Will County Gazette

Will County Gazette

Sunday, October 20, 2019

City of Crest Hill City Council met August 26

By Philip Gonzales | Oct 4, 2019

City of Crest Hill City Council met Aug. 26.

Here is the agenda provided by the council:

The August 26, 2019 City Council work session was called to order by Mayor Raymond R. Soliman at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 1610 Plainfield Road Crest Hill, Will County, Illinois.

The following Council members were present: Mayor Raymond Soliman, City Clerk Vicki Hackney, City Treasurer Glen Conklin, Alderman Scott Dyke, Alderman John Vershay, Alderwoman Barbara Sklare, Alderwoman Claudia Gazal, Alderwoman Tina Oberlin, Alderman Marco Coladipietro, Alderman Nate Albert, Alderman Joe Kubal.

Also present were: City Administrator Heather McGuire, Assistant City Administrator/HR Director Megan Fulara, Police Chief Ed Clark, Public Works Director Tom Migatz, Financial Advisor Nick Narducci, City Mechanic Brian Semplinski.

Absent were: Director of City Services Greg Koch, Finance Supervisor Ashli Motyka, Community Development Director Scott McMaster, Director of Water/Wastewater Mark Siefert.

TOPIC: Rejection of bids-2019-2020 PCC Concrete Repair Program 

Public Works Director Tom Migatz presented the Rejection of Bids-2019-2020 PCC Concrete Repair Program per the memo dated August 14, 2019. On June 25, 2019 we received two bids for the concrete repair program. The bids came in higher than in previous years. In order to receive more bids, staff recommends rejecting all bids and re bidding the program.

Mayor Soliman asked for an informal vote for the Rejection of Bids-2019-2020 PCC

Concrete Repair Program. All members present were in agreement.

TOPIC: City Hall/Police Station Space Needs Analysis 

Administrator McGuire presented the City Hall/Police Station Space Needs Analysis per the packet dated August 26, 2019. Administrator McGuire went over the background of the need for a new facility. The first phase of the project was the construction of a Public Works facility which is currently under construction. As far as the new municipal center, the City wanted to make sure that there is sufficient space for expansion of offices or additional storage. Administrator McGuire explained that there were three steps in preparing the report. Collection of data from each department. Providing for future projections in population and its impact on space needs for the City Hall. Also to develop a final plan that addresses the present and future space needs to better service the residents of the City. Administrator McGuire explained that a number of the Staff toured various Municipal buildings in City's that are similar in size to Crest Hill. Some of the items that were deemed important was a clear entrance into the facility, one central window, an office to house the Lockport Park District, room for expansion if needed for additional staff and storage. As far as the Police Department, staff found a layout that they felt met the needs of the department. Administrator McGuire went over how the proposed layout of the municipal facility was chosen. The foyer and Council Chambers in the new building would be larger than what is in the existing building. The public layout for the Police Department will be similar to what we currently have. Alderwoman Oberlin noted a correction on page 9. It should read “with an additional 50 in the Community room”. Administrator McGuire explained that the main focal point of the site will be the Memorial Garden. She then went over the current square footage of the existing building and square footage of the proposed building. The new facility will have sufficient parking for the public. Alderwoman Gazal asked if the facility is going to have windows. It would. Alderman Kubal asked if it is unusual for the buildings to be connected with a hall. Administrator McGuire explained that more often they are separated but this will allow the staff to have private access to both buildings.

Administrator McGuire informed the Council that the Police Department made several visits to neighboring Departments. They chose a design similar to the North Aurora Police Department. They are similar in size and have a similar workflow. The North Aurora facility has a shooting range and community room which is not included in our plan. She went over the layout of the secured areas, evidence area and a partial basement for future growth. The locker room area can accommodate up to 90 officers. Administrator McGuire gave a presentation on the layout of the squad room, mechanical room and work out room which will be located in the basement. Alderwoman Oberlin questioned the exterior of the building. Administrator McGuire explained that tonight's discussion is primarily for the interior of the facility. Discussion followed on where the entrances would be located. Clerk Hackney questioned employee parking. The employees would have a separate parking lot and entrance to the building. Discussion followed on the lay out of the interior of the facility. Alderman Coladipietro asked if there will be any office space for the Council members. Discussion followed on the conference area and extra offices. Alderman Albert questioned the size of the foyer area. Further discussion followed.

