WCIA | April 3, 2018 | Original Article

Story by Mark Maxwell

cullerton tom2014Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, but was left off of the Quincy task force. A Rauner administration official sent him a copy of the report on Friday, prompting Cullerton to ask, "If this was going to cost five times as much, then why weren’t they working on this earlier? Why did it take so long?”

ILLINOIS (WCIA) -- The Rauner administration delivered a preliminary cost estimate to members of a special task force on Friday revealing the prolonged effort to repair the aging Quincy Veterans Home could reach a price tag of $265 million.

A 2015 outbreak of Legionnaires' resulted in 12 deaths at the facility. Another resident died in 2017 after contracting Legionnaires' disease, according to the coroner. Residents have fallen ill with Legionnaires' symptoms at various times throughout each of the last four years despite the state's efforts to remedy the ongoing crisis.

Erica Jeffries, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, had previously given estimates ranging from $25 million to $500 million, according to reports from WBEZ and the Associated Press.

The updated analysis includes a preferred route alongside two alternative plans, complete with pros and cons for each step. Lawmakers began reviewing the details this weekend ahead of this year's upcoming budget negotiations. A final report is scheduled to be released to the public next month.

The new report, officially titled the Illinois Veterans' Homes Capital Needs Assessment, strongly recommends construction on a new residential home on the Quincy campus, complete with a new water distribution plumbing loop ($220M-$250M), a newly installed water plumbing loop to completely replace outdated pipes ($13.4M), development of an alternative water source ($4.6M-$5.5M), and the purchase and renovation of an off-site facility ($5M-$6M).

The estimated time frame to complete construction on a new facility is four to five years.

Lawmakers would have to approve any extra spending in the upcoming budget negotiations. In his February budget address, Governor Rauner requested $50 million to address "Legionella control" recommendations in the next fiscal year.

Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, but was left off of the Quincy task force. A Rauner administration official sent him a copy of the report on Friday, prompting Cullerton to ask, "If this was going to cost five times as much, then why weren’t they working on this earlier? Why did it take so long?”

The governor's political foes have grilled his agency heads during legislative hearings, calling on some of them to resign. Republican lawmakers have largely defended the incumbent governor, pointing to written reports from baffled health officials at the CDC who said the strain of bacteria was so persistent, complete eradication "may not be possible."

Read more: Quincy veterans home repairs could cost $265 million, report says

ItascaTCTHVILLA PARK – State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), local chambers of commerce and the Illinois Department of Employment Security will host a job fair from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, August 23 at the Odeum in Villa Park.

Area businesses will be looking for qualified candidates, accepting resumes and giving on-the-spot interviews.

Cullerton is recruiting Illinois employers to participate in his fifth annual job fair.

“The key to growing our economy is helping DuPage County residents find jobs right here in Illinois,” said Cullerton. “Our annual job fair matches local job seekers with area employers who are looking to hire right now. I encourage area residents who are looking for work or simply looking for a new opportunity to take advantage of this free resource.”

Veterans seeking jobs will be admitted at 10 a.m. before the event begins for the general public.

The event is open to the press.

If you are looking for a job, please click here to register. We encourage you to register prior to the event to maximize your chances to find employment. Once you register, your skills will be matched with interested employers via Illinois JobLink.

If you are looking to hire, please click here to register. After registration, you will receive a follow-up email with further details on job fair setup and any additional information. If you are interested in attending, please register as soon as possible.

DATE: Wednesday, August 23, 2017

TIME: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., doors open for veterans at 10 a.m.

LOCATION: The Odeum (1033 N. Villa Ave., Villa Park, IL)

VILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will host meetings throughout the district during the legislative spring break. The meetings give residents the chance to ask Cullerton questions and discuss issues important to the 23rd Senate District. The meetings give residents the chance to ask Cullerton questions and discuss important issues. TCSpringBreak2015

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CONTACT SENATOR CULLERTON

Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
P: (630) 903-6662
F: (630) 903-6643

Springfield Office
122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-9463