Sangamon County Board met July 11.
Sangamon County Board met July 11.
Here is the minutes provided by the Board:
Mr. DelGiorno introduced Father Jeff Grant from Blessed Sacrament Church to give the Invocation. Mr. Preckwinkle led the County Board in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chairman Van Meter asked County Clerk Gray to call the roll. There were 26 Present – 3 Absent. Mrs. Hills, Mr. O’Neill and Mrs. Williams were excused.
Mr. DelGiorno presented a Proclamation to Father Jeff Grant from Blessed Sacrament Church for his work in the community and in Africa. Father Grant accepted the Proclamation, thanked the County, and asked that they pray for those refugees because their life is pretty tough.
Mr. DelGiorno presented a Proclamation to Dale Phillips recognizing his 40 years of service with the National Park Service and his service as Superintendent of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Mr. Phillips accepted the Proclamation and thanked them for the recognition. He stated he could not think of a better place to start or end his career.
Mr. Mendenhall presented a Proclamation to William Russell, Jr. recognizing his nearly 28 years of service with the Sangamon County Rescue Squad and as Deputy Coordinator of ESDA and OEM. Mr. Mendenhall stated, as retired assistant chief of the Mechanicsburg Fire Department, that he’s had the pleasure of working with Bill on many occasions. Mr. Russell thanked past and present County Board members for allowing him to serve the citizens of Sangamon County.
Mr. Mendenhall introduced the new Chief of the Rescue Squad Marc Victor. Marc resides in Gardner Township, has a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Illinois University, and is employed by their Central Dispatch System as third shift Springfield Police Department Dispatcher. Marc gave 20 plus years of service to the Illinois National Guard and the 183rd Air Guard, retiring in 2015 with the rank of Master Sergeant. He had four deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere during that time. Mr. Mendenhall thanked Marc for his service and expressed how they look forward to working with him as the new Chief. Mr. Victor thanked them for giving him the opportunity to follow in Bill’s footsteps and continue to serve the community. If there is ever anything they need from the Rescue Squad they can feel free to contact them.
Mr. Mendenhall presented a Proclamation to Mark Boughter recognizing his work with Sangamon County Central Dispatch as a dispatcher starting in 1985 and as Center Manager for 12 years. Mr. Boughter thanked them for the recognition. Mr. Mendenhall also recognized Executive Director of 911 Dave Dobson, who is retiring. It’s been an honor serving with him and he thanked Mr. Dobson for his contribution.
Auditor Andy Goleman addressed the County Board. He stated that the FY2016 audit was sent out to the County Board for their viewing on Thursday, June 29th. The outside Auditors RSM are here to report their findings of that. They also gave the findings to the Finance Committee at their meeting earlier tonight. He commented that when he was appointed, and in fact, interviewing for this position, he made the comment there were some findings in their last audit at that time. And he also told the Chairman and members of the County Board that they would make sure to work hard to eliminate the findings, and that they have none. He is proud to report tonight, that is what they are going to hear.
Randy Ragan who is the Engagement Partner on the audit, and John George, Regional Government Partner out of Chicago for RSM addressed the County Board. Mr. Ragan stated they did complete their audit late in June and delivered them to the County. Earlier this afternoon they did meet with the Finance Committee to discharge their responsibilities under their professional requirements to discuss the audit process and results with the Finance Committee. The highlights of their audits were that they did issue an unmodified report on the financial statements of Sangamon County. An unmodified report is the highest level of attestation they can put on a set of financial statements. Their report on the schedule of federal expenditures indicated that report is fairly presented also. They noted no violations, laws, contracts, regulations, etc. They noted no significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the system of internal control or in the accounting and recording processes. In addition, as Andy indicated, he is certainly pleased to report to them the deficiencies that have existed for the last few audits have all been corrected. They have tested the procedures they have put into place, and have found them to be acceptable. In reports you will see, there are no findings or recommendations for this year.
John George addressed the County Board. He echoed what they covered at the Finance Committee meeting and what Randy reflected here. It’s kudos to management and members of the administration that were able to help them out and get a clean audit issued. It’s obviously very important to them, as the auditors, to have the support of the administration, a clean audit opinion and report and clear up of the prior comments. It’s good news all around.
A motion was made by Ms. Sheehan, seconded by Mr. Bunch, for approval of the Minutes of June 13, 2017. A voice vote was unanimous.
