St. Clair County Board replaces two members following resignations

News-DemocratApril 29, 2013 

The St. Clair County Board approved appointing two new board members to replace Willie McIntosh (D-Washington Park) and Carl A. Gomez (D-Fairmont City). Gomez and McIntosh were both elected in unopposed elections in November.

The board announced the vacancies and approved the appointments during the same meeting on Monday. McIntosh resigned his post representing Washington Park effective May 20, and Gomez resigned his seat representing Fairmont City and part of Collinsville effective April 22.

McIntosh said he has enjoyed serving residents for the past 16 years on the board and his resignation was necessary to keep his pension from being decreased.

McIntosh lost his seat as supervisor of Canteen Township during the April election. By resigning his post on the County Board, he avoided a decrease to his pension with the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

The state-created pension fund uses a four-year average of an elected official's earnings to determine their retirement payout. Should McIntosh have kept the board seat until the end of his term in December 2014, his $18,000-plus annual county board salary would have lowered his earnings average currently bolstered through his township supervisor earnings of about $39,000.

McIntosh's wife, Joan I. McIntosh, will fill his seat. Joan McIntosh is a trustee for the village of Washington Park and worked as a nurse for 38 years at St. Mary's and Touchette hospitals until 2011.

Gomez has been a member of the board since 1990. Gomez said he just turned 75 years old and "it was time to get out." He declined to comment further about his resignation.

Robert L. Allen Jr., of Fairmont City, was sworn in on Monday to fill the seat vacated by Gomez. Allen is the fire chief of Fairmont City and a general manager at Thomas Garage in Fairmont City.

Gomez's term was set to expire December 2014 as well.

In other news, the board also approved seeking to collect about $842,000 less in property taxes from residents compared to last year. To do so, the board abated 44 percent of the amount of property taxes the county could have sought from residents this summer.

The board seeks to collect about $32 million in property taxes from residents -- about $25.1 million less than the $57.1 million levy the county approved last fall. The abatement should keep property tax bills similar to last year when the board decreased its levy as well. The board has regularly abated its tax levy for years.

The county has "alternate sources of funding available" decreasing the county's reliance upon property taxes from residents, according to the board-approved resolution abating the taxes.

The county receives a fraction of residents' total property tax bills with school districts collecting the most. For example, the owner of a $150,000 home paid about $457 in property taxes to the county last year. In comparison, such a homeowner in Belleville paid $1,630 to Belleville School District No. 118.

The county's tax rate has not been set yet, according to St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney.

The board also approved appointing Anne Markezich as the new director of the county's Building and Zoning Department. The former director of the department, Mike Mitchell, retired on April 26.

Markezich has been an employee in the department since 1994 and previously served as an office manager.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

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