SB40 Board elects new leaders, changes name

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Cape Girardeau County SB40 Board elected new leaders Tuesday and will explore hiring someone to handle day-to-day duties as it seeks to expand the range of services it funds from a dedicated property tax.

The board also changed its name to better reflect its mission -- it will now be known as the Cape County Board for Developmentally Disabled -- and accepted the resignation of its longtime leader, Robert Landgraf, due to illness.

Landgraf's resignation makes the fourth from the nine-member board since May 1. Dory Johnson, vice president of the board, has been learning to lead the nine-member body in Landgraf's absence and was elected to a one-year term as board president. Johnson was reappointed to a new three-year term on the board last week by the Cape Girardeau County Commission, as was Arlysse Popp, who was elected board treasurer.

During the 75-minute open meeting Tuesday, Johnson said board has discovered a new issue involving its assets. In 1996, the board allocated $441,000 to construct a group home and issued a check for $222,419 for the project. The records, which had been kept in a shoebox by former board member Don Hanscom, do not indicate where the money is now or if it was ever used.

The board collects a countywide property tax that raises about $870,000 a year. It contracts with VIP Industries, the most common name for four major not-for-profit entities, for sheltered workshop, residential and transportation services for the developmentally disabled.

The new problem is in addition to questions about the ownership of industrial property in Cape Girardeau and Fruitland now occupied by VIP Industries, which currently owns the property according to county records. The property had been deeded to the county almost 20 years ago but because no action was taken by the county commission at that time, the deed was never recorded. The board wants those properties in its name.

Hilary Schmittzehe, chief executive of all four not-for-profits, said in an interview that he, too, was unsure what happened to the money allocated in 1996. The organization's housing arm, Regency Management Inc., operates a group home in Cape Girardeau as well as apartment buildings in Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Marble Hill, Mo. The Cape Girardeau group home was built in 1978 with funds from the board, which were paid back through money obtained from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Schmittzehe said.

Another open seat

The resignation of Landgraf creates another opening to be filled by the county commission. Landgraf, who helped found VIP, has been president of the board since its creation. In his resignation letter, Landgraf noted that when the board was established, it first met in an abandoned building on Good Hope Street and borrowed $100 to get started.

"There has been much talk about our reserves but if we lose funds from the state, it could be depleted in a hurry," he wrote. "The same would be true if we chose to build another group home without state help."

Along with reappointing Johnson and Popp, the commission gave Ruth Ann Dickerson a full term and appointed Brian Noack, an employee of the Perry County SB40 Board, and Dixie McCollum to finish unexpired terms. During discussion of an executive director, Noack said the person hired could help the board determine what new services it could afford as well as handle other pressing duties. The board decided to review the duties assigned to a director in other counties as well as assess the costs associated with having an employee.


Pertinent address:

1330 Southern Expressway, Cape Girardeau, MO

5616 U.S. 61, Jackson, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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