Courthouse project business on county board agenda

A busy, but fast-paced, agenda highlighted the open portion of the Union County Board of Commissioners' first meeting of 2011.

The meeting was Monday afternoon, Jan. 3, at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.

Monday's meeting included discussion about several issues related to the construction of a new county courthouse. Work is moving forward quickly on that project.

The county is planning to have a surplus property auction as it prepares to move out of the existing courthouse.

The auction is set for Saturday morning, Jan. 22, on the courthouse grounds in Jonesboro. In the event of bad weather, the auction date will be moved to Saturday, Jan. 29.

A variety of surplus equipment, including vehicles and furniture will be featured in the auction.

3D Auctions of Anna submitted a low bid to conduct the auction.

In another matter related to the courthouse construction project, work is moving ahead with plans to build new facilities for the Union County Highway Department.

The highway department now has two buildings, which are located behind the courthouse. Those buildings will be removed.

Plans are being developed to build a new highway department facility located on property behind the existing structures.

County engineer Kevin Grammer is drafting bid specifications for the new facility. He hopes to have the bid awarded by Feb. 1.

Plans also are moving forward to move county offices from the existing structure to temporary locations. The county has purchased four buildings adjacent to the courthouse which will be utilized for temporary offices and storage space.

County officials met with the courthouse project's architectural firm, HOK of St. Louis, on Tuesday in Jonesboro.

In other business at Monday's meeting:

Union County Treasurer Darren Bailey reported that the county's general fund had a balance of $550,469.81 as of Monday.

The commissioners approved two requests for funding from the county's hotel/motel tax fund.

A request for $1,000 from the Union County Women in Business organization was approved.

The funds will be utilized to help promote the 2011 Union County Business Expo.

The expo is set for Saturday, March 12, at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School.

The expo is a popular local event. Last year, 80 vendors participated and hundreds of people attended the expo.

The commissioners also approved a request for $5,000 from the Illinois High School Rodeo Association.

The association again plans to host a spring rodeo competition at the Anna City Park in Anna. The rodeo, which has been held for several years in Anna, is planned for May 20-22.

The county board approved three building permits: two for mobile homes and one for a new home.

Monday's meeting ended with a lengthy closed session to discuss such matters as negotiations.

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