Mark Burton joins Henry County Board

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic

The Henry County Board met Thursday June 18th via teleconference. Roger Gradert was absent.

The Henry County Board approved establishment of a Covid-19 Revolving Loan Fund, with $1,180,000 in CARES Federal funds. The purpose of this fund is to allow local businesses affected by the pandemic to borrow low interest funds from the County. A grant to fund the administering of this program in the amount of $118,000 was applied for as well.

Mark Burton of Geneseo was appointed to fill the seat recently vacated by Erik Brown. He will assume the duties July 1. He is expected to be placed on the Finance and Public Safety boards, as he has a background in Finance and family members in law enforcement.

Chad Winters was appointed to the Kewanee Airport Authority Board of Commissioners for a period of 5 years. Jill Darin was the dissenting vote on that appointment.

Hillcrest Home currently has 88 residents, and 2 new ones are waiting out their 14 day isolation before they join the other residents. At this time, residents are eating in the dining hall in two shifts, and dining with their roommates. The Home received $22, 000 last month from Public Aid, although $90,000 is still a receivable.

The County is ready to enter Phase 2 of the Jail PLC project, regarding design and architecture. Tech upgrades for the Jail of $138,000 was approved to be paid for by the Public Safety Tax funds. Sheriff Kerry Loncka and Board Chairman Marshall Jones attended the recent Black Lives Matter rally in Kewanee. Public Safety Chairman Shawn Kendall thanked them, saying that it was good to keep the lines of communication open.

County Clerk, Barb Link , is moving forward with the added responsibilities that are associated with the State’s Vote By Mail program.

The County Board anticipates a reduction in revenues in the coming months, brought on by the Covid 19 pandemic. A hiring freeze was briefly discussed for all non-union employees, with the Sheriff’s Office exempt at this time. Jan May requested that the hiring freeze not apply to Hillcrest Home as well.

During Public Comments, Jamie Johnson of Coal Valley brought to the board an issue with a resident of Glenwood Road who requested property to be zoned to Ag 1, and had put in a motocross track. The area has reportedly Native American burial mounds on it, and any digging in the area would cause “major archeological testing.”

The next meeting of the County Board will be Thursday July 23. the Board anticipates that will be held in the County Courthouse as they expect to be in Phase 4 of the Governor’s plan.