City Approves Coal Tar Cleanup Money, Health Care Administrator
City Approves Coal Tar Cleanup Money, Health Care Administrator

The city will pay a total of $1.7 million — $508,000 of that from City Water Light and Power — to clean up a mess more than 100 years in the making.

It’s not an imminent threat, according to CWLP Chief Utilities Engineer Eric Hobbie, but seeping coal tar near the site of the old Springfield Iron Company on North Factory Street concerns the EPA.

“The main concern is groundwater contamination which isn’t a concern because nobody’s on wells in this area,” said Hobbie. “The seeping… there can be some fumes coming from it, or if somebody were to pick it up and eat it.”

Most of the coal tar dumped by the old factory, which shut down in the early 1900’s, is believed to be under city streets and sidewalks. The current price tag is only an estimate and could be revised up or down in the coming months. It’s unclear when work will begin, but the EPA will hire contractors to clean it up.

New Administrator Hired for Union, Non-Union Employee Health Care Benefits

The city of Springfield is convinced it’s not breaking any Open Meetings Act laws and has selected a new third party administrator for its employee and retiree health care programs.

The city will pay CoreSource $1.6 million to administer plans for both union and non-union employees, even though the decision to hire was made behind closed doors by a committee that deals only with union issues. That led to accusations the city’s breaking open meetings laws.

“The committee and the administration [have] to make that decision before we go out for bid,” said Springfield budget director Bill McCarty, noting the decisions for union and non-union employees are made separately. “That way we know what our enrollee base is.”

A Sangamon County Judge wants members of the Joint Labor/Management Healthcare Committee to appear before him as he considers the Open Meetings suit. The names of those on the committee were just made public.