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County to buy Backbone property

PRINCETON — The Bureau County Board has entered into a purchase agreement to buy property on Backbone Road for highway safety reasons.

At Tuesday’s meeting in the Bureau County Courthouse in Princeton, the Bureau County Board voted unanimously to buy the property located at 17852 Backbone Road, about three miles west of Princeton, at a cost of $120,000.

The property, which includes a house and eight acres, is needed to make safety improvements on the hill, Bureau County Highway Engineer John Gross said Wednesday. The house will need to be torn down. The work will begin as soon as possible in the spring.

In other transportation business at Tuesday’s meeting, Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Sondgeroth presented a resolution to approve federal funding for the preliminary engineering work with Willett, Hofmann and Associates for a bridge replacement project on the Wyanet/Walnut Blacktop, where the road crosses over Maple Creek about two miles north of Wyanet. The actual construction work won’t begin for a few more years, Gross said.

Sondgeroth also presented a resolution for a six-year commitment with the Illinois Department of Transportation to split equally the salary of the Bureau County Highway Engineer. The resolution, approved by the board, will be presented to the board every six years for approval.

Sondgeroth also presented a resolution to adjust the wage of non-union county highway employees with the same wage increase as union members, which is a 2.75 percent increase, retroactive to Dec. 1, 2013.

In other action items at Tuesday’s board meeting, Insurance Committee Chairman Mike Kohr said CIRMA, which carries the county’s liability and property insurance, has accepted its 18th county, Livingston, into the program. CIRMA has increased its investment income for its investment funds from $2.7 million to $16.4 million. Both items are a testament to the strength of the program, Kohr said.

As recommended by the insurance committee, the county board hired CIRMA for its cyber insurance coverage at an annual cost of $2,900.

In her report, Fees and Salaries Committee Chairman Marshann Entwhistle said the committee will meet in special session at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 23 to discuss the job description and salary for the ESDA coordinator position, including whether the position will be full-time or part-time. The recommendation should come before the full board at next month’s meeting, she said.

The board set mileage reimbursement at 56 cents per mile, which follows the rate set by the Internal Revenue Service.

The board appointed Troy Quest to the Bureau County Zoning Board of Appeals to fill a remaining vacant five-year term which expires Dec. 1, 2018.

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