Members of the Wood River Township Hospital Board hope progress in Springfield will lead to the end of a dozen years of waiting to wrap up their financial stake in the game. The hospital closed in 2000, but the board stayed together to make sure pensions for the hospital's employees were covered. It was recently learned that the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund has plenty of money to pay the pensions associated with the hospital, so a refund is apparently in order.
The problem is, state law only allows these funds to be spent on hospital business. Without a hospital to spend the money on, Hospital Board Chairman Chris Slusser says State Senator Bill Haine is busy trying to craft a law to allow the refund to happen.
The excess money - $4.9 million - will be refunded to those who have paid into it, namely the taxpayers in Wood River Township. It's taken more than 10 years of negotiations between the IMRF, the hospital board, and other officials to make sure the benefits due the former employees were accounted for and then the remaining money would be returned to the WRTH board and eventually to taxpayers.