Edgar County Zoning Commission Recommends County Pass Zoning Ordinance –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

At a meeting held December 19, 2016, the Edgar County Airport Zoning Commission voted to recommend an Airport Zoning Ordinance to the Edgar County Board for their approval.

This, despite opposition from nearly every person attending the meeting, and a promise from the first zoning hearing that they would schedule another hearing after the draft ordinance was published. They did publish the draft ordinance, but never had another hearing.

The county’s need for zoning was brought to light when it was finally revealed that Edgar County had no zoning for its airport, and consequently could not receive any further federal or state funding for projects at the airport. Robert Bogue did his civic duty (as any good citizen should do) and filed a complaint with the FAA and IDOT, who did additional research and came to the same conclusion we did – that Edgar County was required to have zoning before receiving any more state or federal funds, due to potential violations of grant assurance for their past projects.

State and Federal law require their investments be protected and zoning is required according to grant assurances and state law.

If the county board approves this zoning ordinance, it will finally bring Edgar County in compliance with past grant assurance requirements, in compliance with the legal requirement to obtain funding, and will enable them to receive funding thru state and federal grants.

This Ordinance requires landowners within a certain radius of the airport to seek approval from Illinois Department of Transportation – Division of Aeronautics prior to making changes in building, land use, water use, producing smoke, and setting off fireworks, just to name a few of the required pre-authorizations.

The immediate project, which the board has been trying to accomplish for the past three years, involve an apron extension, moving the fuel farm, and installing a credit card reader for pilots to purchase fuel even when the airport office is closed. The only “real” need is for the credit card reader.

Past attempts at obtaining this grant have been halted by Illinois Department of Transportation – Division of Aeronautics, and the Federal Aviation Administration when they were informed of the alleged grant application fraud when the past airport manager, Jimmy Wells, assisted the Hanson Engineering firm in falsifying documents to somehow qualify for the grants.
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Edgar County Publishes Draft Airport Zoning Ordinance –

EDGAR CO., IL. (ECWd) –

Earlier this week the Edgar County Board published a draft Airport Zoning Ordinance – which has yet to be recommended by the Airport Zoning Commission – who had promised at the previous hearing to have another public hearing to receive input on this proposal.

This draft Zoning Ordinance requires:

  • PERMIT REQUIRED (from IDOT-Division of Aeronautics) for any use, construction, alteration, change in use of properties within the airport hazard zone. This includes (but is not limited to) using kites, balloons, shooting fireworks, planting vegetation, any smoke/light/reflection. Permit not required for structure, accumulation, or vegetation below 200′ – but fails to say the same for kites, balloons, fireworks, lights, etc.
  • Face a penalty of $1,000 per day, for each violation of this Ordinance
  • Other restrictions found here.

It references a letter dated June 25, 2007, but does not include a copy for anyone else to read —-> read our copy (click here).

It fails to state which State or Federal Statute/Law/Regulation  a citizen should reference when seeking information about this Ordinance.

We are assuming the Administration Code referenced is this one: ftp://www.ilga.gov/JCAR/AdminCode/092/09200016sections.html

Draft Ordinance is below:

Download (PDF, 33KB)




Illinois State Police Report On Edgar County Airport Fire Bombing – Chris Patrick, Jimmy Wells, Brian Phillips Refuse Polygraph –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

November will be three years since the fire-bombing of two aircraft at the Paris Airport, located just north of Paris, Illinois in Edgar County, and the Illinois State Police report of the crime is still lacking in much evidence.

Polygraphs:

Four people were asked to be interviewed using the polygraph detection of deception examination, and only one of those four were actually interviewed, with the other three refusing.

Robert Bogue, Chris Patrick, Jimmy Wells, and Brian Phillips (owner of fire-bombed planes) were all invited to polygraphs.

On January 21, 2015, Robert Bogue submitted to the examination. Illinois State Police Polygraph Examiner reported that through this examination there were “no significant responses indicative of deception” and that “the subject is telling the truth” on the questions asked (see pages 1 and 2 of the pdf below).

The questions asked were whether or not he set fire to the aircraft, the aircraft wings, the plastic bags of aluminum and ferric oxide, and did he help or plan with anyone to do those things. He answered “no” to all questions and the Examiner’s written report indicates he was “telling the truth“.

Chris Patrick, Jimmy Wells, and Brian Phillips – all three, according to State Police reports, refused to be examined with the polygraph detection of deception examination (AKA: lie detector)(see page 16 of the below report).

Download (PDF, 1.74MB)

This is a multi-part article on the Illinois State Police Report, check back for further information.

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Edgar County’s 2013 Airport Firebombing Investigation Hampered By 2008 Chrisman Double Murder Investigation?

EDGAR CO., IL. (ECWd) –

Failure to pay bills. Amazing real-life state of affairs of the Illinois State Government has hampered criminal investigations.

In Edgar County, it is the investigation of the 2013 firebombing of two airplanes while they sat outside a hangar at the airport located just north of Paris, Illinois.

According to sources within a state agency, one issue that could have shed light on those responsible for the double-airplane firebombing would have been access to Verizon cell phone tower data – which could not be had due to Illinois’ failure to pay their Verizon bill incurred thru the investigation of the 2008 double-murder in Chrisman. Additionally, Verizon only kept their text messages for 5 days, and other call data for 1 year, and asking for the information would have cost more money that “they” were not willing to spend.

Of course, that was only one issue with the firebombing investigation, there were other attempts at investigating, but those also failed, with one exception which will be in a later article when we post the entire investigative file.

For this issue, the State’s failure to pay the Verizon bill, it’s hard to believe they can simply ignore potential evidence because they didn’t pay a bill or didn’t want to spend the money to obtain the evidence in a timely manner.

 

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Edgar County Airport Zoning Commission Postpones Recommendations (video) –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

We received tips that the Edgar County Airport Zoning Commission did not provide a draft copy of the airport zoning policy they were proposing to pass in advance of the meeting.

Without the proposed ordinance being provided in advance, nobody knew which questions to ask or comments to make as there was no time to review what was provided at the hearing.

I provided public comment asking for another hearing after providing copies of the proposed ordinance, as did at least two others.

According to the posted agenda, the board had intended to approve their zoning ordinance recommendation for the county board to approve the ordinance at their next county board meeting, held 2 days after this hearing.

That would have prevented citizens from voicing their opinions in the proposed zoning ordinance. How can anyone ask intelligent questions without knowing what the board is actually wanting to approve?

The board agreed to call another hearing in the future – and give residents 15 days to research the proposed ordinance prior to the hearing.

According to an IDOT letter dated June 25, 2007, which “conditionally” approves the “Airport Layout Plan”, it specifically states “It should be noted that the FAA cannot prevent erection of any structure near an airport” (bottom of page 1) and that they can only be restricted thru State Zoning Regulations (which mandates local zoning) and/or local zoning ordinances. It appears the federal regulations referenced by the commission were adopted in 1974, prior to this letter.

This is contrary to what the zoning commission told citizens during the hearing – that county zoning would do nothing the FAA is not currently doing, which is false, since county zoning will restrict heights and prevent the erection of structures, according to law, that the FAA does not have the power to restrict/prevent.

