In a continuing effort to get the county back on firm financial footing, the Randolph County Board of Commissioners has approved fee increases in the county clerk and county recorder offices.
In the county clerk"s office, the increases include marriage licenses (now $50), certified copies of birth (now $14) and death (now $18) records and liquor licenses (now $375 annually).
The recording fees have a list of increases, including deeds (now $71 per instrument); assignment of mortgages, leases and liens (now $71), liens (now $71 per instrument), ordinances/public entities (now $71 per instrument) and corporation certificates (now $61 per instrument).
Board Chairman Ronnie White said that overall, about half the combined fees in the two offices are seeing an increase, with the changes taking effect after Feb. 28.
He noted that in discussions with County Clerk Pat Laramore, it was revealed that the fees have not been raised in 15 years. Citing county auditor Jim Schmersahl"s most-recent audit of the county"s finances, White added that the county is down $1.3 million from 2012 in sales tax receipts.
At the time, the county was used to receiving the sales tax revenue from five coal power plants. Now, it only receives the sales tax revenue from the coal-fired Baldwin Energy Complex - which is down to two units.
"We"re looking under every rock to save money," White said.
In other news, Stephanie Martin, public information officer for the Randolph County Health Department, informed the board that two BASSET certification classes have been scheduled for Monday, March 6 in Chester and Sparta.
BASSET stands for Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education Training. The first class will take place at 2 p.m. at the American Legion in Chester.
The second class is at 7 p.m. at the VFW in Sparta. Both classes are expected to take three-to-four hours and will be taught by Randy Rehmner, with the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association (ILBA), and Bret Dixon.
Classes are free for ILBA members and $25 for non-members. Anyone who sells, serves or cards customers for on-premise consumption of alcohol is required to comply with Illinois Public Act 098-0939 by July 1, 2017.
BASSET certification is the state"s mandatory seller/server training program under the licensing and regulatory of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC).
The BASSET Program is designed to encourage sellers/servers of alcoholic beverages to serve responsibly and stay within the law.
The program trains sellers and servers to engage in responsible alcohol service through spotting signs of intoxication and intervention techniques to prevent alcohol-related fatalities and stop underage sales.
This training is in addition to and separate from Food Handler and Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification.
Pre-registration is required. Sellers and servers can register for either class online through www.liquor.randolphco.org or by calling Martin at 618-826-5007 ext. 122.
The board also approved the appointment of Commissioner Marc Kiehna as a liaison to the state"s 2018 Bicentennial Commission.
"I look forward to serving," Kiehna said, noting that he hoped some funds from the Bicentennial celebration could be used to help rebuild the shelter house at Fort Kaskaskia and aid the Pierre Menard Home, along with other local historic sites. "We want people to remember we"re where it started."
Kiehna also said he was looking forward to working with SIU President Randy Dunn, who was named by Gov. Bruce Rauner as one of the co-chairs of the commission. Dunn was superintendent of Chester District 139 from 1991 to 1994.
"We felt this is special and the state is doing some things and we will be coordinating with them," White said.
• County Engineer Mike Riebeling noted he had received some price quotes for weed chemicals, which were put out for bid on Jan. 31, for the upcoming year and would bring those to the board"s next meeting.
Riebeling added the commissioners would have to set salaries for the road district commissioners on or before the last Tuesday in March. He said the commissioners are seeking a 3 percent raise, which is paid by the road districts, but the county is required to set the salaries.
Lastly, Riebeling said his agency"s salt shed is still full in a largely-snowless winter. He added the county is still contracted to purchase another 120 tons.
"We"ll find somewhere to put it," he said.
• During the courthouse improvements portion of the meeting, Commissioner Marc Kiehna noted that the Randolph County Jail roof passed inspection and has received a 30-year warranty.
• The Randolph County Care Center was reported to have 64 residents.
• General assistance for the period was $2,511.88, including $1,696.59 in administrative costs.
• Prior to recessing the meeting, White made note of the recent rumors surrounding the fate of the World Shooting and Recreational Complex. He said bookings are still being made for summer shoots.
"Anything to the contrary is not true," he said.