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New faces at commissioners’ table

By Elisabeth Dodd, Staff Writer

The commissioners’ table looked different this week as new member Howard Curry took Alan Alcorn's chair and Cheryl Begley stepped in as the new Union County auditor.

However, some things stayed the same with Paul Wiwi continuing on as president for 2019 and Tim Williams became vice president. Roles were delegated among the three commissioners with Williams in charge of the EMA and LLPC, Wiwi will oversee the Drainage Board and Highway, and Curry will take over the WUR Board and Finance Board.

Kicking off the meeting the commissioners discussed property and casualty insurance. They accepted a bid last meeting with Midwest Insurance for $93,440 and discussed what to do about law enforcement liability and adding sexual assault coverage for $195. The current coverage for law enforcement liability is $10,000 in the agreed-upon price, but it could be lowered to $5,000 with an $862 deductible as a bargaining chip for the future.

Williams and Wiwi voted to go with the $862 deductible because the jail is one of the oldest in the area which makes it hard to get covered, and because the plan is already less expensive than last year and can be changed for 2020. Curry was not in agreement on the basis that it's a high deductible for little coverage. The sexual molestation coverage, which would protect the county and not a perpetrator will be discussed further next meeting.

Commissioners signed the 2019 contract for the Youth Opportunity Center's program “100 days a bed” which gives the county a discount of 100 beds at $100 a day instead of the regular $140. This is a contract done through the courts.

Commissioners approved an equipment removal for the auditor's office so that Begley can remove a broken printer and huge copier that is now outdated.

Melissa Browning, the director of the Union County Development Corporation, discussed updates on the comprehensive plan which is now being advertised. Commissioners delegated Browning as the lead contact for the town and county. The comp plan will be reviewed by a scoring committee consisting of Browning and two others to talk with the head of the comprehensive plan Mike Kleinpeter. The town's plan was submitted on Dec. 31 with no confirmation from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

Finally, commissioners thanked Williams for his work in making sure that Union County receives compensation for Whitewater State Park, since the county hasn't seen any tax revenue from it. Williams has been visiting state senator Jeff Raatz to ensure that a bill goes through of a one-time payment of $149,000 dollars per year.