Motion Carried Minutes Adopted
A motion was made by Mr. Bunch, seconded by Ms. Sheehan, to place correspondence on file with the County Clerk. A voice vote was unanimous.
1. Resolution approving the low bid for a culvert replacement on Hunley Road in Auburn
A motion was made by Mr. Fraase, seconded by Mrs. Deppe, to place Resolution 1 on the floor. Chairman Van Meter asked County Clerk Gray to call the roll. Upon the roll call vote, there were 25 Yeas – 0 Nays.
Motion Carried Resolution Adopted
2. 2017-025 – John Bruntjen, 3000 Block of Mt. Pulaski Road, Illiopolis – Granting a Rezoning.
County Board Member – Dave Mendenhall, District #3.
A motion was made by Mr. Mendenhall, seconded by Mrs. Small, to place Resolution 2 on the floor. A motion was made by Mr. Stumpf to waive the reading of the professional staff’s report. There were no objections. A voice vote was unanimous for the adoption of Resolution 2.
Motions Carried Resolution Adopted
3. 2017-026 – Pebbles Rubble, LLC, 3600 N. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield – Granting Variances.
County Board Member - Greg Stumpf, District #16.
A motion was made by Mr. Stumpf, seconded by Mr. Madonia, to place resolution 3 on the floor. A motion was made by Mr. Stumpf to waive the reading of the professional staff’s report. There were no objections. A voice vote was unanimous for the adoption of Resolution 3.
Motions Carried Resolution Adopted
4. 2017-027 – Dan Godiksen, 18 Covered Bridge Acres, Glenarm – Granting a Variance. County Board Member – Craig Hall, District #7.
A motion was made by Mr. Hall, seconded by Mrs. Fulgenzi, to place Resolution 4 on the floor. A motion was made by Mr. Stumpf to waive the reading of the professional staff’s report. There were no objections. A voice vote was unanimous for the adoption of Resolution 4.
Motions Carried Resolution Adopted
5. 2017-028 – Dale Anders, 4421 Peoria Road, Springfield – Granting a Rezoning and Variances.
County Board Member – Greg Stumpf, District #16.
A motion was made by Mr. Stumpf, seconded by Mr. Miller, to place Resolution 5 on the floor. Chairman Van Meter asked the professional staff to give the procedural history of the case.
Trustin Harrison, professional staff, stated the petitioner is requesting a rezoning from RM-4 manufactured home district to I-1 restricted industrial district, a variance to allow the access way to be unpaved rock instead of the required minimum bituminous seal coat except for the ingress/egress of the first 40 feet off of Sandhill Road to be paved with concrete within one year, a variance to allow two principal uses on one parcel, a variance to allow a single-family residence in an I-1 restricted industrial district; and, a variance to allow the lot depth to be greater than 2 1⁄2 times the lot width.
Steven Keenan, professional staff, stated the Planning Commission recommends approval. Zoning within the area is mixed ranging from R-1 to I-1 within 300 feet of the subject property. The area surrounding the subject property has been moving from residences toward businesses so the proposed concrete contractor business would be consistent with the trend.
Also, the single-family residence on the subject property pre-dates the adoption of the zoning regulations, and denying the continued residential use on the subject property would constitute a hardship. The petitioner will have concrete trucks utilizing the access way which could cause continuous damage to the access way if paving would be required, which could reduce the reasonable return on the subject property. The standards for variation are met. Mr. Harrison stated the Zoning Board of Appeals concurs with the staff recommendation for approval.
Petitioner Dale Anders, residing at 5236 W. Washington in Springfield, addressed the County Board. He stated he is trying to clean up the property that was there. It has been abandoned for four years. He’s been in business in Springfield for 30 years, and was born and raised here in the north end. He is proud to be keeping his business there. They have cleaned a lot of it up. They are pretty docile, and he can’t imagine there would be a lot of ruckus for anybody to deal with. They are wanting to put a building up there and move his business there. He is currently down the street on Peoria Road and has been there for five years.
Objector Susan Horrighs, residing at 4029 Sandhill Road in Springfield, addressed the County Board. Her concern is that Mr. Ander’s address there is 4421 Peoria Road, and he wants to access his business from Sandhill Road. There are a lot of kids, a BMX track, and a lot of kids on bicycles and people walking and jogging on that road. He does not have access to the frontage road. Every business there has access to their business and they do it from the frontage road. They don’t have access from Sandhill, but their property lines go back there. The business he is referring to does not have access to the frontage road. Ideally she would not want him to have the business there, but if this is passed, they are just asking that he have access to the frontage road and that a privacy fence be put up to block the noise from the trucks and everything else. That is all she asks.