At 2:47 and 6:40 in the below video, the commission references FAA “guidelines”, which according to IDOT, the FAA has no authority to restrict structures near airports.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBFCNKbzqGU

This zoning issue for the Edgar County Airport is a result of several years of FAA and IDOT – Division of Aeronautics halting federal grants. The first was due to alleged grant fraud on the grant application presented to IDOT which has obvious false statements, including, more based aircraft than were actually based here, saying they only have a one thousand gallon fuel tank when they actually had a ten thousand gallon tank, and many other inconsistencies.

This most recent grant was pulled because state law requires a county to zone the land for airport purposes prior to any expansion of the airport – which Edgar County failed to do for their runway extension and cross-wind runway. The FAA and IDOT consider this a violation of grant assurances from previous grants and halted any new funding until the airport comes into compliance with state law.

Additionally, from the zoning commission’s previous meeting, it was stated by the local bird cage liner that IDOT said “more than half of county sponsored (owned) airports do not have zoning. This statement was proven to be false by the Edgar County Watchdogs who researched each and every county-owned airport and discovered, for a second time, that Edgar County was the only county-owned airport in Illinois who did not have zoning in place.
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Fact Checking / Responsible Reporting – County Airports and Zoning

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

On August 27, 2016, Gary Henry reported that Robert Howrey stated “IDOT estimates approximately half of the county-owned airports in Illinois are not zoned.” He also stated “IDOT was not willing to acknowledge de facto zoning existed because of FAA rules, which take precedence over local action because Bogue raised the question...”

We had previously reported on March 16, 2016, Edgar County had the only county-owned airport in Illinois where the airport did not have zoning in the county. The article was in response to County Board Member Heltsley’s inaccurate comment that “This not only affects us . . . many downstate airports are located in areas without zoning.”

After reading Henry’s article, a FOIA request was immediately fired off to IDOT Div of Aeronautics for two purposes; first, to see if the claim was accurate, and second, to correct our past article if IDOT’s information was correct. Turned out the claim was not correct and we did not have to correct our article.

First, to the second comment from Robert Howrey about the so-called “de facto zoning” – the statute requires Edgar County to enact zoning for airport purposes.:

No land may be used for the expansion of airport landing fields until it has been zoned for airport purposes by the county or municipality having the zoning power over such land, as the case may be.

That statutory language throws out any acknowledgment of any “de facto zoning” by IDOT. FAA rules apply for airport safety purposes. Federal grants even state that recipient must follow all federal and state law and rules. Edgar County failed to do that.

AIRPORTS WITHOUT ZONING ?

Received today from IDOT in response to a FOIA request – which was not the requested information (county airports without zoning was what was requested):

This letter is in response to your Illinois Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request dated August 28, 2016, and received by the Illinois Department of Transportation on August 29, 2016. We conducted a search and found the following information responsive to your Request.   Below please find a list of county sponsored airports that the Department has identified via the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems.   Please be advised, that pursuant to the 630 ILCS 40, The General County Airport and Landing Field Act, the zoning requirements of these airports fall under the jurisdiction of the individual counties.   Therefore, please direct any specific zoning inquires for each airport to the appropriate county. 

Scott AFB/Midamerica   
Effingham County Memorial
Marshall County
Logan County
Williamson County Regional
Coles County Memorial
Edgar County
Crawford Co
Shelby County
Vermilion County Regional Airport
Whiteside County-Jos H Bittorf Field

IDOT responded that the above 11 airports are county-owned (sponsored) airports and that the zoning requirements of 630 ILCS 40 fall under the jurisdiction of individual counties. I read that as an indication IDOT believed these 11 airports to be county-owned and fall under 630 ILCS 40.

  • Scott AFB/Midamerica, Coles County Regional, Crawford County, Williamson County Regional, and Vermilion County Regional Airport are all “Airport Authorities”, are not county owned (sponsored), and do not fall under 630 ILCS 40. They fall under the Airport Authorities Act, 70 ILCS 5
  • Whiteside County-Jos H Bittorf Field is a county-owned airport, has zoning, but falls under 630 ILCS 45, not -40
  • Shelby County Airport is owned by an Airport and Landing Commission and has zoning (click here)
  • Logan County Airport is a county-owned airport and has zoning (click here)
  • Marshall County is a county-owned airport, and has zoning (click here)
  • Effingham County Memorial Airport is a county-owned airport, is operated by an Airport Commission, but does not fall under 630 ILCS 40. Airports with Commissions are by definition Airport Authorities under the Airport Authorities Act, 70 ILCS 5

Finally, Gary Henry could have written an article that was factually correct by simply questioning Robert Howrey and/or IDOT Division of Aeronautics for clarification on how they came about stating that “approximately half of the county-owned airports in Illinois are not zoned.”

It is not true, and Edgar County is the ONLY Illinois Airport owned by a county falling under 630 ILCS 40 which does not have zoning.

The issue is whether or not Edgar County was unique among other airports, and they are unique being the only airport in its situation without zoning as we previously reported.

We don’t know if IDOT just stated something without checking it for accuracy, or if what they said was misunderstood by the receiver of the message. Either way, we have once again provided our readers with the correct information.

Another FOIA request has been sent to IDOT for further clarification on their response to the first FOIA – just in case we or they missed something important.
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Dale Barkley resigned from Edgar County Airport Advisory Committee –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

During the Edgar County Board meeting this morning, we learned from Karl Farnham that Dale Barkley had submitted his resignation from the Edgar County Airport Advisory Committee.

In other business, the Board approved purchasing of a new software package for use with assessments and tax levy purposes, among others. This package comes with a savings over software currently used of about $5,000 annually.

William McCord was appointed as Trustee of the Metcalf Fire Protection District.

After closed session discussions on litigation, the Board voted to pay its legal fees ($5000) for the lawsuits filed by me late last year/early this year. Both cases filed were settled with mutual stipulation(s) to dismiss.

The Board authorized an increase in payments to the ETSB for dispatching. the new agreement is $114,000 per year, compared to $100,000 last year.
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Edgar County Airport Advisory Committee Meeting – (video) –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

The Edgar County Airport Advisory Committee held a meeting on July 11, 2016.

We did not attend, however, several others did attend, and they voiced their opinions.

The people voicing their opinions to the committee are the same ones that had control of the airport for more than 20 years and never read the statute governing the airport. We had to sue them in court and a judge had to order them to tell us which statute they operated under. Once we got that information, it was all downhill for them, and they no longer have any official influence at this airport, although they still pull the strings of whomever they can manage to get in there – which is why they are insisting on a new full-time airport manager (in our opinion).

It went from lawlessness to law abiding. We intend to keep it that way.

