Jail study to cost more, take longer

Jail study to cost more, take longer

URBANA — A long-awaited jail-needs assessment study will be delivered to the Champaign County Board in September and at a higher cost, the county board decided Thursday.

The study of the county's corrections system originally was to have been submitted in May at a cost of $120,000. It now will cost $145,000.

The change was approved without debate and by voice vote.

County board Democrats, in a caucus meeting before the regular session, said the revised schedule and cost was appropriate in order to get a more thorough report from the Berkeley, Calif.-based Institute for Law and Policy Planning. The ILPP report now will include the recommendations of a community justice task force, a report which is to be unveiled next Tuesday.

The Democrats defended the contract revisions with ILPP and its director, Alan Kalmanoff.

"We have basically changed his work order. We're changing things up on him," said Champaign Democrat Michael Richards. "What's changed is we decided to integrate the task force report in."

Board Chairman Alan Kurtz, a Champaign Democrat, said the additional $25,000 cost "is a minor percentage of what could be the savings down the road."

He said that "spending a little extra money to fold in both reports is absolutely essential in my mind."

The board also voted to raise the county's potential share of funding in the intergovernmental effort to challenge a federal EPA decision to allow the disposal of PCBs at the Clinton landfill. The landfill, about 40 miles west of Champaign, sits over the Mahomet Aquifer, which supplies water to Champaign-Urbana and many surrounding communities. Originally set at $14,000, the county's share of funding for the legal effort now will be capped at $17,000.

So far, the county has been billed about $8,000 for the work, said County Administrator Deb Busey.

After a lengthy debate about the $3,000 increase, an irate Kurtz chastised his colleagues.

"We're going to sit here and worry about $3,000 — a pittance — when we have such a big issue?" he said.

Mahomet Republican Gary Maxwell called the aquifer "a critical resource that we have to protect."

The additional cost is related to a change in legal strategy, Assistant State's Attorney Joel Fletcher said, that now includes filing a citizen's complaint.

Board members also approved a number of appointments, including Sarah Livesay of St. Joseph to the Champaign County Forest Preserve District board; Betty Segal of Rantoul and David Thies of Champaign to the county board of health; and Susan Suter of Champaign to the developmental disabilities board.

The county board also voted to increase the size of the developmental disabilities board from three to five members.

Three of the board's 22 members were absent from the meeting: Democrats James Quisenberry and Ralph Langenheim and Republican Diane Michaels.

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rsp wrote on June 21, 2013 at 9:06 am

It feels like we are being surrounded by people who want our water or to do things to it. Everyone of them is hiding things from us or being dishonest about something. People just think it's always going to be there. 

billbtri5 wrote on June 21, 2013 at 11:06 am

it's troubling that the Federal Government is not even under the control of Congress, as evidenced in recent hearings...

Squirrel wrote on June 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm

So the County has to pay extra for a thorough report? What's going on here? This consultant comes to us from Berkeley, as in California. Seems like the consultant is already significantly more costly than other consultants interviewed by the County. If we read between the lines it appears insufficient attention was given to the "local community task force" which implies either (1) he's deaf since that one-note task force has repeated their position many times or (2) the position of the task force is not supported by facts.

If this extra money is simply a means to give the task force more time then it seems like a waste of county money. Sems the task force didn't like the conclusions so they're going to force a rewrite until it says what they want. We could've got their "report" for nothing....


pattsi wrote on June 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Several points of clarification, first did you read the statement made by Michael Richards quoted in the article. This pretty well covers the reasons along with some health issues that came into play both with the consultant and county administrator. The consult is not significantly more costly than the others who turned in proposals. Go to the county web site and review that data. Your points # 1 & 2 are way off base--a concensus was reached that it is in the best interest to have the two reports integrated, the TF has worked hard to collect facts--this report is now up on the county web site, do read it--and the consultant is not deaf--he has talked with a large group of community members over this period of time--you can find this data in various CB minutes.

The TF does not need more time--this TF is scheduled to report to the CB this coming Tuesday at Brookens, 6 P. By all means come to this study session. There will be time for public input. Last, I am not aware that either entity, the consultant or TF have commented that they did not like the other's report.

Since I have attended all of the TF meetings, I am certain that you have not so you are not commenting from primary source data.

787 wrote on June 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Of course, nothing with Champaign County government ever costs less, and takes less time.

CU62 wrote on June 22, 2013 at 11:06 am

This is a huge waste of money. 

You mean neither report can be read or understood unless they are bound together at the price of $25,000? 

Majority Board members clearly lack something in the common sense arena, which makes you wonder about their thought processes in general.

They obviously have little regard for the taxpayer's hard-earned tax dollar.