Mr. Stumpf asked the professional staff for confirmation if they could not obtain access onto Peoria Road in this case. Trustin Harris, professional staff, stated that IDOT did submit a comment stating access onto Peoria Road would not be acceptable. Mr. Stumpf explained they do not know why. For aesthetics purposes they asked that he have access to Sandhill Road. He would have to concrete back 40 feet before he comes out onto that road, and also do as much as possible on the fence and everything he will have outside to keep it contained and out of view of the homes. Mrs. Horrighs stated she understands that and asked Mr. Anders to not take this personally, but this is her neighborhood. It’s right across the street from her, so her property value has probably just plummeted. The property was purchased with the intent of rezoning knowing he didn’t have the access he needed, but was assuming he could get it. She doesn’t understand why a privacy fence couldn’t be put up to block their view of this. Ron Furman did it down the street to block everyone. If IDOT says he can’t do it, then she guesses he can’t do it, but she doesn’t know why they think Sandhill Road is so much wider than the frontage road. It’s the same width.
Linda Fulgenzi asked where the BMX track is located. Mrs. Horrighs stated it is catty corner from them. Mrs. Fulgenzi asked if that is noisy. Mrs. Horrighs stated it is not at 6:00 a.m. in the morning, and that is what this would be. It would be 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. When you are retired you don’t want to be woke up by the beeping sound of something backing up.
Mr. Bunch asked if there is a reason he can’t put a privacy fence up. Trustin Harrison, professional staff, stated this property is kind of unique. Since he would be exiting onto Sandhill Road, by definition it’s the rear yard, so he could put up a privacy fence. If you would treat this like any other property when you exit your drive, you wouldn’t want a privacy fence up because of visibility issues. He can put up a privacy fence, by definition, but he doesn’t think it would be a good thing because of safety issues.
Mr. Anders gave his rebuttal. He believes there are two businesses next to his that exit out. There is Furman’s and the Pioneer Motel. He can’t imagine it hurting her property value because they have cleaned up an area that was abandoned for four or five years. It was literally timber and woods. There were people in and out of there. Everything in that property was stolen. He is going to clean it up, fence it in, and try to maintain it professionally. As far as the privacy fence, he could put some privacy slats in the back fence, but then when you are pulling out it obstructs a lot of view. But, whatever they need to do to make it work.
Mr. Stumpf pointed out this area is unique with an island in between the two roads. It is also unique to have the homes alongside the industrial area with different styles of businesses all up and down there. She has every right to be here as a neighbor representing the neighborhood, so he asks them to be a good neighbor to them with their business. Mr. Anders stated that they have been very respectful.
Mrs. Horrighs gave her rebuttal. She has nothing against Dale, but she has always been told to fight for her neighborhood. She is trying and is scratching at every ounce and fabric of being she has to save it. She knows he meets all the qualifications, as they say, but she is just at a loss for words right now. She doesn’t want it to happen, and knows he does. She asked that they just take her neighborhood into consideration. She is concerned if he leaves, they are zoning it an I-1, so anything can go in there, and he has moved several times already. That is what bothers her.
Mr. Bunch asked if Mr. Anders if he has cleaned up the area like they said. Mrs. Horrighs concurred that he has.
Chairman Van Meter asked for a vote on the question. A voice vote was unanimous for the adoption of Resolution 5.
Motion Carried Resolution Adopted
Resolutions 6 – 9
6. Resolution to approve the execution of an agreement between Massie-Massie Associates and the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission.
A motion was made by Mr. Snell, seconded by Mr. Stumpf, to place Resolution 6 on the floor. A motion was made by Mr. Bunch, seconded by Mr. Smith, to consolidate Resolutions 6 – 9. Chairman Van Meter asked County Clerk Gray to read Resolutions 7 – 9.
7. Resolution approving an amendment to the license agreement with Tyler Technologies Inc. to allow law enforcement records to interface with New World software.
8. Resolution authorizing the issuance and sale by the County of its Economic Development Revenue Bonds (Kidzeum Project), Series 2017.
