UCC requests that governor reconsider HMO decision

A resolution requesting that Illinois officials reconsider the decision to drop Health Alliance, an Urbana-based health insurance company, from the health care plan for state employees passed unanimously at the Monday Urbana City Council meeting.

Eric Jakobsson, Ward 2, (attending the meeting via telephone) tried to amend the resolution addressed to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and Gov. Pat Quinn so that it acknowledged that the Health Alliance HMO is more economical for the state than any other HMO, but the amendment failed.

Dennis Roberts, Ward 5, said the city does not typically need to be involved in deciding which health care service is best for the state. However, because Health Alliance supplies many Urbana residents and has its headquarters in downtown Urbana, Roberts said he could endorse the non-binding resolution.

In other business, the council approved an ordinance and a request furthering the development of an indoor soccer facility at 2400 N. Willow Road and a resolution allocating $3,798,575 to the AssistUrbana Program, which promotes homeownership by offering down payment and closing cost assistance to low-income families.

The council also received updates from Kelly Hartford, interim grants manager for Community Development Services, about a new survey on homelessness released by the Urbana-Champaign Continuum of Care, a group of agencies committed to ending homelessness. The survey suggested that homelessness has increased in Champaign County in the past year. Charlie Smyth, Ward 1, was particularly concerned that there are 163 homeless children in Champaign County.

The council also approved every ordinance the Committee of the Whole voted on last week, but two resolutions furthering construction on Lincoln Avenue and Olympian Drive were taken off the agenda.

Bill Gray, director of public works, said the Champaign County Board Committee of the Whole voted Tuesday to reword the resolutions that the Urbana City Council had previously approved. The Urbana City Council Committee of the Whole will vote on the resolutions after the county board passes the edited versions.