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Amboy gets funds from county after all

Money helps fund community center

DIXON – Last fall, the Lee County Board denied money to Amboy for its community center because the city had missed the deadline to apply.

On Tuesday, the board reversed itself.

For years, the county has given money to Amboy to run the center, which provides programs for senior citizens. The funding comes from a $100,000 senior tax levy, most of which goes to the Dixon senior center.

The county contended Amboy had failed to submit a request for funding. The deadline was missed, officials say, because the paperwork had been mailed to the community center, not to City Hall.

Last month, the County Board’s Finance Committee recommended the county give Amboy $7,077. That money was relinquished by the Tri-County Opportunities Council when it ended its Community Care program.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, member Wes Morrissey, D-Amboy, said the county money typically makes up 20 percent of the budget to run the community center. Without it, he said, the center’s budget would be in the red. He proposed giving the city $5,000.

“We have an opportunity to do some good,” he said.

Member Bill Palen, R-Dixon, said that although he didn’t want to penalize Amboy for an oversight, he worried about setting a precedent.

Assistant State’s Attorney Matt Klahn said money became available in the middle of the fiscal year. Given the new circumstances, he said, the county could give it to Amboy and stay consistent with its policies.

“I don’t believe you would be setting a precedent,” he said.

In a voice vote, the board supported giving the $5,000. A few members were heard to vote no.

County looks for income

Also at Tuesday's Lee County Board meeting:

• Arlan McClain, R-Dixon, chairman of the board's Finance Committee, said he hoped to have a preliminary budget ready by September.

"We're looking on how we can invest the county's money in a secure way and bring more income to the county," he said.

The new fiscal year starts Dec. 1.

• The board affirmed Chairman Rick Ketchum's appointment of Paul McMahon as regional superintendent of schools for Lee and Ogle counties. He replaces Amy Jo Clemens, who has taken a state job overseeing $2 billion in education grants. McMahon was the assistant regional superintendent.

• The board met behind closed doors for more than a half hour to discuss litigation. After the session, members voted to give officials the authority to take action in relation to the litigation, which they didn't identify. Recently, nearly 60 residents sued the county over a wind farm the board approved in May.

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