Board of Trustees
The Village of Riverwoods is governed by a Mayor and a six member Board of Trustees. All are elected for four year staggered terms and the trustees serve without pay while the Mayor is salaried. The Board is the legislative body of the Village government. The administrative work is performed under the direction of the Mayor, who is elected to serve a four year term. Village Board meetings are held at 7:30pm on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. All meetings are open to the public and your are cordially invited to attend and participate.
Village Board of Trustees Meeting Notes
Summary of ordinances, resolutions, and non-routine matters considered by the Board of Trustees from the meeting minutes. Read the entirety of these minutes or view the video of the actual Board of Trustee meetings on the Village of Riverwoods website at www.riverwoods-il.net/Government/Videos/.
Trustee Ford distributed the Statement of Revenue and Expenses by Fund. The year-to-date total through October 2015 shows that revenue was greater than expenses by $458,000. This is slightly less than what was budgeted. Ms Ford explained that the excess of revenues over expenses from the operating funds in the Police and General Funds were $288,888. Trustee Ford stated that she has a year-end review meeting with the Village’s portfolio manager later this week. The portfolio manager has asked for projected revenues and expenses for the upcoming year in order to better manage the Village’s investments.
Chief Dayno provided the Board with the Police Department activity since the November 17, 2015 Board of Trustees meeting.
Chief Dayno noted that there were 17 accidents during the weekend of the 20th, primarily due to the snow storm. Several streets were blocked by downed trees. Davey Tree came out and cleared the trees on all but Greenbriar, which involved downed power lines. ComEd eventually came out and cleared the line. Chief Dayno added that he kept an officer there throughout the entire time until ComEd arrived.
Chief Dayno discussed the terrorist-related events that have occurred in the country and throughout the world. He assured the Board that all the Riverwoods police officers annually complete active shooter, rapid-response training. He also reported that they recently trained at Discover which involved going into the building and rescuing “hostages”. The training at Discover also involved use of force as well as when to shoot and when not to shoot. The Department is well prepared and as a member of NIPAS, has the use of a SWAT team and a mobile field force if necessary.
CAPITAL PROJECTS FUND
Mayor Norris noted that there is no requirement to have a separate fund when it is not fully funded by the revenue sources that are dedicated to that fund. Our financial advisor has recommended that the Police Fund be rolled into the General Fund as a separate department. Trustee Haber questioned if this would affect collective bargaining. Mayor Norris does not believe it will have an effect. Chief Dayno and Village Attorney Huvard agreed. Trustee Chamberlain noted that, aside from the fact that this is a more accurate way of doing things, the Village will not need to make transfers between the two funds.
Trustee O'Donnell expressed concern about the $3 million transfer to the proposed Capital Projects Fund since the Board has not agreed on a final cost of the new Village Hall. Mr. Huvard stated that this would not be a legally reserved or segregated fund and that the Village could move money from the Capital Projects Fund to the General Fund at any time. He explained that the reason for creating the fund is for financial reporting purposes and to separate and track capital expenditures.
Trustee Haber stated that he would rather create the fund but not transfer money into the fund until the Board discusses a specific amount. After some discussion, the Board agreed funding the account with the amount that the Village has already spent and has authorized to spend on consultants and architects. They also agreed to transfer an additional amount once they have a firm number on the actual cost of the renovation.
Trustee Haber suggested amending the motion to read $400,000 instead of $3 million. Trustees Chamberlain and Jamerson agreed to amend the motion. Mayor Norris suggested changing the verbiage to read capital expenses including but not limited to the Village Hall. The Trustees agreed. The motion passed unanimously on a voice vote.
Trustee Ford provided a General and Police Fund update. Year to date revenues exceed expenses by $286,986. The 2015 budget anticipated an excess of more than $800,000. However, only 82% of budgeted revenues have been received and 91% of budgeted expenses have been paid so the “profit” total should be higher by the end of the fiscal year.
COMMUNITY SERVICES REPORT
Director of Community Services, Rob Durning explained that an administrative search warrant was executed for the house on Edgewood Lane. The house is a hoarder house. The good news is that the property owner connected with Marytown social services to remove a lot of the clutter. Mr. Huvard believes there should be an agreement that the house cannot be used as a storage facility in order to prevent a recurrence. The resident is not living in the house.
Mayor Norris noted that the Center for Enriched living submitted a request for a charitable donation for their entire building permit fees plus their normal annual $5,000 donation request.
PLAN COMMISSION REPORT
Village Attorney Bruce Huvard indicated that the Plan Commission will meet on December 3, 2015. There will be several Public Hearings, covering the approval of The Lock Up’s special use, the number of nail salons currently allowed in Colonial Courts and possibly a Text Amendment for drive-thru facilities. Trustee Chamberlain would like the Plan Commission to know that the Board was interested in discussing improvements to the general area of Colonial Courts, concurrently with the salon request.
Chief Dayno provided the Board with the Police Department activity since the November 3, 2015 Board of Trustees meeting.