9. Resolution providing for public transportation in Sangamon and Menard Counties.
A voice vote was unanimous on the consolidation.
Rachael Thomson, Board President of the Kidzeum of Health & Science, addressed the County Board. She gave them an update on the project. This is a children’s museum started by a completely volunteer board. They have no paid staff and have, since 2009, run a capital campaign to raise $6.99 million. They have successfully done that. They have spent money across the way, so they still have about $450,000 left to raise. That puts them in the position to be completely debt free and have three months of operating costs when they open their doors in May. That is something they are extremely proud of. Kidzeum is a traditional children’s museum in sense that it offers a very safe, nurturing, educational opportunity for kids to learn in a way they learn best, which is to play. They are upping the game by making it where they are learning something about how to keep their bodies healthy and safe in a way that will create lifelong learners and healthy adults. They are hoping to help combat childhood obesity in a way that pediatricians and school districts are unable to do. They are encouraging kids to engage in four major galleries. One is the Health Body Gallery, which is a forty-foot tall three-story kid that you can climb into and around and learn about the health body systems, how to keep them safe, exercise them. as well as what to do when things go wrong. Second is the Health Community Gallery, which teaches kids about the services and professionals that exist in our wonderful city that will keep them healthy and safe. Third is the Fields Market Exhibit, where as they did focus groups, kids had no idea where their food came from. They thought it was hugely important for kids to learn about the agriculture component of where their food comes from, all the way from germination to pollination to harvesting to distribution. Hopefully they will have kids participate in the Farmers Market as well. Fourth is the Healthy Earth Exhibit. It teaches kids to be good stewards of this world. They learn the importance of water, how to sustain it, why it’s important, and elements of fun. They have a build-your-own boat station so they can race it. They can be kids, but also learn some important life lessons. She is very grateful for the opportunity for the County Board to approve the bonds. With that, they will save Kidzeum a great amount of interest on their construction loan. It will actually be about 2%, which is about $280,000, so they would really appreciate their consideration and support.
Chairman Van Meter asked when they first announced this program. Mrs. Thomson stated they kicked off their capital campaign in 2009, but started planning in 2006. Chairman Van Meter stated he thinks this is an astonishing program. In 2009 it was a year after the Great Recession hit.
There were plenty of people in this community who laughed up their sleeve at this idea, but the fact that you have brought it to this point is a demonstration that a good idea nurtured by determination can achieve great things. It is really a wonderful exciting program for this community. Mrs. Thomson added that they will also bring about 120,000 annual visitors to downtown, which greatly needs foot traffic; will create 98 construction jobs during the process; will have 14 full-time staff; and the Economic Impact Study they did estimates that Kidzeum will bring in about $3 million in revenue to the city each year.
A motion was made by Ms. Sheehan, seconded by Mr. Preckwinkle, that the roll call vote for Resolution 1 stands as the roll call vote for Resolutions 6 – 9, as consolidated. A voice vote carried. Ms. Sheehan voted Present on Resolution 8.
Motions Carried Resolutions Adopted
Waiver Of Ten-Day Filing Period
A motion was made by Ms. Sheehan, seconded by Mr. Bunch, to waive the ten-day filing period. A voice vote was unanimous.
Motion Carried Ten-Day Filing Period Waived
Resolutions 10 – 12
10. Resolution approving an intergovernmental agreement between the Springfield-Sangamon
County Regional Planning Commission and the Village of New Berlin regarding Plat Officer designation.
A motion was made by Mr. Hall, seconded by Mr. Tjelmeland, to place Resolution 10 on the floor. A motion was made by Mr. Bunch, seconded by Mr. Smith, to consolidate Resolutions 10 – 12. Chairman Van Meter asked County Clerk Gray to read Resolutions 11 and 12.
11. Resolution approving an intergovernmental agreement between Sangamon County, the
Circuit Clerk, the municipality of Chatham, and the Chatham Police Department for electronic citation services.
12. Resolution amending Chapters 6.04, 5.28, 5.24, 5.20 and 15.05 of the Sangamon County
Code for the Sangamon County Department of Public Health.
A voice vote was unanimous on the consolidation. County Administrator Brian McFadden and Director of Department of Public Health Jim Stone addressed the County Board regarding Resolution 12.
