Moraine Township

Moraine Township Board of Trustees
Thursday, January 8, 2009 5:00 PM
Moraine Township Office

January 8, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 5:05 PM by Supervisor Barnes and upon roll call the following members were present: Trustees Bryna Gamson, Margoth Moreno, and Cynthia Plouché. Trustee Jeff Zaluda was absent. Also present were Assessor Peter Koukos, Clerk Ellen Gussin, and community member Lynne Giangreco.

Approval of Minutes
The Regular Meeting Minutes of December 18, 2008 stand approved as written.

Approval of Bills
A bill from Task Force for $3,136 for snow plowing, which covers one cemetery and residences of six seniors who cannot afford snow removal, had been questioned by Supervisor Barnes when it was presented and resulted in changing the vendor to obtain a better rate. She said she has considered discontinuing the program next year and handling each case as a special grant; further deliberations on the subject will be appropriate when the budget is considered. Trustee Plouché moved, seconded by Trustee Moreno, approval of the bills. Upon roll call, motion carried.

Public Comment
Lynne Giangreco, an 18-year resident of Highland Park, reported on a fire that occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend at her neighbor’s residence on the 1300 block of St. Johns. The owner of the burnt out home, his family, and two other families that lived there were all displaced. Ms. Giangreco and many of her neighbors have personally assisted them, but she reported her frustration at the little help they received from the City, Police Department and Township. Supervisor Barnes reported that she had received a courtesy call from the Highland Park Police Department concerning the incident and that the Township, which had been closed that Friday for the holiday began to assist homeowner’s family the following Monday. Ms. Giangreco wanted to know more about emergency procedures and suggested the need for better communication. Although the Police Department knows they can place people in a hotel room under the sponsorship of the Township in the event of emergencies such as this, the homeowner declined the offer; he was more interested in finding a temporary rental and none could be found. Ms. Giangreco reported that although Tracy Coleman had been helpful in trying to assist the family, she was nevertheless distraught that a better solution had not been offered and is embarrassed that our community could not do more. The Board agreed that communication should be improved; perhaps a written hand-out prepared by the Township for the Police to distribute in the event of an emergency might help communicate options. Mayor Belsky did respond to Ms. Giangreco’s call although he did not know of the fire, and the newspaper did not respond to her calls. The Township had posted an emergency number on the front door following this fire to inform citizens that might drive by after hours.

Budget Discussion
Supervisor Barnes reported that she would like to meet early on February 12 to discuss the Budget. That meeting will now begin at 4 PM.

Assessor’s Report
Assessor Koukos reported that the Appeals process will be completed a month earlier than normal. Tax reductions for 460 residents of the nearly 1200 appeals filed were accompanied by convincing evidence to prove the case either uncovered by the Assessor’s office and/or the appealing resident. Next week will be the last date that the office can file requests for change on tax appeals; this deadline coincides with the end of the Appeals process.

Supervisor’s Report
Supervisor Barnes reported that the Phyllis Santullano Holiday Gift Drive went extremely well. Township also distributed several hundred food bags as well as gift cards from Jewel and Sunset.

Committee Reports
Food Pantry – Township has been very busy this week with requests for food and clothing. A report of the counts will be distributed at the next meeting. There is a need for men’s clothing.

Grant Committee – Process will start in February. Trustee Gamson requested some staff help during the time her husband is recovering from surgery. Trustee Plouche volunteered to help as well.

Transportation – Supervisor Barnes reported that she is thinking of having the van drivers cover for Paula Peddle when she is out on maternity leave starting in April.
Trustee Plouche reported that the first meeting of the year for the Human Relations Commission is later this evening.

Latino Advisory Committee – Two members, Adela Lozano and Miguel O’Brien, have been confirmed. A Saturday meeting will be scheduled in the near future.

Old Business

New Business
The calendar for 2009 meetings had been distributed to the Board. A request to change the December 17th meeting to the 10th at 7:30 PM was approved. Supervisor Barnes asked if the Board would be agreeable to changing the evening meetings to 7 PM; the Board was split and Supervisor Barnes will bring up with the new board in May.

With no further business to conduct, Trustee Gamson moved, seconded by Trustee Plouché, the meeting be adjourned at 6:20 PM. Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen S. Gussin
Moraine Township Clerk


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