The Stark County board voted to implement one new county program, and voted to put another to referendum. Both programs could help the county’s bottom line in the long run.
First, county treasurer Katrina Rewerts introduced Rick Scheibal from Joseph E. Meyer & Associates, who presented a plan to the board to become the county’s tax collector for a new delinquent tax liquidation program.
The program allows Joseph E. Meyer to act as the “bad guy” who goes after past due property taxes. The neutrality of an outside agency collecting eliminates favoritism and exceptions that may result in lost income to the county, according to Scheibal.
Joseph E. Meyer will receive information on properties that owe back taxes and will notify owners that their property will be for sale unless they redeem themselves by paying money owed. If the owner does not redeem himself or herself, the property goes to public auction after a tax deed is obtained in a court of law.
Stark County will not pay anything for the service, but when properties are sold, Joseph E. Meyer will take $450 or 25% of the sale, whichever is greater.
The county will be the 91st county in Illinois to participate in the program, which is almost standard policy across the state.
The other program up for discussion was an electric aggregation opt-out program for residential and small commercial retail customers, or in other words, a program that would allow you to receive cheaper electrical prices.
Two representatives presented from Good Engery, a New York City based company that acts as the broker between the electrical provider and the county, who in this case will represent all unincorporated areas, not cities or villages.
The county voted to work with Good Energy, who will work to promote a referendum allowing the program to move forward.
If successful in the March election, Good Energy will then hold two meetings to discuss the procedure of electric rate bidding and your option to opt-out of the program.
If you do not opt-out and live within unincorporated areas, your energy will be let for bids. The delivery and meter reading will still be done by Ameren, however, the actual purchase of power may not be from them (although they can bid to be the provider).
Good Energy stressed that to Ameren it makes no difference who provides the power and that there will be no change in service, repairs or customer service. This is because they currently just pass energy rate prices along to the customer and no not make money on the production of energy, just the delivery and service, which they will continue to do.
Once bids are let, the county board will still have the option to say no to the bids they receive and stay with Ameren. Bids will be for a 2-year period with the county being part of a huge buying group across the state, giving them leverage and cheaper rates.
Members of Good Energy’s group already include Peoria County, Tazewell County, Peoria Airport, and possibly the City of Peoria, who still has to vote on the matter.
The county could generate $8,000-10,000 a year via an administrative fee paid by the selected energy provider at a rate of 1/10 of a penny per kilowatt sold.
In other business, the county voted to approve new health ordinances that the Henry-Stark Health Department developed. The ordinances were changed to correspond with new inspection forms being used that take a more pro-active and education approach to food and safety inspections.
According to Dorothy David of the Health Department, it will no longer be the intent of the department to shut down a business for violations, but rather to education them and be proactive so shutdowns do not have to occur. This includes offering free classes on basic food preparation and safety.
Finally, the Stark County Century Clovers 4-H club was on hand to thank the county board for their support of the youth program. Several members of the club described their project and involvement and then treated the board members to cookies and drinks.