Board members passed the resolution which is expected to raise property taxes “a couple pennies” and allow the county to borrow the money today that it will need in the future to pay for health insurance claims at very cheap interest rates.
The vote was 22-4 with board members Arratta Znaniecki (R-Ottawa), Tom Walsh (D-Ottawa), Mike Sheridan (R-Streator) and David Zielke (R-Leland) voting against.
“To me, I’d love to have bought all the gas I would need six years ago and still be using it,” said health insurance committee member Marius Derango. “That’s a lot like what this is.”
The county’s self-insurance program began in 2004 when the county board agreed to sell $8.4 million in bonds to bankroll the program. Insurance officials estimate the county saves taxpayers between $400,000 and $500,000 annually over the cost of traditional insurance.
This will be the third time the county has borrowed money to fund the program — mostly because bond rates are historically cheap right now.
But having three bonds worth many millions of dollars in debt on the financial books wasn’t very appealing to the four board members who voted against.
“This to me is massive debt and I hate having debt,” said Znaniecki, who serves as finance committee chairman. “I know we may lose out on the interest, but we’ll have three major outstanding bonds on our books.”
In other business:
n Board members passed several zoning changes which include omitting the requirement for a four-foot fence around swimming pools and allowing small trucking companies of no more than 5 trucks to apply for special use permits to construct such businesses in unincorporated areas of the county, among others.
n Board members recognized Paige Collins, an Earlville Junior High School student and Alex Valdez, an Earlville High School student, for their academic and extracurricular achievements.
n Board members approved the following re-ppointments: Timothy Armstrong, Allen Township Fire District trustee; Dennis Tomaszewski, Dimmick-Peru Rural FPD trustee; and Cyril Moroni, Lostant Rural FPD trustee.
Kevin Caufield can be reached at (815) 220-6932 or email@example.com.