A mass notification system has been installed in Piatt County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Holmes told the county board May 13 that the next step is training.

“The Hyper Reach mass notification system is live. I took the training, and now we need to get the administrators trained on what groups we want,” said Holmes, who said he would publish a sign-up campaign soon with information on how the public could opt in for notifications.

The purchase is part of a $35,000 addition made to the EMA budget by the county board last month. It allows those who take part to receive county notices by phone, text and/or email, and also posts notices on social media.

The system is similar Thrillshare used by the Monticello school system and CivicReady, which the City of Monticello uses to notify residents in one phone call, email, or text.

Emergency plan approved

Holmes also told the board the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has approved the county’s emergency operations plan.

“It now adequately represents the assets that we have and the resources we have available, and it makes us accredited within the state, and makes us eligible for state and federal grants and training reimbursements,” said Holmes.

Approval came from IEMA Regional Coordinator Iris Ducey on May 4.

“The EOP approval is effective for a term of two years. Therefore, in accordance with the IEMA Region 7 EOP review schedule, your next EOP review is due to be completed no later than April 15, 2022,” Ducey said in the approval letter.

Next up for the county EMA is drafting a documented exercise program, which will cover a four-year cycle.

In other action, the board:

— approved a variance allowing Antonio Musumeci to erect a 20-by-24-foot shed 36 feet from his back property line and 12.5 feet from his side property limits. A variance was needed since county ordinance requires buildings to be 50 feet from the back and 25 feet from side property lines;

— approved three motions regarding the operation of Piatt County Transportation’s federal 5311 grant, which will total $81,636 this year;

— approved the purchase of a new Sheriff’s Department squad vehicle for approximately $26,000 from Bill Abbott Chevrolet in Monticello;

— Approved the appointments of Ron Bartlett and Paula Heath to the county board of review; and Kathleen Lattz to the Piatt County Housing Authority; and

— After an executive session, approved a $2,000 raise for the Circuit Clerk position, plus 2 percent raises per year after that. The salary of that elected office is less than the others that are set by the county board.