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Minutes – Shields Township Board of Trustees STATE OF ILLINOIS, ) Lake County, ) SS. Town of Shields ) THE TOWN BOARD OF SHIELDS TOWNSHIP met at the Shields Township Office for its regular monthly meeting on October 16, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. PRESENT: Charles Fitzgerald Supervisor David Barkhausen Town Clerk Yvonne Senter-Evans Town Trustee Peter Sexton Town Trustee Mona Strenger Town Trustee Ben Wagner Town Trustee Highway Commissioner Bill Goodman was also present. 1. Meeting Called to Order Supervisor Fitzgerald called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m. 2. Pledge of Allegiance Supervisor Fitzgerald opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. 3. Payment of Bills Town Fund Bills: A motion by Trustee Sexton, seconded by Trustee Strenger, to approve the payment of Town Fund expenses in the amount of $186,001.19 passed 5-0 on a roll call vote. Road & Bridge Bills: A motion by Trustee Senter-Evans, seconded by Trustee Wagner, to approve the payment of Road Fund expenses in the amount of $78,174.14 passed 5-0 on a roll call vote. General Assistance Bills: A motion by Trustee Strenger, seconded by Trustee Sexton, to approve the payment of General Assistance expenses in the amount of $3,277.39 passed 5-0 on a roll call vote. 4. Consideration of Minutes from the Previous Town Board Meetings A motion by Trustee Sexton, seconded by Trustee Strenger, to approve the minutes of the regular monthly meeting of the Shields Town Board held on September 18, 2008 was approved unanimously on a voice vote. 5. Public Comments - None 6. Old Business - None 7. Highway Commissioner’s Report Highway Commissioner Bill Goodman mentioned the completion of the Phase II road work on Bayshore Drive and Forest View Drive. Because of the pulverizing and resurfacing in one area of Forest View, the grade is a bit high and needs to be corrected, and it should be rectified by the contractor shortly, he said. In addition, an outside contractor has been working on the removal of some large, dead trees and branches on public rights of way that Road District equipment is unable to handle. Commissioner Goodman added that he is preparing for the winter with a new load of salt acquired through Lake County. Supervisor Fitzgerald asked about its cost, which was a subject of discussion at last month’s meeting. Commissioner Goodman said it was about $140 per ton, as compared to just $41 per ton last year. Supervisor Fitzgerald asked, as he did last month, about the possibility of using substitute materials, such as coal cinders or sand. Commissioner Goodman said they had used a sand/salt mix when the Road District ran short of salt during last year’s hard winter but that even that alternative is expensive and not nearly as effective as salt. Trustee Sexton asked about the bushes and branches interfering with visibility at the intersection of Muir Avenue and Waukegan Road. Commissioner Goodman said that would be a responsibility of the Illinois Department of Transportation and that he would call them. 8. Update of the 2008 Township Road Maintenance Program – Phase II This item was covered by Commissioner Goodman in his report above. 9. Supervisor’s Report - None 10. Trustees’ Report - None 11. Presentation by Marge Burda, Director of the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Senior Center Supervisor Fitzgerald introduced Marge Burda, the Director of the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Senior Center. Ms. Burda reported on what has been accomplished since 1993 with the Senior Center transportation program that began with three days per week of service and has since been extended to five. The program now provides about 6,000 rides per year and charges $3 per ride. In addition to the car that has been funded by Shields Township, the program now includes a mini-bus funded by a grant from the Waud Foundation which accommodates a wheel chair as well as subsidized taxi service. Anyone over 65 or younger persons with a disability are served. Most users are single women on fixed incomes. The program not only addresses such practical needs as providing transportation to doctors but also helps to combat isolation and the ill health and depression that can result from immobility among the elderly. An approximate budget of $45,000 pays such expenses as modest salaries for drivers, fuel costs, and subsidies for taxi service. User fees cover 25 percent of the cost. Trustee Wagner said he drove for the program for 5 years. Trustee Senter-Evans mentioned her disappointment in the News-Sun newspaper’s editorial urging a NO vote on the advisory referendum question on the November ballot relating to the use of township property tax dollars for grants to private charities. She said that she did not understand the motivation behind the referendum campaign. She said that townships should partner with various social service agencies in the manner that Shields Township is helping with the transportation program just discussed. 12. Discussion and Motion to Approve a $30,000 Appropriation to the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Senior Foundation for the Senior Transportation Program Supervisor Fitzgerald pointed out that there is a line item in the budget to support the Senior Center transportation program. Marge Burda mentioned that about half of the $591,000 budget comes from user fees. A motion by Trustee Strenger to approve a $30,000 appropriation for this purpose, seconded by Trustee Wagner, passed 5-0 on a roll call vote. 13. Presentation by Jan Leahy, Director of the Career Resource Center Supervisor Fitzgerald introduced Jan Leahy, the Director of the Lake Forest-based Career Resource Center (CRC). She was joined by Nancy Hensel, a board member of the Center. Ms. Hensel mentioned a 20-year association with the CRC, beginning with help from the Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest. She expressed her appreciation of the support from Shields Township in helping meet the CRC’s approximate $200,000 budget. She mentioned that the case load is up about 50 percent in these difficult economic times. Jan Leahy mentioned the addition of some new classes such as a job search roundtable, power point presentations, and brown bag networking. She underscored the frequent need in the current climate for individuals to make dramatic changes in their careers. She said the CRC has upgraded its computer lab with common software on all commuters. Ms. Leahy passed out a survey documenting the help given to clients in gaining their jobs and also in performing them competently once newly re-employed. Ms. Leahy noted that the CRC now receives support from the Townships of Moraine, West Deerfield and Libertyville as well as Shields. Supervisor Fitzgerald took issue with the supporters of the advisory referendum on the November ballot that raises the question about the Township’s grants to private charitable agencies. He said it was disturbing to see this kind of movement in light of the support that the Township has given to a variety of organizations. 