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Special meeting focuses on special agenda items

Enterprise Zone amendment, raffle/poker run ordinance and election security costs addressed

HENNEPIN — During an Aug. 28 special meeting of the Putnam County Board, members discussed amending the Bureau-Putnam Enterprise Zone, the adoption of an ordinance concerning raffles and poker runs, and reimbursable costs associated with election security.

Steve Malavolti, board chairman, said he wanted the board to get a raffle/poker run ordinance prepared before its Sept. 9 meeting so the county is in accordance with the Illinois Gambling Act.

“This will only be for our unincorporated areas,” Malavolti said. “The villages will have their own ordinances in regards to this matter.”

While no action was taken, members decided there would be a flat $25 application fee for each event, and that the application would only be a single page.

The board agreed it would be easier to monitor permits with one per each event, rather than allowing an entity to apply for a permit for the entire year.

Applicants would also be required to maintain records of their events, and failure to have a permit will result in an ordinance violation with a $500 penalty.

Enterprise Zone

The board approved a maximum of $2,000, paid from the county’s fund for contingencies, to meet the estimated costs of amending the Bureau-Putnam Enterprise Zone ordinance.

The ordinance currently abates 100 percent of property taxes for 10 years for new businesses or projects with the zone, with an exception for an ambulance levy. Under the new amendment, the county will abate 75 percent of the taxes for the same period.

The need to amend the ordinance became more of an issue as the county began struggling more to meet its financial obligations. Board member Luke Holly was the only member present who objected to the abatement change, saying it creates a “zone within a zone” because Bureau County will still offer 100 percent abatement, and that it could drive away prospective businesses.

Board member Charlie Lenkaitis said if the county is going to be asking for increased tax revenue from its residents, that the taxpayers are also going to want to see the county’s industries be asked for the same.

Election security

The board approved about $2,200 for costs associated with upgrading the county clerk’s firewall for the State Board of Elections’ mandate regarding cyber security. County Clerk Dan Kuhn said there’s roughly $10,800 available through a state-funded election security grant to reimburse the county for related costs.

Upgrading the firewall had a total cost of about $3,700. The county’s 911 Fund met $1,400 of that expense, leaving the balance of roughly $2,200.

Kuhn said the county has spent about $8,000 so far for election security upgrades, including approximately $4,400 to upgrade Windows 10. The grant will also cover one-third of the costs to upgrade the server shared with the office of the supervisor of assessments and the treasurer’s office, but a final total for that expense was currently unknown.

The next meeting of the Putnam County Board is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 9.

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