Chief Dayno reported that the Department conducted tobacco compliance checks at two establishments and neither sold to the underage agent.
INFORMATIONAL ITEMS & COMMENTS FROM THE PRESIDENT
Recommended changes to the Ecological Cost-Share Program – Trustee Chamberlain noted that the Village has had a cost-share program for a while, but that the proposed new program is easier to understand, more efficient and more consistent. The general substance and format was not changed. Trustee Chamberlain noted that they will review the program in a year for substance and finances concerning the entire program.
Village Ecologist Steve Zimmerman presented a history of Riverwoods woodlands. He explained how natural fires have shaped and defined the character of Riverwoods, which is comprised of prairie, wetlands and several types of woodlands. He showed pictures of healthy and degraded woodlands. He stated that he has created a new cost-sharing program that could be used by residents in every area of the Village. The new cost-sharing plan includes a number of programs; ecological consultation, canopy and sub-canopy tree thinning, invasive shrub removal, garlic mustard removal, native tree and shrub planting, native seeding, prescribed burns, and rain gardens. The Village will also continue with the annual plant sale program.
Mr. Zimmerman explained that the first step in the cost-share process is the ecological consultation that he will conduct. If the resident is interested in using any of the cost-share programs, he will put together a packet that will contain all of the information the resident will need to ensure a successful implementation. The packet will include a program eligibility map with applicable details, a list of potential contractors, a cost estimate, the applicable cost-share application forms, and a list of performance standards in order to obtain reimbursement from the Village. If tree planting is one of the recommendations, the eligibility map will state which specific trees should be planted based on the character of the property.
Mr. Huvard recommended adding some language limiting the Village’s exposure. He added that each program shows a maximum cap, but he suggested that the Board may want to establish an annual budget cap. Trustee Chamberlain stated that, based on the number of consultations done and the recommendations made by Mr. Zimmerman, she came up with a budget of $42,000 for 2016. The Board discussed the possible need to determine a homeowner cap as well as a total program cap. Mayor Norris noted that the Board needs to work out a number of details before moving forward with the new program.
Trustee Ford distributed the statement of revenues and expenses for the month of September 2015. The statement is aavailable to read in full on the Village website.
Trustee Ford reported that the revenues are ahead of expenses right now. There appears to be a surplus of $330,000 in the General and Police Funds. The cash projections will be important for next year, to give the Village portfolio manager information on how to invest.
VILLAGE ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Village Attorney Bruce Huvard met with representatives from The Lock Up on Monday. They will appear before the Plan Commission on December 3, 2015. David Niedelman explained that there will be a Public Hearing to discuss traffic, lighting, design, landscape and ecological features. He does not anticipate traffic concerns.
Chief Dayno provided the Board with the Police Department activity since the October 20, 2015 Board of Trustees meeting.
Chief Dayno completed the budget submittal for 2016, which is slightly higher than 2015. He noted that the new IT servers were installed. DCS, the new IT service company, has been very responsive to the minor glitches.
INFORMATIONAL ITEMS & COMMENTS FROM THE PRESIDENT
Lake County Sewer Fee Increase – Mayor Norris received a certified letter from the County notifying the Village of an upcoming sewer rate increase. Village Engineer Pat Glenn noted that the rate will increase approximately $8 dollars per month over the next three years.
Presentation of Request for Zoning Amendment for “Spa-Like” Activities at Colonial Court – Village Attorney Bruce Huvard explained that any property owner can petition the Plan Commission for a Text Amendment. The Board of many municipalities hear from property owners before they appear before the Plan Commission, giving the Board the opportunity to hear what the property owner has to say. Colonial Court ownership representative John Flannagan was present to state the nature of the petition.
Mr. Huvard explained that the Village tried to come up with a menu of authorized uses. Village staff received a request for a massage and spa service business, which was not one of the authorized uses; however, beauty parlors were authorized. There are already two existing beauty parlors in Colonial Court, and an additional beauty service business would not be allowed under the existing ordinance.
Mr. Flannagan explained that they have a potential tenant that would provide facials, waxing, tweezing and massages. He noted that Colonial Court is about 40% vacant. They are reducing their prices per square foot, but have not had any success with that. They have also recently given rent concessions to the existing tenants who have complained that they are struggling financially. He feels that part of the problem is the lack of visibility of the center and the fact that a lot of retailers are now operating online versus in a brick-and-mortar establishment.
Trustee Haber asked what the Village could do to help the center. Mr. Flannagan explained that they need to make a lot of capital improvements, but cannot justify the expenditures based on their current financial position.
Trustee Chamberlain believes that the attractiveness of the center is very important for this type of business. She thinks that this may be an issue for the center. Trustee Chamberlain also expressed concern that the proposed business is similar to other businesses in the center. Instead of complimenting the existing businesses, she believes this may be a competing business.
Trustee Baumann asked why the center does not have foot traffic based on the high volume of traffic at that corner. Mr. Flannagan explained that the visibility is not good and that the lower tenant occupancy does not attract people.