14. Discussion of the Procedures for the 2008 Social Service Agency Funding Requests Supervisor Fitzgerald said that the Board has been given the names of the agencies that are requesting grants from Shields Township in this fiscal year. He said there are now 15 such agencies, including several new ones and those that have been supported in prior years. Trustee Wagner asked how the Board knows what the organizations do, especially if they are new to the list of grant applicants. Supervisor Fitzgerald said that the next step would be to send questionnaires to the organizations with 2-3 weeks given to respond. Trustee Strenger suggested the use of the same form as in past years. There was a discussion of whether the organizations should be asked to appear and, if so, whether those who had received support in the past and who had reported to the Board should be included in this requirement. Trustee Wagner said he would like to vote on each agency individually instead of as a group. Supervisor Fitzgerald said questionnaires would be mailed shortly and that November 10th would be the deadline for responding. He said that the Board could decide how to proceed at the November meeting, including determining which agencies would be asked to appear, but that no specific decisions about individual grants would be made next month. Trustees Senter-Evans and Strenger said that all agencies should be asked to appear. Supervisor Fitzgerald asked if the request from one agency that was received a day after the deadline on October 2nd should be considered. Trustees Sexton and Wagner said they thought this organization should not be eligible, and Supervisor Fitzgerald said he would so notify them. 15. Discussion of the 2009-20013 Salary Review for Shields Township Elected Officials Supervisor Fitzgerald said that townships around Illinois are considering salary levels for elected officials now because, under Illinois law, they must be set at least 180 days before the next term of office begins. Because that date is May 18, 2009, that salary decisions need to be made by November 19th. He said that Township Attorney Richard Cowen is researching the possible impact on salaries if no action is taken and whether they would be reduced to zero. He said that Brian Smith, the Executive Director of the Township Officials of Illinois, believes that the lack of action by the Board before the 180-day deadline would result in no salaries for officials. Trustee Sexton suggested that a separate meeting be scheduled to discuss the salary question at greater length but said he would be out of town from November 7th to 17th. Assessor Yakes passed out a salary survey for the elected assessors in 5 neighboring townships, showing the salaries to be effective over the next 4 years. She noted the salary disparities between the lower level in Shields and the neighboring townships, with a variance of as much as 40 percent, and the fact that the assessor positions are part-time in two of those other townships. She said that she was not asking for an increase in the assessor’s base salary but only a cost of living adjustment of 3 percent annually. Assessor Yakes also passed a sample job description used in a jurisdiction in Michigan where assessors are hired rather than elected which sets forth very detailed qualifications and the need for considerable experience in the tax assessment field. She pointed out that Shields Township has an equalized assessed valuation of over $2 billion, which gives it one of the 7 largest tax bases in Lake County. She discussed the complexity of the position and the particular challenges of dealing with changing property values in these turbulent economic times. For example, she noted that there are 400 Board of Review hearings at the County level this year, which is up 30 over last year. Trustee Senter-Evans asked about the staff time. Assessor Yakes said they work about 31 hours per week - 7.hours on 4 days plus 3.5 hours on the 5th day. She said there are three staff members who work these hours and another employee working on a more part-time basis. Trustee Yakes asked that the materials she passed out relating to the job description and comparative assessor salaries be entered into the official record of the meeting. After further discussion, there was an agreement to hold a special meeting on the question of elected officials’ salaries in one week, on Thursday, October 23rd at 6:30 p.m.. 16. Non-Agenda Items & Visitors Martin Rivera of Forest View in the Arden Shore South subdivision said he had sent an e-mail about the repairs on Forest View. He also said that had received the letter about an advisory referendum about creating a Special Service Area for township road maintenance. He mentioned that property owners in his area are taxed for the sanitary district even though they do not use the service. Highway Commissioner Goodman said that his support for the idea of a Special Service Area is based on the fact that the Road District does not have enough money to do its job and to do it well. He pointed out that the amount of work that was performed this year was only accomplished with substantial financial help from the General Town Fund. He said that kind of support would not be sustainable on an ongoing basis. Commissioner Goodman noted that the referendum is just raising the question of whether a Special Service Area is a feasible way of addressing the difficult financial situation of the Road District. Supervisor Fitzgerald mentioned the absence of current statutory authority for a township special service area for road maintenance purposes. Nicki Snoblin of the Knollwood neighborhood said she thought the Special Service Area referendum question is essentially a political issue. She expressed the view that the proposition is flawed because of the absence of an adequate tax base in the unincorporated area to pay for infrastructure improvements. Dan Rogers of the Knollwood neighborhood noted that half of the Road District tax imposed throughout the Township goes back to the municipalities in which it is raised. On a separate subject, he asked why a Lake County deputy sheriff attends Township meetings on a regular basis and why the Township incurs that cost. Trustee Wagner said that no trustee was consulted as to whether a deputy sheriff would be paid to attend a meeting. Supervisor Fitzgerald noted the heated discussion and public comments that had taken place at a past meeting which, he said, had nearly resulted in a physical altercation and which prompted him to arrange for the presence of a deputy sheriff at subsequent meetings. Trustee Wagner said that he was not in favor of the Special Service Area referendum question and that he thinks road maintenance by townships is their key traditional function that needs to be supported. 17. Executive Session - None 18. Adjournment A motion to adjourn by Trustee Senter-Evans, seconded by Trustee Strenger, was approved on a voice vote at 8:23 p.m.. Attest _______________________________ David N. Barkhausen, Town Clerk
"Minutes – Board of Trustee"