URBANA — A full agenda — including passage of the county's annual budget and property tax levy, more borrowing to operate the nursing home and joining an effort to oppose the dumping of PCBs at a landfill in Clinton — is before the Champaign County Board Tuesday evening (Nov. 8).
The board also will consider a resolution to name the federal courthouse in Urbana for the late Champaign County State's Attorney James Burgess and will vote on a contract extension with County Administrator Deb Busey.
The meeting of the county board's committee of the whole will begin at 6 p.m. at the Brookens Administrative Center, 1776 E. Washington St., U.
The property tax levy for fiscal year 2012, beginning Dec. 1, is nearly $28 million, an increase of 1.8 percent or $492,065 over the current year. Much of the increase, according to Busey, is the result of higher Social Security payments for some county employees.
The county again will issue about $850,000 in tax anticipation warrants to help the county nursing home through another cash flow crisis. The money, to be borrowed against property tax payments due next spring, has to be paid in June 2012.
"This is the third or fourth year we've had to do this," Busey said. "The nursing home may borrow, by law, up to 85 percent of its total levy. Cash flow is a serious problem right now. It's always been for cash flow. But it's a more severe situation this year than in the past."
The state has fallen behind in its payments to nursing homes, and as of Aug. 31, the institution owed vendors more than $2.7 million.
The county board also is being asked to renew a $333,142 loan made in 2008 to the nursing home. That loan, made from the county's general corporate fund, has to be renewed every year by law.
Earlier this year, nursing home officials pledged to make a small monthly payment on the loan but have been unable to do so because of the state's lack of prompt payments.
"That commitment was made about the same time the cash flow issue came up, so it hasn't been done yet," Busey said. "But it has been built into next year's (nursing home) budget that they will pay that down by about $1,000 a month."
The board also will vote on a proposal to join with a number of other central Illinois municipalities, including the cities of Champaign, Urbana, Peoria, Decatur and Bloomington, and possibly others, to oppose allowing a landfill in Clinton to accept polychlorinated biphenyls. Dumping the known cancer-causing agents at the landfill, according to the cities, would jeopardize the Mahomet aquifer, a source of water for much of central Illinois.
But EPA geologists have concluded that disposing PCBs at the landfill would not adversely affect water supplies.
It is unclear how much the legal fight would cost the county, although it and the other governments would pay the two lead attorneys in the case $175 an hour for their work.
Other items on Tuesday's county board agenda include a resolution urging U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, to support naming the federal courthouse in Urbana for Burgess, a U.S. Army veteran and the first African-American countywide officeholder in Champaign County; the proposed appointments of LaShunda Hambrick, Peter Czajkowski and Catherine Emanuel to the county nursing home board; and acceptance of a final payment of $9,083 from the county's insurer for replacement of a decorative piece that fell from the courthouse spire in a storm this spring.
The board also will vote on a two-year extension of Busey's contract with the county to Dec. 1, 2015. Now paid about $125,000 a year, she would receive annual 3 percent raises for each of the next four years, plus a total of $25,000 in deferred compensation payments in 2013 and 2014.