Ellis joins county board

Lisa Ellis fills the rest of Derrick Lorenzen’s unexpired term; board plans mitigations

By GARY HENRY ghenry@prairiepress.net
Posted 9/14/20

Lisa Ellis, of Prairie Township, was appointed Wednesday, Sept. 9, to a vacancy on the Edgar County Board.

“This is a happy day,” said board chairman Jeff Voigt prior to Judge Steven …

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Ellis joins county board

Lisa Ellis fills the rest of Derrick Lorenzen’s unexpired term; board plans mitigations

Posted

Lisa Ellis, of Prairie Township, was appointed Wednesday, Sept. 9, to a vacancy on the Edgar County Board.

“This is a happy day,” said board chairman Jeff Voigt prior to Judge Steven L. Garst administering the oath of office.

Voigt noted it was a loss when former board member Derrick Lorenzen resigned while expressing confidence Ellis is a positive addition to the board. Ellis is filling the unexpired portion of Lorenzen’s term. Lorenzen resigned when he moved into a new home that was not in county board district 1 and was no longer eligible to serve.

Jill Taylor, Edgar County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (ESDA) coordinator, informed board members it is time to update the county’s hazard mitigation plan. She said the first plan was created in 2013 before she became coordinator.

Taylor noted the county is eligible every five years for a grant to do the work so the mitigation plan is overdue for an update.

“The first plan was done by Southern Illinois University,” Taylor said. “I don’t see any major changes, but we do need to do some things like update contact names.”

A Springfield firm has contacted ESDA about seeking the grant on behalf of the county and doing the work. Taylor said the grant is a 75-25 split, with the county obligated to cover 25% of the cost. However, that 25% can be fulfilled with in-kind services such as preparing material and attending meetings.

“There is no cost to the county,” Taylor said.

The first step, she said, is advertising the county is seeking to update the plan in case other firms are interested in the project. According to Taylor, the grant awards will be announced June 21, 2021.

Voigt supported updating the Hazard Mitigation Plan.

“To be eligible for other funds, we have to do this,” Voigt said.

Among the action items were renewing employee health insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield and rejecting President Donald Trump’s executive order allowing for deferral of payroll taxes.

The new insurance coverage is for the period Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2021.

Rejecting the president’s executive order was done upon recommendation of the county’s accounting firm. Voigt said the accountants are concerned the executive order can hurt employees.

He explained adopting the order means employees have more take home pay for the rest of the year, but if Congress fails to make the president’s action permanent by Jan. 1, the employees are obligated to pay back everything that should have been withheld.

“Our accountant said it would hurt them in the long run,” said Voigt, adding if Congress does make the change permanent, employees are eligible for a reimbursement on the payroll taxes that were withheld.