Governor (Bruce) Rauner is set to give his budget address on Wednesday. So far, he has failed in his attempt to deliver on his constitutional duty to provide our state with a budget. My faith in his ability to lead the state and deliver is quickly diminishing.
However, I remain optimistic due to the Illinois Senate. They have a plan, and it is being worked on in a bipartisan fashion. I hope the governor will throw his support behind it, rather than knocking it down like he has done with so many other budgets that have been delivered to his desk.
Now is the time to encourage our area senators, like Bill Haine, to stand strong and keep working to get this done. They know what it takes to put politics aside and work for our area. Does Rauner?
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is Report to the People No. 8 from Madison County Board District 3 representative Philip W. Chapman.
As County Board District 3 representative, I provide Reports to the People. I hope they aid with transparency and you find them informative. (Additionally, since you pay me, I think you have a right to know what I do.)
I met with Mark Latham, Highland city manager, and Ms. Lisa Peck Feb 5. We discussed improving the relationship between county government and Highland. We will meet with Ms. Kristen Poshard, deputy director of community development, on Feb. 22. In the meantime, Community Development is working on the Highland Jobs Fair, tentatively scheduled for May. In addition, municipal staff have been provided information for securing specific grants. I met with Chairman (Kurt) Prenzler to discuss Highland issues and set the stage for Mayor (Joseph) Michaelis and Chairman Prenzler to meet.
Real Estate Tax Cycle Committee
I chaired the Real Estate Tax Committee Tuesday, Feb 6. Treasurer Chris Slusser reported the automated real estate tax sale would be at 10 a.m. Feb. 21. If you are one of the 9,000 people who were informed they have late taxes, please know the last day to pay delinquent without a tax sale is 4 p.m. Feb. 17. You may go to the Treasurer’s Office in the County Administration Building. Ms. Debbie Ming Mendoza reported districts should report back to her office to confirm base numbers used in calculations are correct. Two hospitals have applied for tax exemptions. The state desires to tax them because some doctors have become employees of hospitals. If I understand correctly, doctors chose to become employees of hospitals rather than to leave Madison County due to high malpractice premiums and because many consider Madison County litigious.
I attended on Feb. 8 and voted yes for the final payments for work done on New Poag Road (CH 69) and Moro Road (CH 22). Mr. (Mark) Gvillo explained changes to the previous estimate. I’m satisfied the County Department of Transportation adequately monitored progress to prevent unnecessary cost overruns and to assure refunds where original estimates were in error.
Mr. Gvillo provided a consulting engineer list. The selection of professional engineering firms upfront may help prevent cost overruns. Engineering projects listed included Trolley Bridge, New Poag Road, Lebanon Road railroad overpass, and Staunton Road realignment.
County Board Member Don Moore from Troy raised safety concern issues about the Troy Road and Meadowbrook “t” intersection. Mr. Gvillo will determine if a safety light is needed and if local or county Sheriff's Department resources might be needed to enforce speed limits. Please contact me in reference to intersections you deem dangerous in District 3.
The Feb. 8 meeting centered on budgeting and emergency funding resolutions in several cost centers. For example, additional funds were voted to pay 2016 bills in the Coroner’s Office due to the unforeseen cost of autopsies due to the heroin epidemic. In 2016 the jail also had unforeseen grocery costs due to high jail population and due to the cost of medical expenses mandated by law. My motion to pay these costs passed unanimously. However, the committee seeks ways to improve the budgeting process.
I voted for the following to assist with public safety: twelve 2017 police utility all-purpose drive vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office; two Polaris Sportsman ATV and one DJI Matrice M 600 Industrial DAV Drone. These purchases will assist law enforcement with investigation, apprehension of suspects, and search and rescue operations in rough terrain. These purchases may also help during a major 911 incident or a major natural disaster
MIC (Model Innovative County) April 6-7
If we work together, this event may help build the county's economy. SITE: Lewis and Clark Community College N.O. Nelson Campus- Edwardsville. Contact jparnold@CO.Madison.Il.US or call 618) 296-4247 for additional information.
Philip W. Chapman
County Board District Three
The Illinois Department on Aging released draft rules for massive cuts to the Community Care Program and introduced a new program, the Community Reinvestment Program, that cuts seniors out of the current Community Care Program and puts them into a new, untested program. The cuts will affect 40,000 seniors living in the community by reducing their services and simultaneously adding a layer of bureaucracy to the new program. The program further jeopardizes Illinois seniors by eliminating regulations in the new program that previously kept seniors safe. Now local providers of services to seniors don’t have to have education in providing care to seniors, they don’t have to ensure that the meals they provide are nutritious and, most alarmingly, they no longer have to verify that locally contracted service providers do not have criminal convictions or if someone providing service to seniors in their home is a registered sex offender.
