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County to recoup half its losses in Wal-Mart deal

October 28, 2009

News and notes from the Oct. 22 Winnebago County Board meeting

By Stuart R. Wahlin

Staff Writer

The Winnebago County Board unanimously approved a resolution to execute an agreement with Wal-Mart to recoup some of the money the county lost after the mega-chain had a change of plans.

As part of its original 2006 agreement with Wal-Mart, the county agreed to contribute $170,000 for road improvements related to a planned expansion of the store’s original location near Perryville Road and State Street.

The company later scrapped its expansion plan, instead moving to a nearby location, and the county was left holding two homes the Highway Department had purchased in anticipation of the original expansion project.

The pair of homes on Mill Road cost the county $196,000, plus closing costs of $6,000 when the deteriorated properties sold at a loss of $99,000 in 2008.

Per the new agreement, the amount owed by the county for the aforementioned improvements was reduced by $52,500.

Resolutions:

Awarding proposals for pharmacy benefits management services to Express Scripts, Inc., of Chicago, for a $1.60 administration fee per claim, plus a $1 dispensing fee.

Renewing an agreement with Silverscript, of Scottsdale, Ariz., for pharmaceutical services for Medicare over-65 supplements at a rate of $154 per month for retirees. The cost reflects a 4 percent increase from 2009.

Renewing an agreement with Cleveland-based Infinity Trust for the administration of a Medicare supplemental insurance plan at a rate of $223.15 per month for retirees, plus $12 monthly for administration of the plan. The cost has increased by 9.77 percent from 2009.

Awarding a $41,040 bid for elevator maintenance to Schumacher Elevator Company of Denver, Iowa.

Awarding agreements for garbage collection to Veolia ES Solid Waste-Midwest, of Davis Junction, and Rock River Disposal.

Awarding agreements for paper products to Pro-Source Distributors and Harder Corp., both of Rockford.

Awarding a $42,135 agreement with Arc Design Resources for engineering services related to the intersection of Perryville and Spring Creek roads.

Awarding proposals for medical services for county inmates to the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford at rates of $150,660.72 per month for adults, or $1,807,928.58 per year, and $9,963.68 per month for juveniles, or $119,564.14 per year.

Awarding a bid for prime vendor food service to Gordon Food Service, of Grand Rapids, Mich., at a rate of 4.75 percent above cost.

Awarding a $337,800 bid to Rockford Structures Construction, of Machesney Park, for a sprinkler project as part of renovations to River Bluff Nursing Home.

Unanimously supporting Illinois House Bill 4628, which would provide protections for auto dealers from manufacturers who pull their franchises. The bill passed the Illinois Senate and is now before the House.

Resolutions to settle claims by county employees:

Sandra Heins was awarded $50,000 for permanent disability while employed at River Bluff Nursing Home.

Lilly Hayden-Milloro was awarded $30,000 for an injury sustained while employed at River Bluff Nursing Home.

Steve Johnson was awarded $123,882.50 for permanent disability related to his employment with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department.

Kenneth Frickson was awarded $43,253.87 for permanent disability related to employment in the Sheriff’s Department.

Connie Chiarelli, an employee of the circuit clerk’s office, was awarded $15,451.26 for permanent disability.

Public comments

Frank Schier, editor and publisher of The Rock River Times, urged board members to tread carefully as a proposed wind farm ordinance would come before them later in the night.

“I thought about how difficult the dilemma must be,” Schier said, “when you must choose between the special interest you know will help get you elected to continue to serve your constituents, and between the actual good of your constituents’ and the county’s future. The critical thinking and the ethics required is enough to drive anyone crazy.”

Schier invoked Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha to drive his point home.

“Don Quixote is known for fighting a number of opponents that have become his most famous opponents—windmills!” Schier exclaimed. “Don Quixote thinks windmills are terrible giants ready to attack the countryside. Nobody else thinks windmills are ferocious giants…but Don Quixote does. He thinks they’re huge, terrible. He loses, of course, and eventually becomes sane, and renounces all his heroics as nonsense.”

Schier suggested Don Quixote’s “craziness” is what made him such a beloved literary figure.

“That really stands as a model for ethical behavior,” Schier concluded. “Be our Don Quixotes. Charge those windmills, our Don Quixotes, charge!”

The board approved the wind farm ordinance in a 27-1 vote.

From the October 28-November 3, 2009 issue

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