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Gate approved for Animal Control

Lucas Domonousky Breeze-Courier Writer

(TAYLORVILLE) — The Christian County Board met on the second floor of the Christian County Courthouse in Taylorville on Tuesday night and took action to allow the replacement of the entrance gate to an automated one at Christian County Animal Control on South Baughman St. in Taylorville.

The proposal, which has been debated and refined since first being proposed in October of last year, was approved by the Buildings and Grounds Committee last Monday night, but the Finance Committee took no action on the proposal during their meeting which took place a week ago today.

Following Thomas Snyder Jr.’s presentation of the Zoning committee’s report Jeff Nolan asked Board Chairman Bryan Sharp if the Board, Animal Control Director Sherri Craggs and her staff could hold a meeting to “get on the same page.” Sharp mentioned it would have to be placed on the agenda, but then Board member Mike Specha pointed out it was, in fact, on the agenda for the Tuesday night meeting and discussion ensued.

“The Building and Grounds committee recommended approval, the Executive committee put together an ordinance and the Finance committee took no action,” Specha stated. “I believe all 16 members deserve an opportunity to discuss this. It was the Building and Grounds committee’s obligation not the Finance committee’s obligation whether they liked the idea or not. The Finance committee is strictly the money issue.”

Specha then put the motion back on the floor to approve the $6,300, not to exceed, out of ARPA funding for the power gate at Animal Control. Jeff Nolan seconds the motion.

Finance committee member Vicki McMahon apologized for not being at the committee meeting due to surgery but asked: “If this has been being asked since September why wasn’t this in the budget?”. She also made the point that Animal Control has a “Friends of” which no other department has.

County Treasurer Betty Asmussen answered the question by first stating Craggs did contact her about the gate around budget time. At that time, the County still had $3.4 million of ARPA dollars to spend and every department was to use the funds for any improvements that were to be made.

“To me this is county property,” Asmussen said. “Not anything else.”

Ken Franklin, Finance Committee member, spoke up saying he sympathizes with Specha and understands that not taking action causes a lack of communication.

“As a member of the Finance Committee, I will take responsibility for not at least bringing action upon that,” Franklin said. “It speaks to the bigger problem to me. The ARPA funds and the arbitrary nature. Where do you draw the line? It’s $6,000 here and $7,000 there. Were taking the hit tonight because we didn’t take action. I get that, but we could have taken the hit on a number of other things.”

Sharp stated there should be a vote on the motion on the floor. However, he made it clear he wasn’t sure how it would work procedurally.

“Maybe we will have a special board meeting about this so John (McWard) could walk us through the rules.”

Sharp asks County Clerk and Recorder Jodie Badman totakearollcall.Therollcall split right down the middle, 8-8: Yes: Jeff Nolan, Thomas Snyder Jr., Mike Specha, Jean Vandenbergh, Clayton Walters, David Buckles, Clint Epley and Seth Foster.

No: Ken Franklin, Miranda Langen, Vicki McMahon, Venise McWard, David Puccetti, Bryan Sharp, Tim Carlson and Linda Curtin.

States Attorney McWard shed light stating there was nothing specifically saying in the rules that the chairman breaks the tie. David Buckles called for a revote to be taken. During the revote, only Chairman Sharp and newly appointed member Miranda Langen changed from “no” to “yes” and the motion passed, 10-6.

“Thank you everyone,” Sharp stated. “I apologize for the confusion. We will try not to have that situation again in the future.”

As mentioned, the Board has a new member in District Four. Chairman Sharp appointed Miranda Langen, Morrisonville, to fill in the open spot on that was left from Matt Wells’ resignation.

“Im excited,” Langen says. “Just to better serve there community and get a younger perspective on the Board.”

The Christian County Health Board also had two appointments of their own. First was Dr. Hwa-Long Chen to serve as a member on the board. Dr. Chad Anderson was named to serve as the new Health Department Director.

Also during the meeting, Finance Committee Chairman Venice McWard read her committee’s report which consisted of ARPA referrals. Each referral proposed passed unanimously.

The meeting went into executive session at 7:35 p.m. to discuss negotiating matters between the Board and its union employees or representatives.

When they resumed, at 9:29 p.m., the motion to adjourn passed and the meeting concluded with no action taken on anything discussed behind closed doors.

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