Mr. McFadden took a moment to talk to the County Board about some of their policies and procedures before they get to the meats and potatoes of the presentation regarding the fines and fees. It is hard to believe, but right around the corner it’s going to be budget season starting next month. Next month the County Board will be asked to adopt the FY18 County Budget Policy Guidelines as they do every year. This document, given how some governments are run around here, is a pretty radical document the County Board has to vote on every year. It lays out 18 policy guidelines and how they will approach their budget. There are crazy things in there like: they are going to adopt a balanced budget, they are going to pay their bills on time, and they won’t start new programs unless they have a way to pay for them. So they probably need to share this document with some other folks around here. It is a good solid document. He drew their attention to one of the guidelines in particular. Item number 8 says the County Board shall continue to examine all user fees and consider raising them, when appropriate, to ensure those individuals receiving services bare the cost of providing them. In short, if you create the cost you cover the cost. As the Chairman mentioned earlier in caucus, this has been a policy for the County Board for quite some time, and is part of what they are discussing here today. This is important because they have a wide range of fees and fines here at the County. It is about $16 million in total that they collect. There is everything from marriage licenses to restaurant fees to the building department, just a variety of things. They know there are costs. They can debate and discuss how much those costs are, but can’t deny there are costs to provide these services. The bottom line question they face and what is addressed in Resolution 8 is who is going to cover those costs. Is it going to be the user or the taxpayer? It’s different for some of these fines and fees, but more often than not, the County Board falls on the side that the user should cover the cost. A senior citizen in Jerome who has never gotten a speeding ticket, shouldn’t be paying for the court system. It should be the ones using the court system, as an example, so that’s their policy.
Mr. McFadden also talked about their process. Usually when they do these there is a cost study involved. In some cases, they are mandated by state law to do the cost study. They bring in an independent entity that looks at their costs and identifies what those costs are. It’s important because they have to identify what the costs are, but they have to determine whether they are efficiently doing the service, and how it looks compared to their peer counties. That’s all accomplished with a cost study, and is an important first step. He thinks, through this process, they have gotten a pretty good handle on what they think their costs are. They have a general feeling that they are efficient, but they can always be more efficient. He spends a big part of his time trying to find ways to be more efficient. The Public Health Department is spending $700,000 less than it did in 2005, and has 34 fewer employees than it had back in 2005. They are tightening the belt trying to find ways to do things at a cheaper price and more efficiently, so the cost study is important. Usually the next step is the committee. In this case, they have formed a joint committee. The Public Health Committee and Finance Committee met jointly over a period of eight months. It was a grueling long discussion they had. This will be the tenth public meeting they’ve had to discuss these fines and fees. They are a little off their game and pride themselves in how they do these things. The fact is, they were negligent on this one. The Building Department fees haven’t been raised in 17 years, and the restaurant fees haven’t been addressed in 8 years. That is not how they normally operate.
He thinks one of the things they need to take away from today is not just the individual details that Jim will provide in a moment, but that they want a process in place so they don’t find themselves in a situation where they have to make up huge grounds of time in one single leap, so to speak. They will still have to debate getting into the process of having a cost study on a regular basis every five or three years. Addressing this in a timely way is a better long-term policy, and he thinks everyone who has worked on this is committed to that process. Mr. McFadden now asked Jim Stone to walk them through some of the highlights of the resolution.
Director of Public Health Jim Stone addressed the County Board. He thanked Mr. McFadden and the County Board for their time and effort on this. It’s always important to make sure they get valuable input, and they did receive that. They took all of that into consideration and actually made changes based on some of that input as well. He thanked Bruce Cowans for his work on the cost study. The study was done because the prices have not been increased since 2008. The building fees have not been increased since the inception of the program in 2000. The study addressed costs, but they are also remindful of the impact. Numerous fees were not increased to actual cost for some various services. They recommended lowering some fees in some cases. There are a couple food fees that went down. Animal control, one and three year registrations, was unaltered. Rabies shots and dog adoptions are actually going down. He gave some of the highlights. With animal control, one of the things discussed in three of the Citizen Advisory Committee meetings, that got a lot of good input from veterinarians, was trying to create incentive for a three-year tag. They already provide a three-year tag, but it costs just as much to issue a three-year tag as it does a one year. They were hoping they could find a way to get people to actually get the three-year tag when they get a three-year rabies vaccination for their dog or cat. With that, they have adjusted the fees, and the unaltered fee is coming down. They are required to have a $10 differential for the unaltered animals, but the deal is you will be able to get a three-year registration for the price of two. They are hopeful this will move people towards a three-year registration tag, which will mean less handling and cost on the County’s part. It will make them more efficient as well. One thing they want to do, if approved, is go out and promote this with the veterinarian community, which was Lisa’s idea. The veterinarians actually issues the tags for the initial issuance. They come out and get them from the Public Health Department. This would stop some of the second and third year work including: the mailings, money owed, and everything else associated with that.
