By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- The Pike County Board has pledged to continue using its assets to fight floodwaters.
Board Chairman Andy Borrowman signed a proclamation Friday authorizing the use of county employees and equipment for seven days to battle flooding on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Extending the proclamation required board approval, and board members Monday authorized another seven days, until May 3.
The board heard an update on the flood-fighting effort, focused now on the Illinois River, and the cost.
"Since Friday, through the close of Monday, I estimate it's cost us about $5,000," County Engineer Chris Johnson said.
David Greenwood, the county's emergency management coordinator, asked highway department employees to haul sand and sandbags to help fight the rising water.
"We've been hauling sand from the Saverton Dam to the prison camp and to the Chambersburg/Valley City bottoms. We also haul sandbags from the work camp to the same bottoms, and we hauled some to U.S. 54 where they closed the road by Champ Clark Bridge," Johnson said. "We keep getting requests. They need six loads. They need 10 loads, depending what they're dealing with in those different areas."
Up to five highway department employees have worked since Friday on the flood effort, and Johnson expects they will continue to help the rest of this week, with most of their time spent driving.
"It's a long haul from the Saverton Dam to the Valley City area," Johnson said.
Fighting the flood is diverting funds that could be used for road maintenance and improvements, Borrowman said. If the flood is declared a national disaster, the county could be eligible for reimbursement.
In other action, board members:
º Heard an update in closed session on contract negotiations with sheriff's department employees and courthouse/government building employees.
º Recertified the county with the Illinois Office of Tourism.
º Made several fire protection district trustee appointments -- Herman Allensworth and Bryan Koeller in New Canton, Lester Vincent and Larry Moore in Hull-Kinderhook, Larry Spencer in North Pike and Jeff Hart in Barry. All will serve three-year terms.