We added our comments to their opinions in the below video:

https://youtu.be/4HdVCiX1lHc
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Edgar County Board appoints 2-person Zoning Commission, approves Airport Leases –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

The Edgar County Board, during its monthly meeting this morning approved the following:

  • Established an Airport Zoning Commission – this commission is required in order to establish zoning for the airport, which is required in order to comply with previous federal grant assurances. The county has been in violation of state law in regards to zoning and airport expansion projects since the airport’s inception. Now that IDOT and the FAA has stated they will not provide any more funds until the county comes into compliance, the board is attempting to do that by establishing zoning as they should have many years ago.
  • Appointed Jake Barrett and Rob Howery to the Commission
  • Approved lease of 1/2 main hangar to Mid Continent Aircraft Corporation
  • Approved lease of 1/4 main hangar to Chris Patrick
  • Filed the Sherriff and County Clerk annual reports

In other business:

  • Alan Zuber stated the County Health Insurance will soon go out for bidding
  • County Clerk stated that the county received around $50,000 in property tax stamps as part of a massive land transfer, purported to be the largest in the history of Illinois, where the Forsyth properties changed hands
  • Jeff Voight stated that 58.88% of the year has passed and only 49.7% of the budgeted amount has been used to date
  • Don Wiseman asked that the county consider a “no passing zone” on Highway 1 south of the new high school road and into town
  • Don Farris talked about the property taken from him thru imminent domain more than 20 years ago and the fact that imminent domain was used improperly because the county was required according to state law to have zoning in place prior to any airport expansion. This taking of private property was accomplished when Adonna Bennett was a county board member, so it is no surprise to us that it was accomplished without following all of the appropriate legal processes.
  • Rob Bogue stated that he believed the State’s Attorney could petition the Court to overturn the imminent domain decision based on the fact that the county could not legally expand the airport without zoning in place – and it was not in place at the time
  • John Kraft asked the board to reconsider its outdated tall structure ordinance to better suit today’s needs and the protect county residents from encroachment of wind turbine farms. I told them a vehicle from E4G was spotted in east central Illinois and their website states they are a wind farm developer and have partnered with the Grain Belt Express Clean Line Energy Project, which is the high power electrical lines scheduled to work its way thru Edgar County
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Edgar County to appoint 2-person Zoning Commission –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

The Edgar County Board will consider and vote on appointing a two-person Airport Zoning Commission to research and make a recommendation to the Edgar County Board on Zoning Ordinance.

The meeting agenda says a three-person commission, however, it is our understanding that the Board will vote on appointing Jake Barrett and Robert Howery as the Edgar County Zoning Commission and not the county board member because of questions of whether a county board member can be appointed to the commission.

The need for a Zoning Commission arose out of Edgar County’s violation of Grant Assurances preventing them from obtaining any new grants until the county established zoning as the law requires.

Also under consideration is a lease to Mid Continent Aircraft Corporation for the main hangar (1/2 of it) and another lease to Chris Patrick for the remaining 1/4 of the main hangar. There will still be 1/4 available for an interested party to lease.
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Zoning in Edgar County – What’s the rush?

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

Over the past two years, a Federal Airport Grant was stopped THREE times: once due to a fraudulent grant application in which the former airport manager Jimmy Wells received a letter of appreciation for (even after it was known the grant application was a fraud), another due to questions of whether the law allowed Edgar County to expand its airport, and a third time because it was revealed and verified by IDOT Division of Aeronautics and their attorney that Edgar County was in violation of two prior grant assurance contracts because the county did not have zoning in place.

The law states that no expansions at the airport can occur unless and until the airport is zoned for airport purposes. Which means that the prior two expansions were in violation of the law, and by default in violation of those grant assurance, which are, a contract with the federal government that they will comply with all laws for the duration of the project (normally 20 years).

Once the county board was notified that zoning was required in order to obtain any further funds for expansion or improvement at the airport, the local newspaper (not the Beacon News) wrote article after article pointing the finger at Rob Bogue for filing the complaint with IDOT, when they should have pointed the finger at the county board for acting in violation of law and virtually condoning fraudulent grant applications. Why get mad at the police officer because you got caught speeding? Whose fault is it?

Thank you Rob, for continuing to hold the county board accountable.

Once the zoning issue was thrust into the forefront, it became evident that the county board had expanded in violation of law, and as a result, the county board had used imminent domain to steal real estate for two projects that violated the law. Now they refuse to do the right thing and give the real estate back to its former and rightful owner. Keep in mind, this real estate has nothing on it, the county is farming it out for cash rent, and could easily operate with an air rights easement similar to other property they fly over.

The county could simply petition the court to overturn the imminent domain ruling due to the entire process being in violation of establish law, which would give the real estate back to its rightful owner.

The Zoning Issue

In order to establish zoning, the county board must first appoint a Zoning Commission.

The job of the Zoning Commission is to hold at least one public hearing, to investigate the zoning requirements, to write the county zoning ordinance, to hold a meeting and vote to approve the ordinance they wrote, and them wait for the county board to review and vote on the ordinance at a public meeting.

Once the county board approves the Zoning Ordinance, the zoning commission is dissolved and Edgar County has zoning.

What appears to be happening, is the county board simply wants to hand the zoning commission a finished product for rubber-stamping, and hold a faux hearing without taking any testimony from the hearing into meaningful consideration.

During the May 23, 2016 Edgar County Board Study Session (video here), board member Lorenzen talked about:

  • Appointments to the Zoning Commission
  • Who to appoint to the commission
  • Public Hearing requirements
  • “Cut and Paste” into the document to give the commission for the hearing
  • Try to complete the zoning ordinance “under the wire” for IDOT’s June contract letting
  • Environmental issues are still unresolved with the proposed project
  • When is the deadline for project letting

The entire conversation appeared to be about how fast this Zoning Ordinance could be completed when instead it should have been about how to complete a good, comprehensive ordinance to avoid future problems.

There were no discussions on including adjacent or affected land-owners in any discussions or decisions related to the airport zoning.

They are counting on those land-owner to simply allow them to zone their property without any pushback – even though they are zoning for projects completed in violation of the law.

What’s Next?

Once zoning is established in Edgar County is will be easy to keep expanding it beyond the airport.

Zoning allows all kinds of restrictions to be placed for whatever the county board decides to zone next, be it building permits, grass height (the health department is already pushing that issue) on rural property, business location on rural property, and all types of general encroachment onto private property rights.

Don’t think for a second it will not happen because we all know it will. Whether it be for wind turbines, cell towers, power lines, pig farms, grass too tall, use of firearms, or against someone who they think keeps too many cars parked on their rural property. It will happen.

Main Airport Hangar Proposals

There was only one proposal submitted to lease out the main airport hangar – and from the discussion, it appears the board received a proposal involving less rent than what they had been receiving. Good job! Run out the high rent payer, and get someone that will pay you less rent.
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Airport still hot topic at Edgar County Board Meeting –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

During the May 11, 2016, Edgar County Board Meeting, Jimmy Wells, former airport “manager” who long ago resigned his position, spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.

The first thing he did was to pass around an “economic impact study” completed while he was the manager, and should be considered fraudulent just on the basis of his past actions and attempts at obtaining grants using fraudulent information. This study had to have used data provided by him or the former airport board – nearly all of which has been proven to be fraudulent (if it was gleaned from other reports and applications of the airport).

The study itself explains it was accomplished using a comprehensive survey of the airport using on-airport business tenants and visitor-related expenditures. This comprehensive survey was most likely completed by the airport (and we are working on obtaining their submitted survey) and provided to IDOT using information that was not factually accurate. Therefore, the entire “economic impact study” should be discarded unless and until the data used in the study are known. Additionally, the study was completed in 2012 and almost everything has changed out there since then.

He mentioned completing the crosswind runway – but failed to mention is was completed using funds obtained without legal authority and in violation of the very statute he was charged with following.

He talks about the airport facing a financial crisis right now – but fails to mention it was thru his actions, and those of former county board member Adonna Bennett, among others, that is the root cause of this so-called financial crisis at the airport. Those previous grants are the sole reason the current grant has been stopped – they violate the grant assurances thru their construction, and existence, without the statutorily required zoning in place.