Mr. Stone explained with the building program, they did adjust the value, and there a couple other things they will require to try and tighten this up a little bit because there was a lot of discussion about value and square footage in the meetings. They are going require signed contracts to make sure they know exactly what the value of a project specifically is, and they will require site plans to actually verify square footage.
For the food program, they have eliminated critical violation fines. They have also eliminated the old late fee format, which was significant. It was adopted as part of the merger with the City of Springfield back in 2006. They have lowered that down to a simple $100 or $50 fine for being late. They have also readjusted the re-inspection fees, and implemented a three-year phase in for some of the fees that had higher impacts.
The septic and wells changes are based on lower activity. They’ve seen the number of septic’s and wells going down each year. Twenty years ago they used to do 420 septic’s a year, now they are looking at around 88, so it is really going down a lot as far as rural development. A lot of the communities are now tying into public sewer and public water, which is really preferable.
The committees looked at cost comparisons with other counties. The looked at what would just be a simple impact of a simple CPI increase. Just a simple CPI increase for just one example of high risk food establishment would actually be higher than what they recommended. They are recommending, if this is approved and after the phase in period of three years, they would look at a CPI increase for the following year and then look at bringing in another cost study. They would then get on a cycle where every three or five years they would look at doing a cost study, and during the in between years they would just be doing simple CPI increases, so it does make this as laborious and tedious for all of them to deal with. Mr. Stone offered to answer any questions the County Board may have.
Mr. Hall expressed his appreciation for allowing them to give their input and feedback on this. He commented that there are things they have discussed about the Health Department that are not a part of this budget, and are things he would like to see improved upon. He would like to see more training when they do have these fee increases to pay for the cost of the inspections. He would like the inspectors to be provided a little bit more training so the new people have an understanding and the current employees can improve. They are the people in our districts that represent us and go to these restaurants and businesses. Once in a while he hears people from his district complaining that they think the County is a little clumsy in creating business. Mr. Hall clarified that he thinks Sangamon County does a fine job of making businesses, but businesses have to perform up to the standards of the state and county. These are some of the things he would like to see improved upon. Mr. Stone acknowledged Mr. Hall’s concerns.
Chairman Van Meter stated the last time they adjusted these fees was just before the market crashed. As a board they really didn’t feel, in the midst of the Great Recession, that they could adjust fees. They feel they are now far enough past that so they can. Chairman Van Meter asked if there was someone in the audience who would like to speak.
Donna Cook addressed the County Board. She started a small restaurant in this town 18 years ago. She has worked 20 hours per day trying to get it going and keep it going. They have questions and wonder why all these costs come to them. When they started out it was like $90 for their license, and now it is like $800 for their license. What is all of that actually covering for them? They are paying all this money out for the license, but they don’t know what it is actually doing for them. There are a lot of costs that come with running a restaurant. She asked her daughter to come up and speak about this.
Goldie Harris, Donna’s daughter, addressed the County Board. She knows it hasn’t been raised since 2008, but she asked if they looked back to see why they went through such a gross increase. It’s was almost over a 300% increase. She works six days a week and 16 to 17 hours per day to keep their costs down because they just don’t have a high profit margin.
They have county, city and state taxes. For a small business, they put out over $6,000 per month in taxes, fines, and fees. It’s just overwhelming. When you don’t know it’s happening, it’s shocking for them. They wonder why they are getting hit. They are sure other businesses are too, but it’s just hard for a small business. Corporate and small businesses should maybe be classified different. She doesn’t know how they figure the fines and fees, but it does make a difference on the community when you have a small business. They only have 11 employees.
Chairman Van Meter asked when they started the business. Ms. Harris stated the restaurant was opened in 1999. Chairman Van Meter asked if that was when the fees were $90. Ms. Harris stated that she pulled a license fee their concession stand from 1996 and it was actually $50. She’s not positive and didn’t have time to find out what the actual restaurant fee was since she just found out about the meeting a week ago. She doesn’t know if the costs of food trucks was different than from brick and mortar. They just want to know what their license fee goes for.
