Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2014, 8:51 pm
Rock floodplain to grow in Henry County
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By Lisa Hammer, firstname.lastname@example.org
CAMBRIDGE — The Rock River floodplain in Henry County apparently will get bigger.
Plan/development chairman Ann DeSmith told county board members Thursday that a draft floodplain map from the Illinois State Water Survey adds land in Colona, Cleveland and other parts of the county along the Rock River to the floodplain.
In Colona, the new floodplain boundary is basically from Pizza Hut at 508 1st Ave. to the river.
It likely will be another 12 to 18 months before the document is final, she said. After that, anyone needing to build in the floodplain will need state permits and an elevation plan.
Ms. DeSmith said it's her understanding the state may not make people in the new floodplain area buy flood insurance, as long as they remain with their existing provider. But it's possible, she said, the provider could demand they get flood insurance.
Also on Thursday, Lori Merrill, director of the Henry County Rural Revolving Loan Fund told county board members the fund has $317,345 available to lend. The program had six applications last year and made three loans, she said. There are no current defaults.
Ms. Merrill reported she is working on a five-year plan to submit to the U.S. Economic Development Administration that provides funding. As part of that, she plans to have the loans' interest rate lowered from 4 percent.
"It's been a little slower the last three or four years with this economy," she said. "I think everybody's feeling it. They're struggling a little getting loans out."
She said the RRLF is strictly a "gap" lender and requires a bank as the main lender. "We usually take second or third position," she said. "We make it less risky for them."
Board chairman Tim Wells noted the RRLF application process is different than a typical business loan because it's jobs-based rather than need-based.
In other business, board members:
-- Learned Nurses at Hillcrest Home are joining a union. Health and Social Services chair Karen Urick said a contract should be in place by the county board's March 13 meeting.
-- Learned Henry County Sheriff's Department will receive a $945,000 drug fund judgement. Public safety chairman Don DeDobbelaere noted that, while drug defendants typically never pay such fines, this time apparently is different.
-- Heard from Mathew Schnepple, of Barstow, the county's new Emergency Management Agency director, who said he looks forward to increasing the county's disaster preparedness.
-- Learned Henry County Sheriff Jim Padilla is organizing a winter search and rescue team. On Jan. 3, the county called in Knox County's snowmobile rescue team to search for a 35-year-old man later found dead near Andover after his vehicle was stuck in a ditch on Illinois 81 when the temperature was in the 20s.
-- Learned Angela Hathaway, of Galva, has been named interim director of the Henry County Housing Authority. She will succeed Kate Barton who is retiring.
-- Learned Duane Stevens will be the new administrator of the Henry County health department, replacing Gail Ripka who will retire in April. Mr. Stevens had been finance director for the department.
-- Heard from Ted Sturtevant, transportation committee member, that this year's prices on general materials are ranging from 2 percent lower to 4.5 percent higher than last year. Asphalt prices are up to 12 percent lower.
-- Renewed a tourism agreement with the Henry County Tourism Bureau.