Morgan, Scott Continue Shared Highway Engineer Agreement

By Jeremy Coumbes on June 28, 2023 at 10:28am

Morgan and Scott Counties are renewing a joint agreement to share some major infrastructure management.

The Morgan County Commissioners unanimously approved a new intergovernmental agreement with Scott County for highway engineer services during their regular meeting Monday morning.

More than a decade ago, the two counties entered into an agreement to share the county engineer’s services, saving both counties a considerable amount of money.

The Commissioners also approved a new employment agreement with County Engineer Matt Coultas. The Scott County Board of Commissioners approved their portions of the agreement during their regular meeting last week.

Morgan County Commissioner Chair Ginny Fanning says the partnership with Scott County has been a big plus for both entities.

In 2012 the boards for Scott and Morgan County approved this, what at that point was a tentative agreement to have this joint venture with our county highway engineer. It’s been extremely successful. We’ve both been very pleased with the work that Mr. Coultas has given to both counties and the roads are in great shape. We’re pleased with the projects and the way he’s handled things.

So that all means that it was time at this point to perhaps reconsider looking at that and updating the intergovernmental agreement, which is what both boards have approved and then changing his compensation accordingly.”

Currently, both counties pay Coultas approximately 60% of the salary suggested by IDOT. The new six-year employment agreement will see that gradually increase until he is compensated at the 100% level.

Due to the two counties sharing an engineer, they qualified to each pay the 60% rate and also reimbursed 50% of Coultas’s salary through County Service Rural Transportation Funds.

Of the three current Morgan County Commissioners, only Brad Zeller was on the board at the time the intergovernmental agreement was first made. Fanning said Zeller played a large role at the time in organizing the relationship.

Scott County Commissioner Bob Schafer says his board has also been very pleased with what started out as a tentative, trial arrangement to share the county engineer.

As Morgan County has stated this is an agreement that has worked real well. It’s hard to believe it’s been twelve years, I’ll be honest with you. I guess Brad [Zeller] and I were the only ones still left on the Commissioner’s side of it when it was put into place twelve years ago.

So it was time and it has worked well. It would cost Scott County a lot more if we had our own. And we look at it that the arrangement has worked. We haven’t had any issues and it seems like it’s good for both counties.”

Fanning says the new intergovernmental agreement has some minor changes in the language but is essentially the same document as the first. The updated agreement provides for the continued sharing of the engineer through 2029.