Ms. Cook asked why they don’t notify them about these kinds of things. She asked why it has to feel like it’s coming under the table to get it done without them knowing. They just found out about it. They should be notified about it. She knows it’s in the clause, but that’s their laws. Where do her laws come in at? They shouldn’t have to get a lawyer because that is an expense too. It’s not right. They wouldn’t put up with it from them and it’s just not right.
Ms. Harris stated they save all year long, not just for the Public Health Department fees, but for other fees and taxes. She knows $800 is not a lot of money to some people, but to a small business it really is. Ms. Cook stated they cannot base what they think they are going to get in the restaurant business. They do pretty good as far as customers go because she was out there busting her butt trying to get them for the first 18 years and now her daughter is. Ms. Harris stated this just took them by surprise.
Mr. Krell asked for clarification if they said they are paying out over $6,000 a month in fines and fees. They clarified that they do. It includes payroll and taxes too.
Chairman Van Meter asked Mr. Stone to address their questions. Mr. Stone stated he would take their word on what the fees were in 1999 because they merged with the City of Springfield Health Department back in 2006. Those fees were actually charged by the City of Springfield Health Department at that time. He does know one thing discussed was that they would adopt the cities fees at that time in 2006 and freeze fees for two years until they had a cost study done in 2008. That is the last increase they saw. The City of Springfield has a practice of subsidizing some of their programs with their corporate general tax money, but the County has different policies. The second question to address was what the fees go to. Mr. Stone explained the fees go strictly to the operations involved with providing a particular service. Part of the work that Fiscal Choice does, when they do the cost study, is to look at all the costs within the department including: driving the car, buying gas, liability insurance, and time involved by anybody that has anything to do with any specific service. This includes: a secretary’s time, an inspector’s time, a supervisor’s time, fiscal time, and the treasurer’s time cutting checks. All of those things go towards defining what a specific cost is.
There is actually a time study as part of this study, and it is part of the direct report in the cost study. There is no profit incentive since they are non-for-profit government. They are simply looking to cover their costs. As he mentioned in his presentation, there are some programs where they still don’t cover costs. They know sometimes they are at a point of diminishing return with certain programs, so that’s why they don’t cover all costs. Mr. Stone addressed the last question regarding receiving notice. All ten meetings Brian referred to were open public meetings, were posted downstairs, and they follow all notice requirements as required by State of Illinois law. This doesn’t mean they can’t look at some other different kind of notifications in the future. One thing they want to do as they move forward, he mentioned they will be changing the food code next year, is to offer free training to all the establishments in Sangamon County this fall. They are hoping to get email addresses for all the establishments so they can have a blast email sent out for certain things. Obviously, if they are looking at fees being increased or cost studies being incurred, they would use that as a way of getting the word out, on top of what they are required to do legally.
Chairman Van Meter asked if they routinely speak with the media. Mr. McFadden stated they do. All of the meetings are posted publicly, but they have a new policy where they share the agendas and minutes of the meetings directly with the press. Chairman Van Meter expressed that they encourage the media to write articles about what they are doing. He asked how much media coverage they received during the eight months of working on this project. Mr. McFadden stated there was maybe two stories and one television story. They have attempted to get the message out for the reasons they stated. They do want input. There used to be a restaurant association in Springfield that is not in place anymore, so that kind of limited their ability to get the word out.
Mr. Preckwinkle asked if the fees would be phased in and are not starting right away. Mr. McFadden stated the new fee schedule goes into place on December 1st so it ties in with their fiscal year. Some of the fees have a three-year ramp up and some don’t, but most of the food related fees do. With past County policy, one of the 18 guidelines is they do not budget new fee revenue until they’ve had a year of actual experience collecting that fee. They don’t want to get into the game of guessing. A lot of this depends on how many restaurants there are and how many building permits there are. It can vary widely from year to year. Unless someone instructs him to change that policy, what they have done in the past is collect it for a year before they start to actually budget and spend it.
Chairman Van Meter asked if they know the fee increase for Ms. Cook’s restaurant. Mr. Stone stated he believes theirs is a Class I High Risk Establishment. That is not high risk based on what they do, but is the state’s definition of the kind of work they do. It would be $119 over three years. This would include $41 this December 1st, $40 December of 2018, and $38 December of 2019.
