Tuesday Board Meeting Leaves Little Time For Public Comment

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Jersey County May Spend $20,000 Investigating Raising Fees

The Jersey County government administration building at 200 N Lafayette Street in Jerseyville.
The Jersey County government administration building at 200 N Lafayette Street in Jerseyville.

JERSEYVILLE - Tuesday's Jersey County Board meeting might well be the first step in a plan to increasing fees for county residents. The March 13 meeting agenda references an earlier March 8 Finance Committee meeting about engagement of a "fee study" for various county departments. The study includes the County Clerk/Recorder fees, Sheriff (jail fees), court security fees, GIS fees and Assessor fees. These fees will be additional to fees in many other areas being increased recently by the board. 

The Finance Committee may contract with Bellwether, LLC for a payment of nearly $20,000.00 to obtain a report on all current fees. The principal of Bellwether, LLC is Bruce DeLashmit. DeLashmit's background appears to include 21 years in the Navy beginning in 1977, a BS in health sciences from George Washington University in 1998, 12 years with State Farm Insurance that also coincided with the creation of Bellwether. DeLashmit also appears to be acting as the Mercer County Administrator according to a story in the Rock Island area Dispatch Argus newspaper.

The proposed fee report will describe the methods used to justify fee increases per applicable statute and will also include a sample resolution for the board to enact to increase them. While the Tuesday County Board meeting vote will not immediately increase fees, the hiring of an entity to review fees as a revenue source has the possibility to increase fees relatively soon with little public input. The County Board agenda shows public comments after the approval of the previous board minutes and another after a likely vote on the matter but after a closed session at the very end of the board meeting. Holding public comments until the end of a meeting after a closed session generally results in less public comment and participation.

The meeting begins at 7 P.M. at 200 N Lafayette Street in Jerseyville.

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