Crawford County is one step closer to selling the Commercium.
County board members Thursday approved Bob Fiscus Auction Service, Robinson, to handle the sale of the building. The board approached all local auctioneers about taking on the project, with two submitting plans.
"He offered the county the best bang for the buck," board member David Fulling said.
The one-time Marathon Petroleum office was purchased by the county for $100,000 in October 1991. The board has been looking to sell it for some time. The hope has been to find a buyer who would maintain the office building as a commercial rental property. This would provide a buyer with income and allow current renters to stay on.
Among its tenants are United Life Care Ambulance, University of Illinois Extension, Crawford County Development Association and the local office of the Regional Superintendent of Education. The county is required by the state to provide the ROE with space.
No date has been set for the auction. Fulling explained it would be late July at the earliest.
In a related matter, the board tabled discussion of a lease update for the cell phone tower behind the Commercium. The county originally leased space for the tower to Cellular One in 2006. AT&T later acquired Cell One and has since sold the tower to American Tower Corp.
Board Chairman Gareld Bilyew explained the board does want to enter into a new lease without protecting a future owner of the property if possible.
"We want to make sure it's done right," he said.
Also Thursday, board members approved a change in its two loans to Silverthorne Chevrolet. Silverthorne is refinancing a different loan and moving it to a different bank. Under the agreement approved by the board, the county's loans will continue to be subordinate to the bank loan. It does not change the financial aspects of the loans.
In a related matter, the board also approved transferring $1,000 from the revolving loan fund to the general fund to pay the CCDA for administering the loan program.
The revolving loans originated years ago with a federal grant awarded through the state. Since then, it has helped many local businesses, including Silverthorne and Illiana Cores, which just made the final payment on its loan.
Updates on recent storms and voter registration rolls were also discussed.
Crawford County Emergency Management Agency Director Brad Midgett told the board Oblong took the brunt of the damage caused by the April 26 storm. The village was pounded with sustained wind gusts of 75 mph and pelted with hail - some more than an inch in diameter.
County Road 200E south of Oblong has been closed twice in recent weeks because of flooding. Many gravel township roads also flooded.
The Green Briar levee south of Oblong was damaged but did not break, Midgett said. Water seeped through in several spots, but the levee remained in place. He believes the damage can easily be repaired.
County Clerk Fayrene Wright said her office should be done with its part in preparing tax bills soon. The bills should be turned over to County Treasurer Twyla Bailey by the end of next week.
Bailey said property tax bills are not expected to be ready for mailing until mid-June, with the first payment coming due in July. The second payment will likely be due in early September.
Meanwhile, 744 mobile home tax bills will be mailed out after May 17. Payments are due Sept. 6. Bailey said her office expects to collect more than $74,000 in mobile home tax revenues.
In other business, the board:
Re-appointed Don Richart and Jamie Henry to two-year terms on the Crawford County Forest Preserve Board.
Appointed Lisa Price and Jacqui Hollensby to one-year terms on the forest preserve board and Bill Rutan to a two-year term on the board.
Appointed Terry Ochs to a three-year term as a Prairie-Licking Fire Protection District trustee.
Re-appointed Scott Alan Goodwine to a three-year term as a LaMotte Township Fire Protection District trustee.