Linda Fulgenzi asked if food trucks are licensed in Sangamon County. Mr. Stone stated they are considered mobiles. She asked if they would have to get a license in other counties. Mr. Stone stated they would have to get licensed in each county.
Mr. DelGiorno asked if they have looked at peer counties in terms of what their fees are. Mr. Stone stated they did. They asked Fiscal Choice to come back and do some additional work for them after their study. What they found is counties handle these things in a multitude of different ways. Some counties do cost studies and some adjust when they think they need to be adjusted, and they may not necessarily be tied to a cost study. After looking at the comparable counties, there was more focus strictly on their cost study and those costs found in that.
Chairman Van Meter explained one of the things they find when doing the comparable studies, and is what happens in so many communities, cities, and other counties is that restaurant owners, pet owners and builders are all organized and say they don’t want the fees raised, so the board doesn’t raise their fees. Then the taxpayers end up paying for the cost of providing those services. A long time before he was here, Sangamon County had a culture of saying no, where the statutory scheme allows for the charging of a fee. They said they are going to charge the cost of providing the service and not stick the taxpayers with the cost of that bill. They are going to be the guardians of the taxpayers of Sangamon County.
Mr. Thomas asked if they have a mailing address for every business license and restaurant. Mr. Stone stated they do have mailing addresses, but do not have email addresses. Mr. Thomas asked what they do until then. Mr. Stone stated they have to go through the legal process of posting. They also have information on their website.
Annette Fulgenzi stated she has made a lot of comments throughout this process. Small businesses generally don’t have a voice in this process. Larger companies do and the smaller ones do not. One thing she recommended and suggested is they come up with some type of advisory group for the restaurants to work with to get their input and feedback when things like this come up. They work with the Farm Bureau and other groups, and she thinks it’s critical for the small businesses because they employ the majority of people in this community. It’s important to treat them with the same respect they treat the larger ones. Also, the health department could do an Enewsletter to the community that they could sign up for, and it would be very inexpensive to do.
A motion was made by Ms. Sheehan, seconded by Mr. Bunch, that the roll call vote for Resolution 1 stands as the roll call vote for Resolutions 10 – 12, as consolidated. A voice vote was unanimous.
Motions Carried Resolutions Adopted
A. Resolution 7 – Tabled 6/13/17
2017-022 – Willis Payton, 1411 N. 29th Street, Springfield – Denying a Conditional Permitted Use and Granting a Variance. County Board Member – Jason Ratts, District #10.
Resolution 7 remains Tabled.
There were no new resolutions.
Appointment of Bill Romines to the Dawson Fire Protection District for a term to expire May, 2019.
A motion was made by Ms. Sheehan, seconded by Mr. Bunch, for approval of the appointments. A voice vote was unanimous.
Motion Carried Appointments Adopted
C. F.O.P. Civilian Unit Contract and MOU
Mr. Smith stated it is his pleasure to bring before the County Board tonight a contract for ratification with the Illinois F.O.P. Labor Council Lodge #55, Civilian Unit of the Sheriff’s Department. This is a three-year rollover of that contract and the terms within that contract. He thanked the bargaining unit members of Lodge #55 and the F.O.P representative. They were all very cooperative, and it was a congenial process. He also recognized the Sheriff and his administration for their work and understanding of the needs of that department, and for their creative efforts to come up with real solutions for helping them get through this process in a very good time frame. They also have a Memorandum of Understanding that goes along with this contract. Part of the process was to create a new position down there and a little bit of restructuring, so that is what the Memorandum of Understanding addresses. A motion was made by Mr. Smith, seconded by Mr. Bunch, to ratify the contract with this bargaining unit. A voice vote was unanimous.
Motion Carried Contract Ratified
D. 2018 Sangamon County Court Holidays
A motion was made by Ms. Sheehan, seconded by Mr. Bunch, for approval of the 2018 Sangamon County Court Holidays. A voice vote was unanimous.
Motion Carried Holidays Adopted
Reports Of County Officials, Reports Of Standing Committees, Reports Of Special Committees, Committee Report On Claims
A motion was made by Mr. Bunch, seconded by Ms. Sheehan, to place the reports on file with the County Clerk. A voice vote was unanimous.
Motion Carried Reports Filed
A motion was made by Ms. Sheehan, seconded by Mr. Bunch, to recess the meeting to August 8, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. A voice vote was unanimous.
Motion Carried Meeting Recessed