Lake County Council to get caught up on insurance payments
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent October 9, 2012 4:16PM
Updated: November 11, 2012 6:19AM
CROWN POINT — Lake County’s cash-strapped self-insurance pool and the plumbing problems at the county jail are going to get a combined $6 million.
On Tuesday the Lake County Council gave final approved for a little more than $1 million in the group insurance fund to pay outstanding employee claims. Last week council members approved freeing up unused utility encumbrances of $1,071,000 to use for insurance.
In another move, they also approved on first and second reading a $5 million bond issue to fix the plumbing at the jail and set a public hearing on the matter for Nov. 13. The plumbing work will combine some of the U.S. Department of Justice mandated repairs along with additional work made possible while the walls are open.
Larry Blanchard, consultant to the Lake County Board of Commissioners, said moving the money into the insurance pool will give the county funds to catch up on claim payments so none are more than 90old.
Currently, the county is exceeding 90 days on some claims and employees are receiving collection notices.
“We need to get our bills paid and get up to date for our workers who work here,” said councilman Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell.
As for the plumbing at the jail, Sheriff John Buncich said the problems with back-ups are so bad they are causing flooding in places other than the jail.
“It’s just gotten to the point if we don’t take some kind of action we will have a real problem,” Buncich said.
John Dull, County Council attorney, said while some of the plumbing repairs tie into the DOJ mandate to improve conditions at the jail county officials will have to determine how to fund the additional work as part of the 2013 budget.