Mayor Norris explained that the Village is interested in having the center succeed. Trustee Jamerson expressed concern about having too many service businesses in the center, as they do not generate sales tax. Mr. Huvard suggested possibly providing a contiguous TIF if the mall ownership puts more money in the center. Mr. Flannagan explained they need to stabilize the center before they can contemplate putting money into it. Mayor Norris summarized that the Village is willing to work with the owners of the center once they come up with a plan to possibly revitalize the center.
Trustee Haber moved to refer the petitioner to the Plan Commission to amend the Special Use.
DRIVE-THRU RESTAURANT AT 2175 DEERFIELD ROAD
Mr. Huvard explained that a drive-thru restaurant is a use that is currently not allowed in the Zoning Code. Property owner Anil Abbott explained that the proposed restaurant would be similar to a café or coffee shop.
Trustee Chamberlain asked about the proposed café and expected traffic. Mr. Abbott explained they would have fresh sandwiches and salads. They would be busiest at lunch. Trustee Chamberlain asked about the drive-thru traffic pattern. Peter Lemon, traffic engineer with Doland Engineering, explained that the circulation would allow entrance from either Saunders or Deerfield Road. The traffic would flow counter-clockwise around the property. The entrance and exit would be located on the east side of the property. Mr. Lemon explained that they would have stacking capacity of 10 vehicles.
Mr. Niedelman asked if they did a gap study on Deerfield Road. Mr. Lemon explained that they hadn’t. He stated that there will be certain traffic movements that will be difficult, but there are ways around it. He added that customers will choose not to patronize a facility if getting in or out is a problem. Mr. Niedelman expressed concern about making a left turn onto Deerfield Road. Trustee Haber noted they could prohibit left turns onto Deerfield Road.
Trustee Haber moved to direct the Plan Commission to consider a drive-thru cafe.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
Sewer/Solid Waste/Roads/Bike Path – In the absence of Trustee O’Donnell, Mayor Norris reported that the Village of Highwood is working on an experimental program for food waste and other biologics. If it works, he would like the Village to consider this program which would remove a lot of material from the waste stream.
Trustee Jamerson reported that the RPC held a bicycle donation event. The Village collected 35 bicycles for charity.
NSSRA/Treasurer Liaison – Trustee Ford reported that the NSSRA mac calculation for 2016 would be around $50,000 which is a bit less than last year.
Woodland/Finance – Trustee Chamberlain would like the Board to see specific financial reports on a monthly basis. The Finance Committee is working with an accountant to get that accomplished.
Drainage/IT/Environment/Stormwater – Trustee Baumann discussed the resident survey. A majority of residents requested push communications. He is working on a project which would allow him to send e-mails to residents notifying them of public meetings and providing them with a link to the online video.
Mayor Norris will have the billing department send a request for email addresses with the utility bills, offering residents a $5 coupon towards their bill. He noted it would save the Village money if bills could be emailed to residents instead of printing and mailing the bills.
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY SERVICES REPORT
Mr. Durning reported that the temporary voting site for the March primary elections will not be at Chevy Chase, as reported at the last meeting, but rather at Ravinia Green.
Trustee Chamberlain asked if the Shoppes of Riverwoods is doing anything about their landscaping. She explained that the Meadowlake residents, in particular, are very interested in the upkeep of the property. Mr. Durning noted he and Mr. Zimmerman met with the property owners who stated that they would talk with their landscape consultant. Mr. Huvard noted that the owners of Shoppes of Riverwoods called him about getting relief from the $42,000 in fees they owe, especially because they may lose Panera as a tenant. He suggested that the owners come to a Board meeting to discuss possible long-range plans for the center.
Mayor Norris forwarded the requirements to attain arboretum status for the Village to Trustee Chamberlain and Mr. Zimmerman. When asked by Trustee Baumann about possible benefits, Trustee Chamberlain explained that, according to their website, the Village will receive a designation, some degree of networking, and access to professional resources. Mayor Norris added that he saw no negatives to attaining the status.
Chief Dayno provided the Board with the Police Department activity since the August 18, 2015 Board of Trustees meeting.
INFORMATIONAL ITEMS & COMMENTS FROM THE PRESIDENT
President Pro Tem – Mr. Huvard has drafted an Ordinance for the next meeting which states that, if the Mayor is out of the state, cannot be reached within an hour in an emergency, or is disabled, the most senior serving Trustee becomes President Pro Tem unless that Trustee is unable to serve.
Bannockburn BBQ Challenge Results – Mayor Norris reported that the Village won third place in this annual event. Deerfield won the People’s Choice for overall best BBQ.
Due to the current downturn in the Chinese economy and the tremendous drop in the commodities market, recycling has dropped below the level where the Village gets paid for it. Therefore, the Village will not be receiving a payment for recycled material in the third quarter.
Mayor Norris reported that the quantity of material recycled by Riverwoods residents has increased three times as much as the regular garbage. However, the Village is still below Lake County’s desired target. Mayor Norris stated that he is also working on getting credit for the minimal amount of landscaping waste that we have picked up by our waste hauler.