Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - October 25, 1999, Alton, Illinois
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. Vol. 164, No. 283 - 50 cents
October, Monday 25, 1999
www.thetelegraph.comPension benefit fightaHler way
By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT
Telegraph staff writer
EDWARDSVILLE - The Illinois Legislature may attempt to prevent further damage being inflicted by an enhanced pension benefit plan that already stands to benefit several Madison County officeholders.
The plan is estimated to cost the county $430,000 in the coming fiscal year, compared with the original estimate of $100,000.
The county’s contribution to the controversial enhanced retirement plan for elected officials is set to
jump from about 37 percent of the pay of each participant to 53 percent in 2000 in order to pay for elected officials transferring to higher-paying plans.
“I don’t think any County Board member knew at the time that it would cost this much,” said County Board member Alan Dunstan, D-Troy.
Dunstan voted against the plan because he thought even the $100,000 was too expensive
The officials of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund did not anticipate the higher costs and did not intend for elected officials to jump to higher pensions by taking higher-paying jobs for only a short time, an I MRF official said.
Fortunately, the cost to the taxpayer will be blunted by the fact the
county had a balance in its IMRF fund to help pay the increased costs, Deputy Auditor Pete Fields said The county also is funneling some corporate personal replacement tax revenue to the plan, and the existing balance is earning interest, which will offset the cost.
The problem will come next year, when the cost will soar even more, Fields said. And if the Legislature fails to pass a bill to reduce the cost, the cost could get way out of hand
“If we don’t do something, we’re all going to have to leave the country," said state Sen. Evelyn Bowles, D-Edwardsville.
The Illinois House already has passed a measure that would change the bill to reduce the cost The Senate would have to take similar action, and the issue would eventual
ly have to be approved by the governor.
Part of the reason the costs have been soaring is because a greater-than-anticipated number of Madison County Board members switched to higher-paying jobs that resulted in much higher pensions, said Louis Kosiba, the IMRF1 director of members services.
They receive the higher pension amounts, even though they spend only a fraction of their time on the public payroll at the higher rate of pay
The officials, such as former County Board member Anthony Bosich, got big increases by moving to much higher-paying government jobs. His pension will go from about $7,800 a year to a little more than $29,000.
Jack Frandsen moved from a member of the County Board to county auditor His retirement will go from $7,200 to about $52,500
But Frandsen points out that many former County Board members aside from himself and Bosich have been taking advantage of the enhanced plan
Former treasurer and county board member Bill Aery, for example, will receive $44,400, county records show.
Albert Charleston, who served on the County Board and also as Alton’s auditor, will receive about $52,000. All countywide officeholders except County Clerk Mark Von Nida and Regional Superintendent of Schools Harry Briggs are in the plan.
H See PENSION, Page A9
The Telegraph/MARGIE M BARNES
Enthusiastic fans get behind the home team during the St. Louis Rams’ rousing 31-3 victory over the expansion Cleveland Browns at the Trans World Dome on Sunday.NFL commissioner watches Rams trample Browns
By WARREN MAYES
Telegraph sports editor
ST LOUIS - National Football League commissioner Paul Tagliabue saw the Rams in action Sunday afternoon and witnessed for himself what all the excitement is about.
The divisions between Tagliabue and the Rams melted away with the visit.
The franchise moved here in 1995 amid squabbles with the league over moving from the bigger Ixjs Angeles market.
St. Louis had to pay a $29 million transfer fee to the NFL and will be unable to profit from the league’s next two expansions, which since have gone to Cleveland and Houston. So, all the lawsuits have been settled
and everyone gets along now.
“Ifs all water under the bridge now," eo-owner Stan Kroenke said after the Rams whipped the Cleveland Browns 34-3 Sunday afternoon at the Trans World Dome to remain undefeated at 6-0. "We’re on the same page. We all have to let bygones be bygones."
“We sat and had dinner with him Saturday night. He was excited about this trip. He said he enjoyed the Cardiac Cards from years ago and that he liked St. Louis as a city. He was excited to be back to St. Louis and I think he was very impressed with the game today.”
Tagliabue sat and watched the game in majority owner
H See RAMS, Page A9
Former President Carter will address students at Principia
By THOMAS WRAUSMANN
Telegraph staff writer
ELSAH — Former President James Earl Carter is scheduled to be the latest high-profile political figure to
appear at Principia College in Elsah.
Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, will JimmyCarter address the college and invited guests at 8 p.m. Friday in Cox Auditorium, college representatives said. There is no available public seating.
Tim Booth, director of special events for Principia, said the college is excited about Carter’s visit.
His address is the third in the George A. Andrews Distinguished Speaker Series at the college, Booth said.
The previous two speakers in the series at the small college were former British
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former President George Bush. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger also spoke not long ago at Principia.
Elsah is a historic, scenic town west of Alton on the Great River Road.
Since leaving public office, Carter has written 13 books and founded the Carter Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that addresses national and international issues of public policy, noted Debbie Hall, a Principia spokeswoman.
He also is a regular volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds homes for lower-income families.
The Carter Center, begun in 1986 at Emory University in Atlanta, is devoted to mediating international conflict and solving health problems in developing countries.
Unlike most recent expresidents, Carter has not led a quiet life of playing golf and making numerous speeches for huge amounts
■ See CARTER, Page A9
Couple plans coal mine museum for Bethalto
By ANDE YAKSTIS
Telegraph staff writer
WILLIAMSON - Maridel and Arvel Fowler have a dream to re-create the famous coal mining days of the Williamson and Bethalto areas in a museum planned in Bethalto.
“We’d like to show people today the life of hard-working coal miners and their families who built towns like Williamson in Madison County in the early 1900s,” said Arvel Fowler, director of the Bethalto Historical Museum.
Maridel and Arvel Fowler of Bethalto want to make the coal mining years come alive
in a mining museum planned at the former Bethalto Fire House, next door to the growing historical museum.
“In the mine museum, we’d like to have someone build a replica of a tunnel of an old underground mine to show visitors what it was like for miners to work deep in a mine,” Arvel Fowler said.
The Fowlers have collected information from 50 years of area mining records.
“There were once 15 to 20 small coal mines around the Bethalto, Moro and Fosterburg areas,” Arvel Fowler said.
The couple has collected
H See MUSEUM, Page A9
The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Joe Broom, 14, rakes piles of leaves from his front yard on St. Louis Street in Edwardsville Saturday. He is the son of Gordon and Holley Broom of Edwardsville. The city is only one of a few in Metro East with an outright ban on leaf-burning.
Austin, Jenkins, Kutrip,
.... A6, Bl