Chief Clark gave a presentation on the proposed Police Department facility. City Staff toured several departments and found that the North Aurora facility met their needs. He went over the layout of the interior and the efficiency of it. The Council members reviewed the plans. Discussion followed on the plans and the cost of the proposed facility. Administrator McGuire and Mr. Narducci discussed the financing options for the facility. Mr. Narducci explained why the foyers in the proposed building are larger. They will accommodate residents who are seeking City services or residents who congregate after Council meetings. Alderwoman Oberlin questioned an area where the Utility Billing Manager and Finance Manager would be located. Discussion followed on the layout. Alderman Coladipietro questioned the community room and what it would be used for. Alderman Kubal asked if we have a date for the groundbreaking for the building. Administrator McGuire said that we would like to break ground in the spring of 2020. Discussion followed on the layout of the Council Chambers. Discussion then followed on the exterior of the proposed building. Alderman Kubal asked if the Park District had agreed to the 150' office. Administrator McGuire has not submitted the plans to the Park District as of yet. The proposed office is larger than the existing one they have in the City building right now. Alderman Kubal suggested getting the Park District involved with the community center or their office in the foyer area.

Mayor Soliman asked for an informal vote on the City Hall/Police Station Space Needs Analysis. All members present were in agreement as long as their comments are taken into consideration.

TOPIC: Proposed City Hall Police Department Memorial Garden 

Administrator McGuire presented the Proposed City Hall Police Department Memorial Garden for discussion per the memo dated August 26, 2019. The Memorial Garden will be the focal point of the City center. City staff is recommending option number two which appears to be the most appropriate for the area. She went over the aesthetics of the garden. Discussion followed on the layout of the memorials. Members of the Council would like to see a more detailed rendering of the memorial. Mayor Soliman informed the Council that the Vietnam stone is full, and we will need to add an additional stone to the memorial. Alderman Albert asked why staff chose option two. Administrator McGuire explained the reason. Alderwoman Oberlin questioned the use of arborvitaes in the plan. Discussion followed on option three. Alderman Albert asked that the members of the Memorial Garden Committee be included in the plans. Alderman Vershay would like to see the American flag in the middle of the garden rather than off to the side. Alderman Kubal asked if there is a stone for the Middle East Conflict. There is one.

TOPIC: Child Advocacy Center Contract 

Police Chief Ed Clark presented the Child Advocacy Center Contract per the memo dated August 22, 2019. The organization provides assistance to Law Enforcement conducting Child Physical and Sexual Abuse investigations by providing victim sensitive interviews and support service for children and their families. The Center has seen a reduction in funds and is seeking contributions from the agencies in Will County. The fee for Crest Hill would be $5,119.00. We have the money in the budget to accommodate the request. This fee could change in the future based on our usage. Alderwoman Oberlin feels this is a great organization. Alderman Coladipietro asked if this would open us up to other agencies making the same types of requests. Administrator McGuire explained that this is a very unique organization that provides direct assistance to the Police Department.

Mayor Soliman asked for an informal vote on the Child Advocacy Center Contract. All members present were in agreement.

