: Sheriff John Lakin’s alternative work program has an accumulated value of $21,750 this fiscal year based upon jail cost of $50 per inmate and $12.50 per man hour. The Sheriff’s Department reported it is approximately $123,000 over budget due to unforeseen costs of food and health care due to a high prison population. This is frequently the case in the field of jails and corrections. The alternative work program helps mitigate unnecessary costs.
County reappointments: Chairman Prenzler asked me to contact communities about the following appointments. Grantfork Fire Protection District, Hamel Community Fire Protection District, Prairietown Street Light District, Worden Fire Protection District, and New Douglas Fire Protection District. Folks seem happy with the appointed officials serving them. I look forward to meeting them.
Philip W. Chapman
County Board District 3
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is Report to the People No. 15 from Madison County Board District 3 representative Philip W. Chapman.
Introduction: The purpose of this letter is to provide a report to the people on my efforts as Madison County Board District 3 representative. I hope this report aids with transparency. As you pay me a salary, I think you have a right to know what I’m doing.
New Douglas issues: I met with Town Board member Barbie Basset and Town Clerk Lisa Michnheimer on Monday, April 3, and they provided me a tour of New Douglas. I saw drainage problems on Fifth Street and Main Street (Rockwell Road). Afterward I arranged a meeting with Planning and Development Department Head Matt Brandmeyer on Tuesday, April 4. Mark Gvillo, department head of the transportation, joined us by phone. Afterward, in conjunction with Ms. Basset and Ms. Michnheimer, Brandmeyer arranged for a $15,000 grant which passed the Planning and Development Committee on April 6. In addition, Gvillo toured the Rockwell site the afternoon of April 4 and will provide us and Chairman Kurt Prenzler suggestions as to how Transportation might help. I also arranged a tour and meeting with Ms. Kristen Poshard, department head of Community Development, of New Douglas areas of concern for Thursday, April 14.
Highland issues: I seek ways to find funds for the Highland Senior Citizen Center through the county.
Visit to Hamel and Worden joint fire training: Many thanks to Chief Heideke of Worden and Chief Johnson and Assistant Chief Bloemker of Hamel for their invitation to attend joint fire training on Saturday, April 2. I learned much. I appreciate the professionalism and dedication of the leadership and crews who keep their citizens safe and who made me feel so welcome. I look forward to working with them to keep our community prepared to face disasters. They have briefed me on how I might assist them in making county resources available.
MIC (Model Innovative County): On April 6 and 7, I attended the Model Innovative County meeting at Lewis and Clark (Community) College presented by Ms. Kristen Poshard, head of Community Development, and County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler. Presenters provided information on how to attract jobs to Madison County and to a business-friendly community. I think the presentations will assist me in my decision-making on the Planning and Development Committee, Transportation, and Tax Cycle Committees. In addition, the training may serve to assist me in bringing jobs to Madison County and to District 3.
Philip W. Chapman
County Board District 3