CAMBRIDGE -- The Henry County Board on Tuesday night approved a fiscal year 2013 property tax levy of $7,239,191, up 2.6 percent from last year's levy of $7,051,137.|
The tax rate will remain unchanged.The levy was approved in a 18-5 vote with Jon Zahm, Marshall Jones, Ted Sturtevant, Rebekah McCaw and Dennis Sullivan opposing it. Jan May was absent.
The board, on a 20-3 vote, also approved a fiscal year 2012-13 budget that contains a $484,661 deficit. Last year's budget also projected a deficit -- $718,057 -- but the county now expects a year-end deficit on Nov. 30 of only $24,333.
Mr. Zahm, Mr. Jones and Ms. McCaw voted against the budget.
During public comments, Bill Rutherford, of Geneseo, said proposed Rock Island Clean Energy project causes concerns over the 17-mile Penny Slough levee on the Rock River. The Army Corps of Engineers is increasing its requirements to prevent a levee breach, he said, and the proposed power line project is designed to cross the Rock River right after a sharp bend and islands where ice jams form.
"Like everything else, money is a problem," he said. "We're just asking for your awareness."
Henry County Sheriff's Deputy Glenn Hampton also introduced Jorik, 2 years old, a new Belgian Malinois K-9 officer who arrived from Belgium Oct. 12. Sheriff Jim Padilla said the dog is the department's first to be bought overseas and bred specifically for police work. Deputy Hampton noted the dog still has a lot of puppy in him but already has been involved in three state police arrests, two sheriff's department arrests, numerous school searches and an attempt to track a burglar authorities believe escaped on an ATV.
"We're just getting started," Deputy Hampton said. "He's going to do some amazing things in his career, I'm sure."
Money for the K-9 came from drug forfeiture funds. Purina Foods is providing free dog food for life and veterinary check-ups also have been donated.
Many outgoing board members shared their thoughts on their experiences with the county. The board honored Muriel Weber for 20 years; Jim Eccher, 18; Pat Ripperger, 16; Tom Steele, 14; Dennis Sullivan, six; Jon Zahm and Rebekah McCaw, two years each, Donald DeDobbelaere, nine months and Marshall Jones, two months.
Because unofficial election results have Kippy Nelson behind by five votes, her status remains undetermined until the Nov. 20 deadline for absentee votes to be counted. She said she was "not as positive as others might be" about retaining her seat and said county employees and elected county officials had helped her broaden her horizons.
The board also:
-- Unanimously approved a new contractual agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police.
-- Presented retiring circuit clerk Deb Doss with a plaque for 24 years service.
-- Approved rezoning one acre of a 3.56-acre tract for a single-family home for Leonard Boelens.
-- Learned Jake VanHerzeele, of Atkinson, has been hired to monitor tipping at the Atkinson landfill for the village and the county.
-- Learned the courthouse and the highway department plan to share a 32-hour information technology employee.
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