TOPIC: Legalization of Cannabis and Municipal Ordinance Options 

Mayor Soliman presented the Legalization of Cannabis and Municipal Ordinance Options per the memo dated August 21, 2019. Assistant Administrator/HR Director Megan Fulara informed the Council that she met with Mike Stiff in regard to the proposed legislation. Mr. Stiff gave the Council an update on the cannabis regulations that were signed into effect by the Governor on June 25, 2019. There are a number of decisions the City needs to make. Do we want to allow businesses in the City that sell cannabis or ban them. He went over the list of businesses that would need to be licensed. He gave a presentation on the tax revenue and the rules. Mayor Soliman said that the majority of the Police Chiefs have already voted to ban the businesses in their city. There are two municipalities that have voted to ban cannabis businesses. Mayor Soliman questioned whether the public can go to the hookah lounges and consume cannabis. Mr. Stiff explained that if we ban the various cannabis businesses and ban on-site consumption, they will not be able to do it. Mayor Soliman is not in favor of allowing cannabis-based businesses in the city. Alderman Kubal asked if we know what the additional cost is going to be to the city as far as Police calls and staffing. Discussion followed. Mr. Stiff explained that there is a percentage of the tax collected that will go towards the additional cost. Mr. Stiff explained to the Council that the State is currently in the expunging certain possession violations. This will cause an additional burden on the Police Department. Prior to the City making a decision on this matter, we will have to have a public hearing. Alderman Albert asked if we will be required to have an area where these types of businesses could be located. He used the sexually orientated business as an example. Mr. Stiff explained that you can put restrictions on where they can be located and what zoning districts they would be allowed in. Questions arose regarding the cannabis taxation and the local tax. The Retailers Occupation Tax Act does not allow for the passage of the taxation ordinance until January 1, 2020. Any ordinances must be submitted to the Illinois Department of Revenue by June 1, 2020 with an effective date of September 1, 2020. This would deprive the municipality of the tax for 9 months for any business that is operating as of January 1, 2020. Discussion followed. Alderman Coladipietro was not opposed to the cultivation of the cannabis, just the sale and distribution. Alderman Kubal is concerned that residents are going to purchase the cannabis in other cities. If a problem occurs in the City, we are going to have to incur the expense to resolve it. How are we going to cover it. Mayor Soliman explained that this is similar to when video gaming first started. If a municipality opted out of the machines, they did not reap any of the benefits from it. Several communities that opted out have now decided to allow the gaming machines. Administrator McGuire said that we will need to stay updated and make a decision from there. The State is ultimately the one that would have to approve any of the license. Alderwoman Sklare recalled that there was a proposed facility that was supposed to go in by the Menard's which never opened. Alderwoman Oberlin explained that they didn't open due to financing issues. She asked if a cannabis license would be similar to a liquor license where they would be put into classes. Discussion followed on where cannabis can be grown. How will you be able to determine if the cannabis was purchased at a dispensary or from a dealer. The Chief is opposed to allowing cannabis establishments in the City. There is also a question as to how the laws are going to be enforced.

Mayor Soliman asked for an informal vote on the Legalization of Cannabis and Municipal Ordinance Options. The vote would be for the banning of cannabis establishments in the City and to set up a public hearing. The majority of the Council were in favor of the ban but did have further questions. Alderman Kubal would like to hold off on a decision until we have more information on the 8% tax and what the surrounding communities are going to do. Mr. Stiff said that Rockdale is going to ban the establishments and some of the other communities are considering it. Alderwoman Oberlin asked that the Council be updated with any information the City receives.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: There were no public comments.

Mayor Soliman announced that there is a need for an executive session on 5 İLCS 120/2(c)(11) litigation, and personnel (5 ILCS 120/2(C)(1)).

(#1) Motion by Alderwoman Oberlin, seconded by Alderman Coladipietro, to go into an executive session on 5 İLCS 120/2(c)(11) litigation, and personnel (5 ILCS 120/2(c)(1)). 

On roll call, the vote was: 

AYES: Ald. Albert, Kubal, Vershay, Dyke, Gazal, Sklare, Oberlin, Coladipietro. 

NAYES: None. 

ABSENT: None. There being eight (8) affirmative votes, the MOTION CARRIED.

The executive session began at 9:12 p.m.

The meeting was reconvened at 9:32 p.m.

MAYORS UPDATES: Mayor Soliman informed the Council that they received a letter from the Czechoslovak American Congress.

Mayor Soliman informed the Council that he received a call from a resident regarding the no parking signs that are posted at the intersection of Crestwood and Root. There was an ordinance passed in June of 1988 prohibiting parking on all four corners of Crestwood and Root during specified times. The original owner of the property who complained about the parking located at the intersection passed away. The new owner is requesting that the no parking signs be removed. There are fewer children playing baseball and more parking provided by the ball diamonds. The Mayor recommends keeping the ordinance in place but removing the signs on a trial basis. If parking becomes a problem, then the signs can be put back up. The Mayor asked for comments from the Aldermen representing the Ward. Alderman Albert did not see a problem with on a trial basis. Alderman Kubal agreed. The remainder of the Council was in agreement.

COMMITTEE/LIAISON UPDATES: There were no committee/liaison updates.

CITY ADMINISTRATOR UPDATES: Administrator McGuire informed the Council that we received the sidewalk easement agreement back today from Arbor Glen. This will be on the September 3, 2019 Council agenda.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:36


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