Farm Bureau president encourages Henry County Board members to expand broadband

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic
Henry County Courthouse

The Henry County Board met in regular session November 18.  Duane Anderson, Jim Padilla, Ned Richardson and Malissa Sandberg were all absent. 

The president of the Henry County Farm Bureau, Steve Nightengale of rural Osco, took the opportunity during public comments to encourage the Henry County Board to use American Rescue Plan Act funds that the county has received to expand broadband to the rural residents of the county.  Nightengale recounted the issues his family had during the pandemic, with his three children trying to e-learn from home, his wife, a teacher herself trying to conduct classes, and his business needs, all with DSL.  They added satellite internet to help keep them connected, but found that to be inconsistent.  They spend $125 per month on internet services.  Nightengale stated that if he had access to more reliable internet service, he would add more security to his farm, as well as grain bin monitors.

In other business, the board approved the 2022 budget.  Chairwoman Kipp Breeden underscored that the budget was balanced, and it was the fourth year in a row it has been so. The board also approved the tax levy, which was up slightly, 2.3% over last year.  The tax rate on the County portion of the property tax bill will go down for the third year in a row,  from .8432 to .8355.  A homeowner with a $100,000 valued home would see a drop of about $2.57 overall. 

Hillcrest Home has 69 residents currently, and there have been no Covid cases.  Hillcrest is still actively seeking help so they can take on additional residents.

The reapportionment ordinances for the changes to the new districts was approved.  The board will maintain 20 members and the changes to move Alba Township to District 2 and Conwall Township to District 1.  Per deim will remain the same.