His tenure at the airport was one in which I had to file suit in Circuit Court simply to force them to state which statute they were operating the airport under. . .let that one sink in for a minute. . .

His tenure at the airport resulted in numerous lawsuits and AG complaints simply to obtain the public record we had a right to obtain. One of those lawsuits is still outstanding.

The “legacy” he leaves, is one of failure, shame, grant application fraud, hiding public documents, lying to the public, using public property for private gain, hiding a pickup truck in the hangar because it had title problems, secret ballots forever etched in Illinois history, and similar conduct typical of the “good-ole-boy” system formerly in place at the airport. Heltsley is a has-been as a county board member, former airport board members, including Adonna Bennett, were replaced when the board was dissolved and reconstituted.

Let’s hope it never again falls into the depths of depravity it has come to be known in recent years.
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Attorney General says Edgar County Board violated Open Meetings Act –

EDGAR CO., IL. (ECWd) –

The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor has issued a determination on a complaint filed alleging an Open Meetings violation from a meeting held on October 26, 2015.

The AG PAC determined that the Edgar County Board violated the Open Meetings Act four times in the same meeting. The AG-PAC has requested the county board make the audio recordings available for certain portions of that meeting because they were improperly discussed in a closed meeting.

Among the violations listed are:

  • The Board has acknowledged that no minutes were approved or maintained for either the open or closed session of the October 26, 2015, meeting. Accordingly, this office concludes that the Board violated section 2.06( a) and 2. 06( b) of OMA by failing to approve and keep minutes of that meeting.
  • we conclude that the Board violated section 2( a) of OMA by holding improper closed session discussions on items 1 and 5 pursuant to the section 2( c)( 1) exception.
  • During the closed session, the discussion was described as involving negotiations” with a lessee, but the Board did not discuss the setting of a price for the property. Rather the Board discussed the process for and potential scope of an agreement. Accordingly, we conclude that the Board violated section 2( a) of OMA by holding an improper closed session discussion on item no. 6 pursuant to the section 2( c)( 6) exception.
  • the Board did not record and enter into the closed session minutes findings that litigation with either matter was ” probable,” because, as described above, there were no minutes kept. Accordingly, we conclude that the Board violated section 2( a) of OMA by holding an improper closed session discussion pursuant to the section 2( c)( 11) exception.

The PAC also stated that:

With respect to items nos. 4, 5, and 6, which took place after the State’ s Attorney left the meeting, this office does not discern that the discussions consist of potentially privileged communications and therefore requests that those portions of the closed session recording be released. We also request that the Board prepare minutes for the open and closed sessions of the October 26, 2015, meeting in accordance with section 2. 06( a) of OMA.

Download (PDF, 288KB)


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Edgar County Board mulls giving County Airport to City of Paris –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

During the Edgar County Board study session held on April 25, 2016, the board discussed several options they are contemplating with the county airport.

  • develop zoning for the airport
  • annex the airport into the City of Paris
  • give the airport to the City of Paris

Board member Lorenzen contacted IDOT-Division of Aeronautics to figure out what the county needed to do with the airport. They replied that the board needed to work with the State’s Attorney to determine what zoning they wanted to do with the airport. IDOT wants the County to do their part in developing zoning. “Spot Zoning” is one option that would include only zoning for the airport and property within two miles of the airport.

IDOT wants the county to do the zoning – and I suspect it is because they do not want to “own the issue” of they do it for the county.

Heltsley asked bout annexing the airport into the City of Paris – “to make it easy”.

Zuber acted a bit confused, trying to place the blame on this airport issue on other people – we suggest he look at the process and applications used since he has been on the county board – and maybe place the blame on their contracted engineer where it should be placed.

It appeared to us, from watching the video, none of the board members have reviewed or understand the process in instituting zoning in relation to the airport. The process is written in law, and there are certain required steps that must be accomplished. There are requirements for a Zoning Commission to research and investigate the issue and write a proposed county zoning ordinance after holding public hearings. When that process is complete, the county board either accepts or rejects the Zoning Commission recommendation(s). When that is approved, the county must appoint a zoning board to meet and review zoning issues should they arise from time to time.

Zuber also commented that maybe the county is not getting the appropriate return on its investment, and said the City of Paris might be a better option for the airport. Voigt stated the county needed to move forward with figuring out the zoning while they are talking to the city about the possibility of them taking the airport off the county’s hands.

Bruner asked why the county didn’t just spend money on the credit card reader and forget about the new fuel farm. That idea was quickly shot down…because…if they can get the money why not use it?

Here are some new and unique ideas:

  • try being truthful in future grant applications
  • zone the airport – and – zone wind turbines (both can be accomplished without general county-wide zoning)
  • quit doing projects that are not needed
  • treat everyone as equals, in every aspect of the airport
  • when appointing a Zoning Commission, include members who own land within the proposed zoning area
  • hire a permanent airport manager – whether it be the current interim or another person
  • be open and transparent in the main hanger leasing process
  • do the right thing in relation to land that was taken thru imminent domain – and the right thing would be to give that land back to the previous owner while keeping air rights over it
  • quit talking about giving county taxpayer owned property, the airport, to the city
  • review, write, and approve a Policy Manual for the airport – while seeking recommendations from the public at large

The airport discussion starts at about the 53:50 mark in the below video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk6yYXArwlw

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FOIA Abuse? . . . or Truth Seeking –

EDGAR CO., IL. (ECWd) –

In our continued efforts to provide absolute truth to our readers, we must once again point out inaccuracies in how a certain local publication prints quotes by Farnham, Edgar County Board Member, without fact-checking them.

The quote used was in relation to the Edgar County Airport and its solicitation for bids for fuel. Farnham was quoted as saying that “One company refused to bid…they said the tanks at the airport are too small and they can’t afford to come here for 500 gallons.”

We figured that to be a false statement, so a FOIA was submitted for the vendor response Farnham stated, and…surprise! (not really a surprise) – nothing was found because the “statement was made in jest.”

So here we have more false statements by a county board member in his attempt at garnering support for an unneeded project at the Airport. We say unneeded because the historical fuel sales do not show a need for larger fuel storage tanks.

Another issue was reported ss far as the salary resolution passed at the last county board meeting. The truth is that it did not “clarify” that board members could participate in the county health insurance programs, it “authorized“, as part of their compensation, participation in the county health insurance program. There is a huge difference, the difference between unlawful and lawful compensation.

For some background information, in a December 10, 2015 editorial, the PP called our fact-checking an “abuse of FOIA,” and failed to even get the facts correct in their editorial (read our ‘Kings of Petty Politics” series here). Now, in their most recent edition they want to lecture on the truth and how it is “sometime uncomfortable, embarrassing, and painful” – but nevertheless their duty to report it. We agree – so why not report truth when it comes to public bodies and public officials, or at least qualify statements made by Farnham as not intended to be an accurate representation of the truth?

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The bottom line in this is that when an elected official states something as fact during a meting, the public should be able to accept it as fact – and be able to verify the statements made. If we cannot verify what is stated, how do we develop any trust in our elected officials?
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Edgar County Board talks Zoning –

EDGAR CO., IL. (ECWd) –

On the heals of the decision by IDOT-DA to halt all state and federal funding of the Edgar County Airport due to grant assurance violations (lack of zoning), the board has started talking about zoning for the airport.