The 40,000 older adults who are slated to be cut from the Community Care Program are hardworking taxpayers who had jobs all of their lives, paid into a pension program in addition to paying their taxes, and now they face one or more of life’s storms in the form of a stroke or Alzheimer’s disease, or one of the other unfortunate debilitating conditions that can affect people as we age. The 40,000 people who currently use the Community Care Program do not want to go to nursing homes, which the state is not proposing to cut. To qualify for the Community Care Program, the storm they are facing must be so strong that it debilitated them to the point that they do qualify for nursing home care. But they don’t want or need nursing home care. They want the bare minimum of a framework to support their living in the community, where they will still pay their taxes, hold their grandchildren, and tell the stories to family and neighbors that are so important to our culture. The current Community Care Program only provides the bare minimum of resources, mortar if you will, to shore up the cracks created by life’s storms in the carefully laid foundation of lives older adults created to support themselves in their retirement. The program’s assessment process carefully determines which tools, and only the bare minimum tools necessary, to patch the cracked foundation of an older adult’s life so they can stay in the community. Illinois can’t afford to waste money on anything untested right now and these proud older adults don’t want any more. The tools the Community Care Program uses are small, such as someone to come into their home to do laundry once a week, an emergency home response unit so if they fall, a loved one at work can go to their parents’ home to help, or a visit to an adult day services program where they can get a couple of nutritious meals, meet with a nurse who monitors their medical condition, and socialize with other older adults. But the current program uses proven standards to determine which supports someone needs and only those supports are offered.
Because aging is a process we all experience, Illinoisans of all ages do better when we make sure everyone has what they need to age successfully. The new, untested Community Reinvestment Program (CRP) draws tools and protections away from our seniors.
CRP is bypassing the legislative process. Instead of taking a careful approach to implementing a new program that will use research and outcome data and input from the public to develop a program to help seniors, CRP is being implemented via administrative rule, thereby eliminating any input from the public or our elected representatives and senators. Instead of trying this new idea on just a few people to determine whether it will work, CRP will immediately, upon implementation, affect 40,000 seniors living in their own communities statewide, all of whom, via the state’s assessment tool, have been determined to be ill enough to qualify for nursing home care.
CRP is a financial mistake for Illinois. At a time when Illinois’ finances are in trouble, CRP draws money away from seniors to fund more bureaucracy. The current Community Care Program contracts with Case Coordination Units to independently determine if clients need services and support to remain in the community, and exactly how many services they need, they then refer clients to state-vetted and contracted private companies to provide those services. CRP will add an additional layer by contracting with agencies that will then contract with private companies, and then the Case Coordination Units will determine eligibility. This added layer of bureaucracy will be paid 10 percent of the money that could have gone to provide services to seniors.
CRP has no structure suggested to determine how many services older adults will receive. Without the tested structure of the Community Care Program, it is uncertain that seniors will receive a consistent service based on need. Without this structure, the program is open to fraud and abuse. CRP is not financially solid. In Illinois, there is a history of faulty budgeting process. In fact, Illinois has been without a budget for going on two years. The program, as it should be, will not be implemented without a budget. However, the 40,000 older adults who worked hard to pay their taxes and contribute to their pensions will immediately lose services upon implementation of the new rules, yanking the very foundations that anchor them to their homes and communities out from under them.
CRP is dangerous for Illinois. Currently, the Illinois Department on Aging contracts with private companies after a meticulous vetting process to ensure that the company doesn’t have a history of fraud, that all employees in contact with seniors do not have sexual or other criminal convictions, and an education program is in place that confirms that all persons in contact with seniors are well-versed in the issues associated with aging and can interact with and provide care to seniors in a safe and professional manner. CRP regulations do not apply these regulations to local companies such as restaurant delivery, transportation services, laundry services and home repair services. These companies and their employees will have direct contact with seniors in their homes at the older adults’ personal risk.
There are many serious flaws with this new program. The Illinois Association of Community Care Program Home Care Providers and the Illinois Adult Day Services Association want all Illinoisans to understand the jeopardy our seniors are being placed into as a result of this untested, unsafe, flawed program. For more information, contact Sandra Price, IADSA administrative assistant, at email@example.com or Robert Thieman, executive director, at (217) 529-6503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PR/Marketing Coordinator, Senior Services Plus