Moraine Township

Moraine Township Board of Trustees
Thursday, January 28, 2010 7:30 PM
Moraine Township Office

January 28, 2010

The meeting was called to order at 7:32 PM by Trustee Schechter in Supervisor Barnes’s absence. Upon roll call the following members were present: Trustees Bryna Gamson, Margoth Moreno, and Jackie Schechter. Also Present: Clerk Ellen Gussin, Assessor Patty Powers, and members of the community Charles Berman, Pioneer Press; Bonnie Ferrara, Deborah Moroney-Clark, Bob Wolf, and Janet Freed. Trustee Dwayne Douglas and Supervisor Barnes were absent.

Approval of Minutes
The Regular Meeting Minutes of January 14, 2010 stand approved as written. The Executive Minutes of January 14, 2010 stand approved as written.

Approval of Bills
Trustee Gamson moved, seconded by Trustee Moreno, approval of the bills. Upon roll call, motion carried.

Public Comment
Bonnie Ferrara spoke about seeing a great deal of standing water last week at Mooney Cemetery, and continues to be very concerned about it.  Trustees Schechter and Gamson pointed out that the Township is aware and concerned about the flooding, although the mid-January thaw with rain and snow melt on frozen ground increased the problem.  Supervisor Barnes has met an engineer with regard to the flooding problem.  Deborah Moroney-Clark stated that her family is buried at Mooney Cemetery as well and she recalls that a drainage ditch on the east side of Ridge Road near Mooney Park may have been filled in or changed sometime within the last five years which could have increased the flooding problem. The Board agreed to bring the issue up to Supervisor Barnes, requesting a report at the next meeting as to the plan and timetable.

Agency Presentation
Family Service, Bob Wolf
This is the agency’s 80th year, founded in response to the Great Depression. This year, the most visible and challenging program is Nuestro Center, to which $5,000 of the Township’s grant is devoted. He relayed the history of Nuestro which goes back to the late 1990s providing services for immigrant families living in the North Shore Estates residences. The program has gone a long way in improving student performance at school because of the Homework Club, and has now added a variety of programs such as tennis and chess.
   He addressed the challenges in creating a unified community in which Latino families feel integrated and the many programs that are sponsored to accomplish this goal including Fiesta, Pesada, Three Kings, and a Candle Mass, each done in collaboration with different area churches. Other events, such as those with community teachers, police and firemen, provide socialization as well as educational opportunities, and new programs such as Health and Wellness meet unmet needs.
   The gentrification of North Shore Estates has caused Family Service to seek a new home for Nuestro; the new owners drastically increased their rent and want them to leave by June 2010. Family Service is investigating a new space in Highwood that will require rehab but would provide enough space for Nuestro’s programs – foreseen to include individual work stations around the perimeter of a large open space and working kitchen for cooking classes, as well as new space for a new youth center and senior center. Family Service is currently working to raise money for this new facility.
   In response to Trustee Gamson’s question about where families are moving from North Shore Estates, Bob Wolf responded that some are moving in to the rehabbed apartments and some have left for Waukegan and North Chicago. The new center would open its services to the entire community, not limited to residents of North Shore Estates. They are trying to target a one-on-one ESL training opportunity for illiterate seniors that are taking care of their grandchildren.
   Trustee Moreno asked how many bilingual counselors are at Family Service; there are two, one full-time, one part-time. There is no waiting list for counseling services. Family Services has many volunteers providing programming and tutoring, especially for parents.
   The Counseling Program, which has existed since the early 1950s, is the longest continuous service but will be difficult to sustain due to the dearth of funding organizations that are willing to support counseling. Priorities go to crisis intervention, literacy and health and wellness including behavioral health. Bob Wolf reported that this year the Counseling Program served 494 township residents, down by 50 to 60 people.

Ethics Ordinance Approval
Trustee Schechter asked for a motion to approve the Ethics Ordinance, but it was tabled until the next meeting because Trustee Moreno had not reviewed due to her continuing email receipt problem.

Assessor’s Report
Patty Powers reported that in 2009 they had over 1800 appeals and the office has written over 200 Board of Review requests to lower the assessments. They are currently working on 2010 assessments and running neighborhood reports, and hope to close the books again in August, as the earlier they close the books the more time they can devote to appeals.

Supervisor’s Report

Latino Advisory Committee
An email from the District 113 Superintendent asking for a meeting of the Latino Advisory Committee has been received but Chair Paul Martinez has not responded. The Committee’s brochure has been translated into Spanish by Township staff member Grizell Toledo, and will be ready for review soon.

Grant Advisory Committee
Matt Ferrari has agreed to serve on the committee; he is the husband of the Co-Principal of Northwood, also an educator, parent of two young children, and resident of Highwood. Trustee Gamson noted he will add a demographic previously unrepresented. First meeting to be held on February 16, at 7 PM.

Trustee Gamson reported that Talk of the Township is now in the mail, and the website has been updated.

Unfinished Business
Clerk Gussin suggested Wednesday, February 17, at 4 PM for the Budget Planning Meeting. The Township Open House will take place after the Board Meeting on February 11.

New Business
Trustee Moreno announced a meeting on March 19 on the Census at Oak Terrace School, at 6:30 PM which will be bilingual. Trustee Gamson advised that we are putting bilingual notices in the Food Pantry bags regarding the Census and that this meeting should be included.

With no further business to conduct, Trustee Moreno moved, seconded by Trustee Gamson, the meeting be adjourned at 8:47 PM. Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen S. Gussin, Moraine Township Clerk


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