A request for the enterprise zone to be
extended to Elkhart Grain received tentative approval by a vocal
straw vote. There were many "ayes." No "nays" were discernable.
The board spent considerable time discussing two workers' comp
and property liability insurance proposals. One proposal was through
the current agent, Larry Bielema, who is with Callender and Co.,
Peoria, and would continue with the present carriers.
The other proposal has the support of the Illinois Association of
County Board Members and Commissioners. Kelly Murray, executive
director for that association, explained how the Counties of
Illinois Risk Management Agency insurance program got its start and
how it puts more control of the insurance matters in the hands of
the county board members. The reason this was set up was "to give
counties more purchasing power," she said.
This newer program, known as
comparable to the insurance program that most townships now use,
called TORMA, Murray said.
Rich Stokluska of Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services,
Itasca, explained how the company contracts with major insurance
companies with ratings A+ 15 to A 11 for the CIRMA program
Some board members were concerned about the newness of the
program. It called for a three-year contract with renewal rates that
could be changed beginning at 16 months.
Another discomfort to some board members was that the company
just now is in the process of filing its first-year's financials
with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional
Regulation. The figures would not available before the board needs
to make their decision.
While the matter was being discussed in committee, department
heads and county-affiliated agency managers were contacted and asked
to check with their constituents in other counties that have the
program now to ask how it is working for them.
Favorable comments were returned, including reports that claims
were handled with ease and swiftly and that rates had remained flat.
Rick Aylesworth, former insurance committee chairman, was asked
how the insurance was decided in the past. He explained that they
had looked into getting bids, but the cost of getting a bid spec was
prohibitive. A spec would not allow enough variability for most
benefit to the county either. In addition, costs continued to
decline, he said. The figure went from $291,000, to $272,000 and now
There is a $58,000 difference between the two proposals being
reviewed now, with CIRMA the lesser.
A motion of approval was made for each company and a straw vote
taken. The vote by voice was too ambiguous to discern. When a show
of hands was taken, only seven of 11 members voted. Other board
members said in advance that they felt they needed more time to
review the proposals. The vote swung on each motion, 3-4 and 4-3,
with the later indicating that on Tuesday the board would choose to
stay with Callender and Co.
During public comments, Vic Martinek, a citizen, asked, "With the
three-year contract, is there a termination clause?" He also
questioned, "Could we limit the exposure to increased costs by
setting a cap?"
Joel Smiley, executive director of the Lincoln & Logan County
Development Partnership, reported that progress continues on the
Logan County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. Community
meetings that gathered projects to list in the CEDS were completed.
Three of the smaller communities did not have representatives at
these meetings. He said it is important that all of Logan County's
communities be represented in the document. So, he and Bill Martin
will schedule additional meetings to go and meet with them in their
[to top of second column]
Smiley then gave a quick rundown on many of the current activities
the partnership is involved in.
company that specializes in structural foundation repair, has
been looking to build and considered Lincoln. This remains a
A few things have changed since Helitech made their first
approach. One factor that affected the negotiations was a shift
in the company's work force size. They would not have as many
jobs to offer as initially planned.
The partnership has been working with them in finding land and
incentives that would help bring them here. They are considering
acreage next to Wal-Mart, as well as looking around Bloomington.
RP Lumber has
reached an agreement with CVS, and a formal announcement is
Peebles has signed
an agreement with the property owner of Goody's. A public
announcement is expected on June 20, with a late August opening
Builder, a company
looking to build a 50-unit retired living complex, visited
Lincoln. This is a company has built other complexes around the
Chicago area and out of state as well.
Wind developers: A
major wind developer will be making a site visit in a week or
two. Through the Windpower 2009 conference in Chicago, Smiley
made 19 contacts with industry developers from manufacturing,
warehousing and distribution of parts to wind to electrical
production. Four or five of those are actively setting up for
site visits here.
incubator: It has been found that the program cannot offer tax
breaks to property owners. However, the project remains highly
beneficial to local businesses, as vacant stores would be
filled. One of the possibilities for this program could be a
company that manufactures wind turbine components. A company
that is looking for a site has plans to stop by Lincoln. The
business would have as many as 50 employees.
spoke with student entrepreneurs at the University of Illinois.
They have an Entrepreneur Club. He has been asked to speak at
one of their lunches and has been invited back for a panel
series this fall. The hope is to direct business startups to
Lincoln, particularly with the incubator program in place.
project: site visits to top 25-30 in Lincoln and Logan County. A
business retention program is expected to launch in late July.
The partnership is
making two changes to its
Web site. There is now an online survey for developers to
use. And, a monthly newsletter will be posted that includes
projects in process.