Vermilion County enters the new year with a new chairman at the helm, longtime District 1 county board member Gary Weinard. He faces pending decisions for the county courthouse, Vermilion Manor Nursing Home and the county EMA headquarters.
The courthouse and Vermilion Manor are directly linked to referendums passed in the November general election. For Vermilion Manor, voters approved giving the county the authority to sell the county-owned nursing home.
With the decision made by voters, Weinard said work has already begun to determine the next move on the nursing home.
“We’re gathering information so we can make an informed decision on what is the best way to go to make sure it stays here and stays open and the people there have a place to live,” said Weinard, who took over the chairman’s seat on Dec. 5.
“It’s the biggest question mark that is in front of us at the moment,” he added.
The county also is pondering the next step for the Vermilion County Courthouse, which is in need of renovations estimated at one time between $5-7 million. The work would include new elevators and repairs to a courthouse roof that has been leaking for 20 years.
How to pay for those repairs, however, hit a snag when the Illinois Power Agency issued a decision that the county’s referendum for an electrical aggregation program would cover only unincorporated areas of the county.
The county, which would have received funds as part of the program, was counting on the funding from the countywide program to assist in the renovation. Reduced to only the unincorporated area reduces the funds — which would have come in the form of a fee — the program is expected to provide.
Weinard said the county wants to form a “stop-gap measure” to prevent more damage from taking place and letting the problem “get out of hand.”