Mark Isaf, Edgar County State’s Attorney, stated that any airport zoning could be a lengthy process and the process used to develop zoning is spelled out in the law.

During the April 11, 2016 Edgar County Board Study Session, Mark Isaf, the Edgar County State’s Attorney, stated that the county has not been operating the airport in accordance with statute, which requires zoning, since its inception. The main reason for this is the requirement to have the airport zoned for airport purposes prior to any expansions. In light of this, IDOT-DA has informed the board that all federal and state funds have been frozen and the county will not receive any further funding until it establishes zoning – which will bring the county into compliance with grant assurances of previous grants.

The board then discussed the procedure of researching and establishing zoning for the airport – and I commented that since the county was looking at zoning, it may as well establish county-wide zoning for tall structures such as wind turbine farms and cell phone towers to better protect landowners.

Additionally, the county, in its research for zoning, should include all surrounding and affected land owners in the process.

In case you want to read up on county and airport zoning, links are provided below.

AIR TRANSPORTATION
(620 ILCS 25/) Airport Zoning Act.

The Airport Zoning Act lists the requirements for zoning and the process used to first establish zoning for county (and other) airports.

All zoning must be reasonable, must effectuate airport approach plans as designed by IDOT, and must include public hearings, among other things.

AIR TRANSPORTATION
(620 ILCS 40/) General County Airport and Landing Field Act.

Zoning is required for expansion of airport landing fields, etc.

Illinois Counties Code
(55 ILCS 5) Division 5-12. Zoning

Authorizes counties to establish zoning and also provide the procedure for a county to institute zoning.

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No Federal or State funds for Edgar County Airport –

EDGAR CO., IL. (ECWd) –

The Edgar County Watchdogs are pleased with the recent developments in relation to the Edgar County Airport. From all appearances, outside agencies are finally forcing Edgar County to come into compliance with the established law.

On April 5, 2016, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics (“IDOT-DA”) sent a letter to the Edgar County Board Chairman, Mr. Jeff Voigt.

This letter explains that due to lack of zoning for the airport, there will be no airport projects programmed, nor will any Federal or State funds be expended at the airport until the County establishes the required zoning for the Airport.

We first reported on this requirement in December of 2015 in this article.

This makes the third time, in less than two years, Edgar County Airport projects have been suspended for various reasons and by two different agencies:

  • September 19, 2014 – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) suspended the project in order to review the grant application, due to massive irregularities, which we reported in this article.
  • January 25, 2016 – IDOT-DA suspended the project to research the applicability of Section 1 of the General County Airport and Landing Field Act, 620 ILCS 40/1, which states that “No land may be used for the expansion of airport landing fields until it has been zoned for airport purposes by the county or municipality having the zoning power over such land…(Covered in this article)
  • April 5, 2016 – IDOT-DA suspended the project until the county establishes zoning for the airport

In 2013, I had to sue the County in order to figure out which airport law they were following (here) so that we could hold them accountable to that law. It was like pulling teeth. First, they declined to provide a copy of the law stating they did not have a copy. After I gave them a copy of all three statutes they could possibly operate the airport under, I requested a copy of the one they were following – only to be denied the FOIA request claiming that I was asking a question and not seeking a copy of a public record. The Judge in the case did not buy that excuse and the county was forced to provide a copy of the statute they were following. It was the General County Airport and Landing Field Act, 620 ILCS 40.

In the very first section of this statute, it states that:

No land may be used for the expansion of airport landing fields until it has been zoned for airport purposes by the county or municipality having the zoning power over such land, as the case may be.”

What this means, is that all previous work conducted on the runway expansion and cross-wind runway was in violation of the law and in violation of Federal grant assurances. In order to be eligible for future grants, the airport must be in compliance with previous grant assurances.

Since previous work was conducted in violation of the law, then we must assume the use of imminent domain by Edgar County to forcibly take privately owned property, in order to expand the airport, was also improper.
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Edgar Co. Board member Mike Heltsley still having truth problems –

EDGAR CO., IL. (ECWd) –

During discussion of the Edgar County Airport grant application at this past Monday’s county board study session, Mike Helstley is quoted in the Prairie Press with this wonderfully researched statement:

“This not only affects us,” said Heltsley, noting many Downstate airports are located in areas without zoning.”

Really?

With minimal research conducted this morning, looking at a list (found here) of airports in Illinois broken down by county, I researched each and every county listed as owning an airport. Then, I determined thru additional research if it was a “county airport” or an “airport authority”. Upon finding an airport was a “county airport”, I called the assessor’s office of those counties (6 of them) and asked if the county had zoning and if the airports were zoned.

Research findings:

Here is a complete list of all counties in Illinois that own a county-owned airport and do not have zoning:

  1. EDGAR

Yep. That’s right. One.

Wow, that’s a far cry from “many Downstate airports” as quoted in the PP article.

So here is the issue, as we have pointed out before, and it now turns out that Edgar County is the only county in Illinois with this issue:

The General County Airport and Landing Field Act, 620 ILCS 40, is the enabling statute for the Edgar County Airport.

No land may be used for the expansion of airport landing fields until it has been

zoned for airport purposes by the county or municipality having the zoning power

over such land, as the case may be.

The statute the airport is operating under requires that in order to expand a runway (or landing field), the county airport must be zoned for airport purposes. Lack of zoning means no expansion. Period.

Edgar County does not have zoning.

We have recently found that Edgar County used imminent domain, or theft of property, to force at least one land owner out of his rightfully owned real estate so the airport could expand in violation of law.

Had the county been forthcoming with the land owner and the Court, this could have never happened. It violates law. Not to mention, one of the people that were so happy to steal this property is now fighting to keep power lines off of his own property. Kind of ironic, isn’t it?

Wrap-up:

  • This airport grant was canceled over a year ago for false statements on the grant application
  • This airport grant is currently suspended and under review by the IDOT, Division of Aeronautics general legal counsel for the lack of zoning issue, among other things
  • past airport grants are under review for violations of state law requiring zoning in order to expand
  • Edgar County use imminent domain for expansion projects that were in themselves violations of law
  • Jeff Voigt is quoted as saying that the state’s attorney and IDOT’s head of Aeronautics thinks the zoning argument will be rejected and the project will move forwards (which is not what were told by IDOT)
  • The county was apparently hedging its bets on this being a common issue among many airports, but has now been proven to be only an issue with Edgar County’s Airport
  • This project has missed the spring letting (bidding) and may not be included in the next letting
  • the county could be liable for payback of all or part of funds obtained in violation of law (runway extension and cross-wind runway)
  • reporters should try to research and verify statements, especially those made by Mike Heltsley

 

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“Good Ole Boys” derail vote on Airport Main Hangar lease extension –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

During the Edgar County Board Meeting this morning, the board heard public comments as required by the Open Meetings Act.

One of the commenters was a local attorney who stated he was representing “several individuals” who desired to bid on leasing the main airport hangar at the airport.

They are asking the board to place the lease out to bid.

He used the General County Airport and Landing Field Act for justification as to why they believed the county was required to bid the lease out to the highest bidder.

The problem with their opinion, in our opinion, is that the statute does not require placing it our for bidding.

62 ILCS 40/6 is the statute he referenced, the General County Airport and Landing Field Act, Section 6, which has not changed since 1941.

