Board of Review picks deferred; roundabout opposed
But vote on Olympian Drive project opposes roundabout intersection
URBANA — Champaign County Board members Thursday night deferred action on possibly replacing two of the three members of the Champaign County Board of Review.
The decision came after county board Chairman C. Pius Weibel nominated board of review Chairman Wayne Williams for another term on the panel that hears appeals of property assessments. Several board members, both Democrats and Republicans, said they would oppose Williams' reappointment.
The board didn't even address Weibel's nomination of Mark Whitsitt to replace Steve Bantz as the Republican member.
Also, after hours of debate over the course of several meetings, the county board went on record as opposing placing a traffic roundabout at the intersection of Olympian Drive and Lincoln Avenue north of Urbana.
The board voted 18-7 Thursday night to advise the city of Urbana that it would prefer a standard intersection design at the intersection.
But since Urbana is paying for much of the project, it can choose the design it wants. Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing recently indicated she would still prefer placing the city's first roundabout at the rural intersection.
But nearly all of the board's Republicans and eight of the 14 Democrats present voted for a traditional intersection design.
"If Urbana wants a feather in their cap, they should put a roundabout at Five Points (the intersection of University and Cunningham avenues)," said rural Sadorus Republican Jon Schroeder.
"It's just the location of this roundabout that seems ridiculous to me," said Champaign Democrat Alan Kurtz.
"I think those safety strips .. or flashing lights would be a lot less expensive than putting in a roundabout in a rural area," said Mahomet Republican Stephanie Holderfield. But a few Democrats defended their use, some arguing that roundabouts are safer.
"I don't know if this is a situation for a roundabout, but I don't think we should automatically rule it out," said Champaign Democrat Michael Richards.
Meanwhile, in a quarterly report to the county board, Champaign County Nursing Home manager Michael Scavotto said that the Illinois Medicaid program cuts approved by the Legislature Thursday were much less severe than anticipated.
At one time, Scavotto said he had projected a $300,000 reduction in Medicaid reimbursements; under the bill approved Thursday, the loss will be about $90,000.
Those legislative cuts still are dependent, however, on lawmakers also approving a $1-a-pack cigarette tax increase that would generate about $700,000.
For the first quarter of the fiscal year that began Dec. 1, said Scavotto, the nursing home ended $36,000 in the black.
The board also approved the appointment of Margaret Chaplan of Champaign to the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District board and the reappointment of Jerry Lyke of Champaign to the Urbana & Champaign Sanitary District board.
A number of other appointments also were approved, including members to the new local foods policy council.
Two of 27 board members were absent from Thursday's meeting, Democrat Lorraine Cowart and Republican Ron Bensyl.