Adams County Board approves flat tax levy, needs to upgrade IT to work with jail and QPD

adams county

QUINCY — The Adams County Board is banking on an increase in assessed property value to maintain its revenues without raising taxes themselves.

The Board unanimously approved a 0.79659 cent tax rate at Tuesday night’s meeting. While it is technically a slight decrease from last year’s 0.81188 rate, an expected 4.2 percent increase in equalized assessed valuation (EAV), means the county portion of a property owners tax bill should remain relatively the same.

The rate is expected to bring in about $11.7 million in property tax revenue to the County. Adams County Board Finance Chairman Bret Austin told the board that $1.3 million in carryover funds helps balance the budget, which the Board passed last month.

Tuesday night’s County Board meeting was the first for seven new members who were elected in November and sworn in after December 1. Those members then had to decide to vote on a levy when they did not have the opportunity to vote on the budget the levy pays for, which is how it is set up by statute.

Another issue the Board was made aware of Tuesday night was that the County’s current IT infrastructure is not working properly with the newer technology that was put in place when the new Adams County Jail and Quincy Police Department were added.

Transportation, Building and Technology Committee Chairman Dave Bellis brought up the issue, saying the jail’s cameras and key card access into and out of QPD weren’t working, and the committee gave three bids to the board. Bellis said the bid needed to be accepted by the end of the year because the companies said the bids would change after the first of the year.

But the issue was not listed on the County Board agenda, meaning it could not legally be voted on at Tuesday night’s meeting. Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha and Board Chairman Kent Snider brought up that issue during the discussion of the situation.

Twenty years ago, Adams County lost a lawsuit over a similar situation, which ended up becoming a precedent setting case Illinois in Rice v. Adams County.

Plus, Austin said the County had no means to immediately pay for the upgrade, which will cost between $700,000 and $1.6 million depending on the bid. He said the project may necessitate the County taking out a loan to pay for it.

Adams County IT Administrator David Hochgraber said he would ask the vendors to extend the bids to the end of January, which would allow the County Board to review them and find a funding stream for the purchase and allow the issue to be placed on the January meeting agenda.

The County Board also approved salary increases for employees in three departments: state’s attorney, treasurer and the Eighth Judicial Circuit Jury Commission coordinator. The dozen employees among the three departments all received new three-year contracts with annual 4 percent raises.

Snider also made five committee appointments:

  • Jon McCoy to the Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials board.
  • Brent Fischer to the Great River Economic Development Foundation Board.
  • Brad Poulter to the 3-7-7 Board.
  • Austin to the Revolving Loan Committee.
  • Tim Finlay to the Adams County Board of Health.

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