Sec. 6. The county board of every county has the power (1) to lease all or any part of such an airport, landing field, facilities, and other structures, and fix and collect rentals therefor, (2) to fix, charge, and collect rentals, tolls, fees, and charges to be paid for the use of the whole or any part of such an airport or landing field, buildings, or other facilities, (3) to make contracts for the operation and management of such an airport, landing field, or other air navigation facilities, and (4) to provide for the use, management, and operation of such an airport, landing field, or air navigation facilities through lessees thereof, or through its own employees, or otherwise. However, no lease for the operation or management of such an airport, landing field, or air navigation facilities shall be made for more than one year except to the highest and best bidder, after notice of the lease or contract has been given by at least one publication, made at least one week before the date of the lease or contract, in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county.
(Source: Laws 1941, vol. 1, p. 463.)

The underlined part is what they were referring to, but fail to realize that the lease in question was not for “operation or management” of an airport, landing field, or air navigation facility. It is for the “use” of the main hangar.

Clearly, the only provision requiring bidding is for the “operation and management”, and then only of the contract is for more than one year. “Operation and management”, if not provided by the airport owner, the county in this case, would generally be bid out to a “Fixed Base Operator”, or “FBO”, who would assume operational control and management control of the airport and its operations. Edgar County has not gone this route and maintains its own control and management of the airport.

County Board Member Mike Heltsley should come out against this push and write another letter to the editor, as it places a “hardship” on the county, causes “utterly useless spending” and is designed to “scale back public services” and “bring down the airport”… just kidding, we have no expectation Heltsley would hold his “good ole boys” to the same standard he holds everyone else, after all, that’s how “good ole boy” systems operate.

The board decided to table the vote for another date.

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Tom Tuttle appointed interim Edgar County Airport Manager –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

After accepting Jerry Griffin’s resignation, the county board appointed Tom Tuttle as interim Airport Manager.

More info to follow…




Edgar Co. Airport – IDOT – Division of Aeronautics suspends airport grant work for second time in 18 months –

EDGAR CO., IL. (ECWd) –

For the second time in the past 18 months, and in a move reminiscent of what we reported in September of 2014, when we wrote about the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) calling a work stoppage on all work related to the Edgar County Airport grant application, the Illinois department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics (“IDOT-DA”), has once again asked the county to temporarily, “suspend all activity on state and federally funded development projects at Edgar County Airport“.

The major issue on this suspension of work is what we pointed out to the Edgar County Board, who quickly dismissed it, and then we reported to IDOT-DA, that the statute the Edgar County Airport was operating under requires county zoning in order to expand its landing fields, etc.

The state should be looking at other counties to see how many of them have the same issues. IDOT would then have to come up with some type of legal opinion and decide whether or not to keep funneling money into these airport projects that are in violation of state law. I do not believe the FAA will allow its funds to be used in violation of state law, but I guess we will have to wait and see.

There are other outstanding issues related to federal grant assurances (agreements to do certain things for a defined time-frame after receiving the grant) that need fixed, like getting rid of preferential treatment of certain t-hanger leaseholders, among others.

The grant work stoppage from 2014 was issued because the county reported numerous items in the grant application that were simply untrue – by a wide margin (here). the board was instructed to resubmit its justification for the grant in order to be considered. They resubmitted it, but still had untrue statements and projections listed in the application – not to mention the statute the airport is operating under, that I had to sue the county in order for them to officially state which statute it was, requires county zoning for expansions, something Edgar County does not have (read this article).

The lawsuit is a prime example of county board member Mike Heltsley’s “utterly useless spending” comment in a recent letter of his. The utterly useless spending was the Edgar County Board actually going to court to try and tell a Judge they did not have to tell the public what statute they were operating the county airport under. Let that one sink in for a minute…yes, the Edgar County State’s Attorney actually argued against giving me a copy of that statute. So, yes, Heltsley was right on the utterly useless spending, but it was the County who willingly spent the money. The county ultimately provided the statute and paid my court costs.

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Edgar County Airport Manager Resigned –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

On the agenda for the upcoming Edgar County Board Meeting, February 10, 2016, is item number 17, “Accept Resignation of Jerry Griffin, Airport Manager.”

Other items to be acted on include, but are not limited to:

  • appoint an interim Airport Manager
  • advertise for an Airport Manager
  • place airport fuel purchase out for bid
  • extend commercial lease for the main hangar at the airport

Read the agenda below:

Download (PDF, 23KB)

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Edgar County – Why did Board Member Charles Mike Heltsley write the letter?

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

Over the past several days, many people have asked why Charles Mike Helstsley would have written such a letter to the so-called editor of the Prairie Press.

He went from claiming everything the county board did was lawful (LOL), to being proud of the good ole boy system in Edgar County (which, by  design, discriminates against everyone not part of said system), to projecting an envious attitude towards those with honorable service (something he will never achieve), to complaining about no indictments or convictions.

Next he reminds people that we are not lawyers and not police – something we have never, ever, pretended to be. Unlike when Heltsley pretended to be retired from Department of Corrections, when the real story was he was fired from there prior to obtaining retirement. Or when he claimed to have sat right next to the DOC Jail Inspectors for six years and filled out “tons” on jail inspections, only to be proven wrong by DOC through the use of (not abuse of) the Freedom of Information Act. We mention this to show people how Heltsley thrives on embellishing his past – only to get called out time after time…in short, he is a habitual liar.

Now we get to why he might have written the letter:

“They are not police, nor are they lawyers – never have been and never will be regardless of how many citizen’s arrest they make or lawsuits they file or million dollar airport grants they disrupt because they don’t like Zimmerly Ready Mix or its owner.”

First I would like to point out that Heltsley is not “police” either. He is a failure at those jobs, his first “police” job he claims he fled the Edgar County Sheriff’s Department because he supported the wrong Sheriff candidate, and the other “police-type” job at the Department of Corrections he was terminated prior to obtaining retirement eligibility. He had a fake-police-type-job at one time (Hint: “Good Ole Boy System”) when former Sheriff Crippes wrote a letter claiming Heltsley was a “covert investigator” (laugh at it here) where no such position is authorized in Illinois and he never received any pay for it, meaning it was solely for him to carry a weapon illegally. That letter, and former Sheriff Motley’s refusal to provide Heltsley with another one, was when Heltsley all-of-a-sudden had problems with Motley.

The lawsuits I or we file are because we have exhausted our remedies with attempting to get the board to follow the law. We talk to them for years, and finally give up and sue them. Our lawsuits consist of Freedom of Information Act suits, a lawsuit to stop them from stealing healthcare for their own personal benefit, and a lawsuit to have a judge tell them to follow the procurement laws and bid the liability and workman’s comp insurance out as the law requires they do.

Disrupting the Airport grants – One airport grant was ordered stopped by the  Federal Aviation Administration. Heltsley would have you believe “we” stopped it, but the fact is Edgar County lied on its grant application and got caught. The FAA and IDOT-Division of Aeronautics read what they were provided and stopped that grant. Heltsley would have you believe we make stuff up (like they do), but the FAA and IDOT saw thru their smoke-screens and called it what it was. They asked the county to submit a new grant application, which they filled with more “inaccuracies”, leading to:

Disrupting the Airport grants – the next grant, (we think this one is why the letter was written) we have reason to believe, due to a recent chain of events, has also been halted, maybe temporarily or maybe permanently, because of more “inaccuracies” put on paper by the county and because of alleged violations of grant assurances. Again, Heltsley would have you believe the board did nothing wrong and we are barking up the wrong tree. Ask yourself this: would the FAA and IDOT-DA order work to be stopped on grants if there was not sufficient evidence to justify stopping the grant? You decide.

