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  • Fairbury News staff

County talks new facility

A look at the action Thursday night during the Livingston County Board meeting at Pontiac.

The Livingston County Board approved an ad-hoc committee recommendation in support of building a new Health and Education building on county-owned property by a vote of 15-8 Thursday.

The motion, made by Marty Fannin and seconded by Robert Weller, also supports eliminating the option of purchasing an existing building in order to focus attention on the new building venture.

“Further it is recommended that the county focus its resources on identifying options for reducing the cost of a new building while balancing energy efficiencies, form and function and overall costs,” the motion states.

Committee member Fannin presented the proposal, which led to various comments from the board. James Blackard, who represents district one, would like to see more of a comparison.

“From the estimate I’ve seen, new construction costs a lot also,” he said.

District two’s Gerald Earing questioned fellow board members on how much they want to spend on reviewing other options.

“How much do you want to spend before we say that’s enough?”

Linda Ambrose from district three feels there are too many unknowns to keep going down the path and feels more problems could be discovered unless everyone moves on.

“It’s really time to move on and get a new H&E building,” Ambrose said.

Voting in favor of the motion was: James Carley, Robert Weller, Linda Ambrose, Steven Lovell, John Vitzthum, Gerald Earing, Patrick Killian, Mike Kirkton, Jason Bunting, Tim Shafer, Marty Fannin, Ronald Kestner, Kathy Arbogast, Joel Barickman and Vicki Allen.

Those voting against the measure were: William Mays, James Blackard, Mark Runyon, Bill Wilkey, John Slagel, Gina Manker, Joe Steichen, and Paul Ritter.

Jack Vietti was absent from the meeting.

At the start of Thursday’s meeting at the historic Livingston County Courthouse, Adam Dontz from the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council and Tera Graves with the Livingston Area Career Center addressed the board. GLCEDC has done a number of grants with area schools.

Graves presented an update on donations and enhanced participation by employers in the community with LACC.

“We serve six high schools in Livingston County,” Graves explained. We are always looking for opportunities.”

LACC has worked with Caterpillar on curriculum updates and roundtables. Through a summer internship program with CAT, students had to go through an interview process and worked on engine building.

“Those young people got to experience things we don’t have access to,” Graves said.

Graves hopes to build interest in a manufacturing course to show students how many opportunities there are in the county. They hope to offer the course in the next year.

“We are now targeting some of our automotive and diesel technology students.”

Board member Paul Ritter thanked Graves for presenting the information and for what LACC does for the kids.

In another matter, Ag and Zoning committee chair Jason Bunting reported his committee went through the solid waste report and did a worksheet for the hazard mitigation plan update. Also, a private airport in rural Saunemin has been discussed by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

“We had good attendance at the ZBA meeting Monday night,” Bunting said.

That meeting has been recessed until March.

A Finance Committee resolution authorizing the disposal of excess property was authorized. This includes several police cars. A sealed bid effort will be attempted first before any auction. Under the consent agenda, Samuel Schmidgall was appointed to the Forrest-Strawn-Wing Fire Protection District.

The next Livingston County Board meeting is set for Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.

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