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.