I “abused FOIA” again this morning (phrase credited to the so-called Prairie Press) by requesting all communications between the County and the FAA and IDOT to see if they have halted any work on this new grant. I believe they have, but still need the supporting documentation to state it as fact.

Finally, he makes the claim we do this because we don’t like Zimmerly Ready Mix or its owner. There was a time when we fought against the ‘owner’ of Zimmerly Ready Mix, Chris Patrick, but that was solely because of the real, and statutory, conflict of interest with the owner being elected to the county board and while still selling materials and supplies to the county, or attempting to sell them to the county. Once Chris Patrick resigned, and the two-year contracting clause built in to state law expired, that was no longer an issue. We wouldn’t expect Heltsley to understand that, he would have to actually read as well as comprehend to get an understanding of it.

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Edgar County Airport Policy Update –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

The most recent two meetings of the Edgar County Airport Advisory Board had discussions on using the “Airport Policy Manual” as a weapon against t-hanger leaseholders that certain people are trying to evict – even though they pay their rent just like everyone else.

I brought up the fact that there is no legitimate Airport Policy Manual. By legitimate, I mean no policy has ever been approved for use by the Edgar County Board, or for that matter, by the airport board. A requirement prior to actually using it as policy.

A former county board chairman and his side-kick the former airport manager both stated it was approved, and one stated it was approved while he was still on the county board. Both are wrong. It was never approved.

Our previous article (here) discussed the July 2013 approval of the IDOT Airport Manager’s Handbook as “a guideline to develop their own policies for the airport” as noted on the Agenda and in the Minutes from that meeting.

After publishing the article, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request for the date-stamped coversheets of the IDOT Handbook and the Airport Policy. As I suspected, both were date-stamped and filed the same day. The only one of them that is legitimate is the Handbook, and only legitimate for the sole purpose of developing Edgar County airport policies.

From all appearances, both the handbook and the manual were filed with the Clerk’s office in an attempt at passing them both off as having been approved, which is not the case.

The actual policy has never been approved by the county board during an open meeting, therefore it is not a valid policy manual.

Once again, FOIA comes to the rescue! Using FOIA, as the Illinois State Legislature envisioned, helped us get to the bottom of which policies the airport can actually use – and this is not one of them.

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Edgar County – That pesky nonexistent Airport Policy Handbook –

Edgar Co., IL. (ECWd) –

In a previous article (here), we explained some of the history behind the Edgar County Airport Manager’s Handbook, aka Policy Manual, and the fact that it had never been approved at any meeting for use as the policy of the Edgar County Airport.

I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Edgar County Clerk asking for a copy of the minutes where this handbook was approved.

He responded with minutes from July 10, 2013 (approved at the August meeting), and since those minutes could have inadvertently used a word not intended, I asked for a copy of the July 2013 Agenda.

The July meeting was the meeting where the declaration of vacancy was announced after Chris Patrick resigned in June 2013.

On Page 5 of the July 2013 minutes, it clearly states, emphasis mine:

Airport. The Board approved IDOT’s Airport Manager’s Handbook as a guideline to develop their own policies for the Airport, on a motion by Farnham and a second by Voigt. All were in favor.

On Page 2 of the July 2013 agenda, it states:

18.  Approve IDOT Division of Aeronautics Airport Manager’s handbook as a guideline.

So the board approved the use of the “IDOT” Airport Manager’s Handbook, not the edited one Wells and Patrick dreamed up the month earlier, to use AS A GUIDLELINE in developing the Edgar County Airport Policy. The resolution/approval was not to adopt the handbook as policy, but instead to use it to aid in developing a policy to adopt at a later date.

The importance of this distinction, is that in the past couple of months references were made to this Handbook/Policy and using it as a tool to evict certain renters from hangars. Chris Patrick was adamant that it was approved while he was on the county board. He even pointed my direction while telling the airport board that I did not know what I was talking about, LOL. We proved him wrong, as usual, using FOIA. Jimmy Wells also insisted it was adopted, and he meant adopted as the county policy, which we also proved wrong with this FOIA request.

So, to Gary Henry, the so-called reporter working for a certain self-styled “news” paper, this is exactly one of the reasons the Freedom of Information Act was placed into law by the state legislature. This is not “abuse of FOIA”, it is “use” of FOIA – to keep citizens informed of the actions of their public bodies so we can report true and accurate information to the public.

Video from the July 8, 2014 county board study session reinforces their intent, which is to approve it “as a guideline to use to develop county airport policy“:

https://youtu.be/rhM0KVs-o4g

 

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Edgar Co. Airport Meeting – The Handbook & Changes coming on Advisory Board

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

Updated January 12, 2015 @ 7:43 a.m. to correct a quote…

Well, another exciting meeting behind us!

This Edgar County Airport Advisory Committee Meeting was held to discuss airport issues.

Some of those were:

County Board Member Lorenzen stated that there are changes coming to the Airport Board, whether it be dissolving it completely, making it larger, or simply writing its mission and procedures. This comes after Farnham decided he didn’t like how the recommended appointment to the advisory board was made, and that the County Board members of the airport committee were under no obligation to forward the name for the appointment the advisory board approved to forward…you know, change the rules when you don’t like them.

Members of the public discussed how things “used to be done” and how they wished for “the old days” to come back again where “they all got along” and “everything went just fine” ….until… “those guys”  started asking questions and demanding they follow the law. Of course no mention of the lying, bullying, more lying, and hiding of public financial records, or have to sue them in court to find out which statute they were operating the airport under. No. Nothing about that…

It’s all this following of statutes bit that they shouldn’t have to do, and, of course, those negative people that insist they follow the law.

Additionally, at the last meeting, I insisted they find out if they had to bid out the fuel purchases. But it appears they will attempt to ignore that part of the law too, forcing my hand on another lawsuit to demand compliance.

I will repeat this once again:

They know the law requires bidding the fuel purchases out, but are going to ignore it thinking the law will go away and no one will notice.

That is what they were all wishing to get back to, and Chris Patrick even said they needed to “get rid of those problems” (speaking of Bogue and I) – I don’t know if that was meant as a threat or simply a figure of speech.

“The Airport Manager’s Handbook”

Here we are visiting this again. The last airport meeting, Chris Patrick referenced the handbook, or policy manual, as a way to get rid of some of the leaseholders of the t-hangars. In tonight’s meeting, him and Jimmy Wells accused me of lying, and stated the manual was approved.

He thinks the handbook was approved when he was on the county board… LOL !

Here is the history of this “handbook” that C. Patrick was attempting to ram thru to extract payback on a certain leaseholder in 2013:

June 19, 2013
Airport Manager’s Handbook

Another document has surfaced, and they are calling it the “Edgar County Airport Policy Manual”, which, according to Jimmy Wells, is simply the IDOT Airport Manager’s Handbook with a few minor name changes made to it.

Since we know that the airport ADVISORY board has no power except to recommend items to the county board, this “Handbook” or “Policy Manual” has never been adopted for use. The IDOT version was mentioned in their meeting minutes almost a year ago, but it was never brought to the county board for adoption.

