Planning for the celebration of Cole County's 200th anniversary in 2020 has begun.
At Tuesday's Cole County Commission meeting, commissioners heard from former presiding commissioner Marc Ellinger, who is heading the committee that will oversee the events.
Ellinger, whose father led the group that helped put together the celebration for the county's 150th anniversary, said events were held in communities throughout the county 50 years ago, in particular Marion, which was the first county seat. He said he thought it would be appropriate to start the 200th celebration with some ceremony or event in Marion and then go from town to town with other events.
Ellinger asked the commission if it could send him recommendations for people who could serve on the executive committee and technical committees. He believed it was critical to have at least one person from each of the communities in the county serving on these committees. Ellinger added he hoped to have these committees starting to meet within a couple of months.
The commission will start its budget work in August, and Ellinger asked the commission consider giving the anniversary effort some seed money. He believed once that happened, getting donations from groups and businesses would be easier.
Ellinger said he would report back to the commission on a regular basis about how efforts were going.
In other business, the commission learned the county was given a clean audit by Williams Keepers Accountants for 2017.
Company officials said the county had revenues of more than $42 million in 2017, compared to more than $40 million in 2016.
Expenses went up slightly from $37.7 million in 2017, compared to $37.6 million in 2016. All accounting records were found to be in good order.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, commissioners got a report showing capital sales tax revenue is up for the year by 2 percent. So far, the county has collected more than $3.1 million. Last year, the county collected nearly $6.4 million in that sales tax.
The EMS Sales Tax, which funds the operation of the county ambulance service, has so far collected $3.1 million. Last year, after the rollback, the county collected $2.4 million total in that sales tax.
The law enforcement sales tax, which funds the sheriff's department and jail, has collected $3.1 million so far. Last year, the county collected $6.3 million in that sales tax.