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Rock Island County Board Considers Reform Measures

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The Rock Island County Board is still trying to solve financial problems and address concerns from residents.

Board members decided this week to consider five parts of a reform package separately, acting on the recommendation of the Rock Island County State's Attorney.

Board member Drue Mielke from Coal Valley says the board will vote on three proposals next week: downsizing the board from 25 to 15, eliminating health insurance benefits and withdrawing from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

"The people I represent do not think that a part-time county board member should have access to health benefits and pension benefits," Mielke says. "The other reason I'm for removing these benefits is because our county is in a very tight, almost perilous, financial state right now."

If approved, health and retirement benefits will end next month. Mielke says this could save the county up to $38,000.

Members will also vote on reducing the size of the board, but that would not be an immediate change. Mielke says it's non-binding, and will be left to the board elected in 2020.

"It does have power to it, but we're actually asking people that haven't even been elected yet to downsize a board, Mielke says. "It's really more of a statement of purpose."

That new board will re-draw the district maps after the census and appoint a single board member from each district. 

Other reforms the Rock Island County board will consider include reducing the number of committees from eight to four and requiring the county administrator to create the county's five-year plan instead of the board.