Why is this such a big issue? Because it changes the powers and duties of the airport manager, basically changing his employment conditions.

 

June 26, 2013

During a recent (June 24, 2013) County Board meeting he claimed the airport adopted the IDOT airport policy manual however when called out on that it apparently became clear that the policy manual he referenced was NEVER presented to the County Board to approve.  In fact, all indications are that is the last thing Patrick wanted to happen.

Fast forward a few weeks and now we have yet another Patrick created urgency to pass a “new” policy manual for the airport that he is claiming is all taken directly out of the IDOT manual, verbatim!

Napoleon now claims this new policy manual is going to be on the agenda for the next county board meeting because we can’t kick the can down the road any longer.

See the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXIsMiQeHzs

Farnham is talking about the manual and how it is not approved yet…

At 6:34 Voigt talks about a page or two missing from the manual he was handed

At 10:25 Chris Patrick talks about putting it (the manual) on the agenda for the next board meeting

July 29, 2013

This is around a month after C. Patrick resigned. – At the 20:00 minute mark, Farnham calls for an airport meeting to discuss things that include “policies”, meaning the manual…

The handbook, or manual, was never approved after this date either, but just to make sure, I will “abuse the FOIA process” again and submit a request for public records to the county clerk for a copy of any meeting minutes where this handbook was approved.

I know it was never approved, but I wish to get official verification and publish what I receive.

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Edgar County Airport’s Crosswind Runway Violated State Law –

Edgar Co., IL. (ECWd) –

The Crosswind Runway Project that the Edgar County Airport completed back in 2012, was approved and constructed in violation of state law.

The General County Airport and Landing Field Act, 620 ILCS 40, is the enabling statute for the Edgar County Airport.

In order to use land for the expansion of airport landing fields, the Act requires said land to be zoned for airport purposes. Edgar County does not have zoning.

The second paragraph in Section 1 of the Act states:

No land may be used for the expansion of airport landing fields until it has been zoned for airport purposes by the county or municipality having the zoning power over such land, as the case may be.

I suspect this will become an issue with past construction projects at the airport, and in future and pending airport projects.

From Day 1 we have continued to express the need for local public bodies to follow the law, not simply follow “how they have always done it”, because violating the law in order to accomplish things always comes back to bite, it is only a matter of time.

Edgar County does not have zoning. Edgar County cannot use land to expand airport landing fields. Period.

Any grants or loans they may have received in the past for such projects are subject to cancelation and repayment. The Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics, has the power to enforce Illinois Law in pertaining to aviation, such as the General County Airport and Landing Field Act:

20 ILCS 2705/2705-100. Aeronautics; transfer from Department of Aeronautics. The Department has the power to exercise, administer, and enforce, through a Division of Aeronautics, all rights, powers, and duties vested in the Department of Aeronautics by the Illinois Aeronautics Act. The Department has the power to regulate and supervise aeronautics in this State and to administer and enforce all laws of this State pertaining to aeronautics.

2016 will prove to be another exciting year.

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Edgar County Airport Board Nominates New Board Member –

Edgar Co., IL. (ECWd) –

The Edgar County Airport Advisory Board held its first meeting in three months, since the Airport Manager, Jerry Griffin, could never get the agenda posted in the required amount of time.

During the meeting, they discussed several names put forth to fill the seat vacated by JD Kessler, and ended up recommending Spencer Jobst as the name to bring in front of the county board to fill the vacancy. Jobst has been a member of the Casey, IL. Airport Advisory Board for almost 10 years, is a pilot, leases a hangar and owns an aircraft that is based at the Edgar County Airport.

There has notice given to the airport that their fuel supplier will immediately cease delivery of aircraft fuel due to their difficulties getting it from their suppliers. The board will search for a new company to purchase their fuel from. One thing they could look at is where the surrounding airports go to purchase their fuel, since all were using the same supplier.

Griffin stated the airport went almost $11,000 under budget this year, mostly due to less staffing expenses. Most present at the meeting were in favor of saving money wherever possible. Next year’s airport budget was reduced by around $10,000.

Griffin was put in the hot-seat again during public comment (by Chris Patrick) for not using the available budgeted funds to fix the remainder of the hangar posts or purchase a mower, and for his failure to collect “parlor fees” – those fees collected when crop dusters and others bring their own fuel into the airport instead of purchasing it from the airport.

Additionally, during public comment, Patrick asked Griffin about hangar leases requiring an airplane or tail number to be held within the hangar (which has never been a requirement), was asked about a “waiting list” of people wanting hangars and Griffin stated there were three on the waiting list. Another question was brought up about the requirement to have a tail number in the hangar in order to lease it – it was suggested that requirement was in the airport manager’s handbook, and even suggested the handbook was passed and approved by the county board (we do not believe that to be the case and will check to see if one was approved by the county board).

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Edgar Co. Airport Meeting & Kesler’s Resignation –

Edgar Co., IL. (ECWd) –

The Edgar County Airport Advisory Board Meeting was held on Monday, October 12, 2015.

During this meeting, County Board Chairman Jeff Voigt appointed County Board Member Derrick Lorenzen to replace him on the Airport Advisory Board. This is due to Voigt being elected as Chairman of the Edgar County Board.

There was discussion on the upcoming TIPS meeting in Springfield scheduled for next Tuesday. A TIPS meeting is for the purpose of reviewing upcoming projects of the airport.

(Former) Airport Board Member Kesler suggested that the Advisory Board be increased by an additional 2 people. We understand, though other sources, that his intention was to somehow get Chris Patrick and Jimmy Wells onto the board. This suggestion of 2 additional members was supported by Heltsley, however, any recommendation could not be made as this item was not on the meeting agenda.

The following day, I made an inquiry into several statements made by Kesler and sent him the below email at 12:35 p.m. Tuesday. In the email I talked about his voter registration, homestead exemptions, and his Statement of Economic Interest (front)(back). I followed it up with a text message at 2:50 p.m. asking him to read his email – and at 3:11 p.m. he sent his resignation to Voigt, Scheiner, and J. Griffin.

His response, in an email to me, was:

Good afternoon John,

As I alluded to last night at the meeting when discussing attendance at the TIP Meeting in Springfield next week, I made the statement that I would resign from the committee in order to attend as a member of the community. I made that resignation official as of today.

If you need anything further, let me know.

jd

Although he has resigned, attendance of the TIP’s meeting is not an option for a member of the community as it is not a public meeting.  We have been assured only two members of the Airport Advisory Board and the Airport Manager will be attending.

 

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Edgar County Airport Board Member Resigns –

Edgar County, Illinois (ECWd) –

Published Tuesday, October 13, 2015 @ 2149 hrs.

Early this afternoon, JD Kesler tendered his resignation from the Edgar County Airport Advisory Board.

It was “effective immediately”.

He sent the following email at 3:11 p.m. to Edgar County Board Chairman, Jeff Voigt, to the Edgar County Airport Advisory Board Chairman, Joe Scheiner, and to the Edgar County Clerk, Augie Griffin Airport “Manager”, Jerry Griffin:

This email is to inform you that effective immediately, I tender my resignation from the Airport Advisory Committee.
jd
J. D. Kesler

 

J-D-Kesler (WinCE)

J.D. Kesler