Courthouse committee gets county board support


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Originally Posted Online: March 19, 2013, 9:46 pm
Last Updated: March 20, 2013, 12:03 am
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

The Rock Island County Board has given a vote of confidence to the special county committee established to determine what to do with the county's courthouse.

The 13-member ad hoc committee includes two county board members, the sheriff and local business people selected by Rock Island County Board Chairman Phil Banaszek, D-Moline.

Mr. Banaszek proposed the vote of confidence in response to concerns by some ad hoc committee members that the county board would ignore or not take seriously its recommendation.

The panel has been asked to make a recommendation on the future of the courthouse and other county buildings to the county board. County officials say the courthouse is in disrepair and needs to be replaced.

An April 9 referendum asks voters if they support expanding the authority of the county's public building commission, which would allow it to finance a new courthouse or any other county building project.

At Tuesday's meeting, the county board voted 23-0 in favor of the "resolution of support" in the work of the ad hoc committee. However, the resolution was altered at the request of county board member Drue Mielke, R-Coal Valley, who wanted to change a section stating the board acknowledged the usefulness of county buildings has "expired."

Mr. Mielke said the wording could give the impression the county board already had made up its mind about the courthouse and county office building.The board agreed, replacing "expired" with "seriously degraded."

Rock Island County Board member Kim Callaway-Thompson, D-Rock Island, who co-chairs the ad hoc committee, said the vote of confidence does not mean the board automatically will accept the panel's recommendation.

The county board also voted 20-3 on Tuesday to delay an electric transmission agreement with Rock Island Clean Line LLC. The company wants to run a high-powered transmission line through the northern part of the county, but the project has been opposed by landowners.

The county's finance and public works committees have approved an agreement with Rock Island Clean Line that would see the county earn about $62,000 per year for 20 years from the project.

Landowners opposed to the project wanted to speak against it at Tuesday's meeting, but failed to give 48 hours of notice of their intentions as required by county rules.

Rock Island County Board member Chris Filbert, R-Cordova, said it would be "rude" for the county to vote on the agreement without giving opponents a chance to air their views. Rock Island County Board member Ken "Moose" Maranda, D-Milan, countered that opponents had known about the county's plans for months.

The authority to allow the transmission line to run through Illinois rests with the state, said Rock Island County Board member Don Jacobs, D-East Moline. He said the county was making sure it receives some revenue from the project if the state gives the green light.





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  Today is Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.






(More History)