Monday, March 28, 2011
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Health insurance increase to be shared; other reports

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[March 28, 2011] 

InsuranceHealth insurance plan approved

Health Alliance representative Ericka Williams explained renewal options. Through the end of January, three-quarters of the insurance year, the county's health plan with Health Alliance had a $283,000 loss in claims -- more paid out than taken in on premiums -- and still to come, there are 16 people with high-cost claims of over $10,000, five of those over $40,000 in claims and three with $80,000 to $100,000 pending.

Looking back at what happened, it was seen that some employees would have benefited more from a different plan that would have offered network discounts from health providers. Those on PPO would have had lower costs on the POS-C plans.

All calculated, the county would have seen a 25 percent increase to this year's rate. But through options, a better plan was developed.

Currently, the county is paying $391 per employee. This would become $415 per month paid for each employee's insurance. This is the POS-C plan and splits the cost of the 12 percent increase between the employee and the county.

The PPO-1000, a higher deductible plan, would still be an available option with the employee paying the difference.

Finance chairman Chuck Ruben said the insurance would cost the county $89,000 more for this fiscal year.

During the board-of-whole straw vote Andy Anderson said "no." When the official vote came during the adjourned session, Anderson said that after everything was explained to him, he thought Jan Schumacher and the insurance committee, Nancy Schaub of Roger Garrett Insurance, and Williams of Health Alliance did an excellent job of finding a way to hold down the costs to only a 12 percent increase.

The board unanimously approved the recommended health insurance plan.

Schumacher said the Illinois Association of County Board Members has a study group to look at possible health insurance options. This will be watched and looked into next year.

Energy contract

Building and grounds chair Terry Carlton recommended extending the current Ameren contract two more years. He said that signing a new energy contract with Ameren would lock in a rate that is 12.5 percent lower than what is being paid now.

The board approved.

Tax anticipation warrants

The board approved the lowest of three bids at a 0.75 percent rate to borrow $400,000 in tax anticipation warrants. The bid came from Illinois National Bank, formerly the First National Bank of Mount Pulaski.

High-speed rail

High-speed rail construction is expected to resume in Logan County the first week of April, beginning in Elkhart, and is expected to start coming through Lincoln approximately April 18. Typically closures are three to five days unless there is a temporary provision with a special crossing made.

The board unanimously approved a letter of support for the high-speed rail committee to include with its recommendations and requests.

Job training

U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut funding to workforce investment. The measure is subject to approval by the Senate. Schumacher said this is funding for training people who need jobs. Schumacher said she would keep a watch on this.

Area planning

Pat O'Neill noted that Lincoln is planning to begin its own comprehensive plan. He recalled that just a few years ago a Lincoln and Logan County Comprehensive Plan was created, and he wondered what the difference would be.

Board member Bill Martin, who chairs the Logan County Regional Planning Commission, was part of the team that oversaw the development of that plan.

Martin explained that the plan created a few years ago included input from all the communities in the county.

"When we talked it over, we decided it would be good if we were all together and we could agree on what direction we'd like to go as a county," he said. That plan is wide-ranging.

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He said that when you get to the segments with objectives and procedures, the plan stops just short of filling in the details of what communities might do. It was understood then that each community would be a little different and have a different approach to deciding their most important needs.

That is what Lincoln and any other communities could do now, he said -- fill in those details.

Martin added that the planning commission has selected new officers. Bill Graff was voted chairman; Jim Fuhrer, vice chairman; and Dave Evans, treasurer. Three new members are being sought to bring the commission back to full membership.

Waste management

Pat O'Neill said that waste management would offer personal document shredding during the upcoming Community Health Fair at the Lincoln Park District center on Saturday, April 2.

Recycling costs have jumped from $470 to $604 per container dump. Estimates sought from another provider were much higher.


Appointments were unanimously approved with 12 voting in favor:

  • Glenn Shelton to the ETSB board

  • Norma Bathe to the ETSB board

  • Amy Wertheim to the board of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County

  • Andy Anderson to the Logan County Sports Commission, beginning March 1


Geoff Ladd, executive director for Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau, said that the bureau has been focusing on the new sports commission efforts. There was a follow-up meeting following the kick-off and officers have been elected.

Main Street

Wanda Lee Rohlfs, executive director of Main Street Lincoln, brought samples of the black metal silhouettes of Abraham Lincoln to be used with brackets and sponsorship name plaques to support hanging baskets. This is a project in its first year that would place flowering baskets on 12 poles surrounding the Logan County Courthouse.

Lincoln Community High School students are cutting the metal silhouettes of Abraham Lincoln and people from the Master Gardener program will plant the flowers in baskets. Big R will supply the water wagon, and Ace will supply the flowers.

A dedication of the new downtown embellishments will be in conjunction with the Honest Abe's BBQ Cook-off scheduled for June 11.


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