The Effingham County Legislative Committee of the Whole voted to recommend the payment of a legal fine of $10,284 to the law firm of Hesse and Martone at their meeting on Monday. According to Board Chairmen Jim Niemann, the bill is for legal services provided to the county in an arbitration involving union contracts. As of yet, there has not been a decision made in that arbitration. However, paying the bill will put the county in the red for the legal portion of their budget. Niemann said that funds will applied from other areas of the budget at the end of the the fiscal year to make up for the shortfall.
The committee also voted to pay an invoice to Legal Services, Inc. for the completion of a set of Code Books. The books contain a list of county ordinances that will be available for public viewing and eventually online. Niemann says that prior to the Code Books, it was difficult to access the ordinances.
However, an initial version of the of the book had around 124 pages of errors, according to Niemann. Sending the book back for revisions added and extra $2232 to the original bill of $5,900. The committee also voted to adopt the new Code Book. All recommendations by the Legislative/Personnel Committee must still be approved by the full County Board before taking effect.
The committee also approved an early list of election judges, but is still looking for both Democrat and Republicans to volunteer.
Changes to the Fireworks Ordinance were also discussed. Committee member David Campell proposed amendments that would make it possible to obtain a permanent licence to sell fireworks in the county year round so that vendors in the area area would not need a new temporary permit each year. Other proposed amendments would better define where temporary firework stands would be allowed to set up, and possibly would extend the length of time permitted to vendors to sell. The committee tabled the discussion in order to define certain language in the amendment pertaining to combustible materials.
The committee also voted to allow local law enforcement to participate in a statewide military surplus program. Effingham County Search and Rescue is applying to receive a personnel carrier.
A Local resident, Bonnie Mellendorf, also approached the committee about putting up additional flag poles by the Illinois State Trooper Memorial on the corner of East Jefferson Avenue and North Third Street. Further action will be taken at the Tax and Finance Committee at on Thursday.
Todd Slingerland, of Altamont, also approached the committee during Monday’s meeting. He advocated that the County Board take action to ban Shariah Law in the county. Slingerland’s concerns stem from events in Europe involving Muslim refugees.
Several committee members expressed support for taking some sort action. Others pointed out that while the U.S. and State Constitution were the law of the land, there would be no need to pass legislation banning Shariah. While not being opposed to the idea, committee member Rob Arnold also mentioned concerns about the scope of an Anti-Shariah law.
“My concern is, the scope can grow outside of this very easily and start to be twisted and turned in different directions that we don’t want to go down” Arnold Said. Further, that enforcing the a proposed law would fall on the County Sheriff’s Department. Committee member Mike DePoister argued that the responsibly would fall on the Sheriff’s Office regardless if they passed a law or not.
Committee Chair Jim Niemann said that while it’s too early to say if Effingham County will take action to ban Shariah Law, the committee would look into the possibility.