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URBANA — Champaign County’s non-union employees will be getting a raise next year.

County board members voted 11-7 on Thursday night to approve salary hikes, which will go into effect Jan. 1.

Under the resolution, all non-union employees — excluding those of the Regional Planning Commission — will receive a 3.1 percent across-the-board wage increase. Also, the salary ranges for those employees will go up 3 percent at the same time.

Meanwhile, those workers will start paying 14 percent of the cost of the single-plan premium for their health insurance, while the county will contribute $70 per month toward the cost of dependent coverage.

“Health care is important. The ability to have health care is important,” said county board member Stephanie Fortado.

The salary increase will affect about 116 county employees, County Executive Darlene Kloeppel said.

A Republican alternative plan — which called for a 3.25 percent pay raise, 16 percent employee contribution toward premiums and a $75 county contribution to dependent coverage — was defeated, 11-7.

In other business, the board voted unanimously to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the cities of Champaign and Urbana, the village of Savoy and the University of Illinois for the purchase and maintenance of tornado-warning sirens.

The Champaign County Emergency Management Agency will work with a provider of early-warning sirens that will be linked with the National Weather Service’s early-warning system.

Agency coordinator John Dwyer said this development is the result a yearlong process that began after sirens failed to sound in southwest Champaign during a severe-weather event.

The change involves an upgrade from a manually triggered analog system to a digital one that will sound the sirens automatically based on weather service data.

“It will bring us into the 21st century, and it is a matter of public safety,” Dwyer said.

Under the agreement, the county will serve as the fiscal agent for jointly purchasing and maintaining the sirens.

“A village our size cannot afford things like these on our own,” said Savoy Assistant Village Manager Levi Kopmann.

The board also voted unanimously to appoint Bobbi Herakovich to the Champaign County Forest Preserve Board. Her term will run through June 30, 2024.

This marked the first meeting following Democrat Tanisha King-Taylor's resignation, though her name was still called when the roll was taken. She took a job at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, earlier this year, and hadn’t attended any board meetings since then.


Tim Mitchell is a reporter at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@mitchell6).