Carroll County Aggregate Hearing; Assessments Available Online
By JOHN HUGGINS | For The Prairie Advocate News
MOUNT CARROLL – A public hearing regarding the county electric aggregate was held just prior to the regular Carroll County board meeting on Thursday, February 7. This was the first of two public hearings required by law to establish the aggregate.
Mike Mudge of Rock River Energy Services was on hand to explain the draft ordinance for Electric Power Aggregate Plan of Operation and Governance (POG). The eleven page POG spelled out in detail the steps the County needed to take to get the aggregate up and running.
Mudge had already verbally described the steps to the board at the previous meeting on January 17 (See “Carroll First County to Approve Aggregation” in the January 23, 2013 edition of the Prairie Advocate News, www.pacc-news.com).
The plan lists the requirements the power supplier must meet such as maintaining all licenses and certifications required by local, state and federal agencies. The document also states that “the County shall not be held liable to participants in or members of the aggregation group for any claims.”
Prior to the next regular board meeting on February 21, there will be a second public hearing for the second required ordinance. Then, during the regular meeting, the board will pass the two ordinances and review the bids.
Mudge advised that at the next meeting the board give the County Board Chairman the power to sign the contract after State’s Attorney Scott Brinkmeier has a chance to review and approve it. Otherwise, due to the constant fluctuation in prices, the suppliers may not hold those prices over until the first meeting in March.
Mudge believes the county should get the best rates seen yet in the area over the past two years due to the mild winter.
Eventually, according to County Administrator Mike Doty, all relevant information about the aggregation will be posted on the county website at carroll-county.net.
Property Assessment and Tax Search
County Treasurer Diane Powers announced that property assessments and tax searches were now available on the County’s website at carroll-county.net. On the site, choose “Treasurer” under the “County Departments” tab. On the left side of the screen you will find the link titled “Property Assessment and Tax Search.”
On the site you can search by name, taxing body, address, and several other criteria. You can get results as far back as 2006. Information provided include tax rate, total taxes, net taxable value, owners name, who paid the taxes, if the taxes have been paid, and more.
Powers stated, “It’s a great tool for our citizens to have access to and it’s all free.”
A Meeting or Not a Meeting
The Carroll County Farm Bureau has sent the County Board an invitation to meet for lunch following the next scheduled board meeting on February 27. Discussion ensued over whether or not it would be considered a meeting if a quorum of the Board showed up.
Brinkmeier noted that it becomes a meeting only if the discussion includes county business. A number of members said that they had done it before but didn’t remember calling it a meeting. It was also added that they would not be taking any action.
County Board Chairman Kevin Reibel stated, “I think it would be wise to have this considered as a meeting. Otherwise we may run into trouble with the Open Meetings Act.”
Doty pointed out that the second paragraph of the letter specifically states, “The goal of the meeting is to open the lines of discussion on items affecting the county, going on in the county, and the needs of the county.”
Doty said, “I think this is a meeting. If you’re going to go, just announce it as a meeting.”
Brinkmeier reiterated, “If there is a majority of a quorum present and you’re going to discuss County business it is a meeting.” A majority of a quorum would be three people.
Again, it was questioned if no action was taken or no money is being spent, was it a meeting. Supposedly, all board members have recently undergone online training for the Open Meetings Act. It would seem some of them should take it again.
Reibel said, “If you are able to attend please RSVP. This will be an experiment for us.” And that is how it was left.
Woessner County Clerk of the Year
Chairman Reibel publicly congratulated County Clerk Brian Woessner, named the County Clerk of the Year in 2012 for the northern 24 counties in Illinois.
You do an outstanding job for this board and the county,” declared Reibel.
At the next meeting bids for a new squad car for the Sherriff’s Department will be opened.
State’s Attorney announced they received funding from a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant. Wendy Majors will fill the position for that program starting February 22.
Assessor’s office should have Board of Reviews assessments published next week (2/13 issue of The Prairie Advocate News - www.pacc-news.com).
Verizon Wireless has proposed a 420 ft. cellular tower near Van Buskirk Rd. A public hearing, a zoning board of appeals, and the County Board’s approval will be needed.
County Clerk’s office had a server fail. New equipment has been ordered from Computer Dynamics.
Issued a Class A liquor license to “The Frog Pond” bar and restaurant at the former Black Angus location on Rt. 84.
Discussed changing procedures for cancellation of meetings, due to not having any actionable items on the agenda, will be handled in the future.