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MINUTES
Moraine Township Board of Trustees
Thursday, October 28, 2010 7:00 PM
Moraine Township Office

MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING
October 28, 2010

The meeting was called to order at 6:55 PM by Supervisor Barnes and upon roll call the following members were present: Trustees Bryna Gamson, Margoth Moreno, and Dwayne Douglas. Trustee Jackie Schechter was absent. Also Present: Clerk Ellen Gussin, Chief Deputy Assessor Trish Lenzini, Janet Freed, Jean Wallace-Baker, Mark Gilhooley, and Myra Schneider.

Tax Levy Workshop
Chief Deputy Assessor Trish Lenzini passed out several worksheets detailing a variety of scenarios for the Board's consideration in deciding upon the coming year's tax levy request to the County. Supervisor Barnes suggested the Board have a philosophical discussion concerning the pros and cons of requesting the maximum, which might put an unwanted burden upon taxpayers vs. reducing the amount of the levy, which would result in using a significant portion of Township reserves to meet expenses. Current projections show that the Township will be approximately $200,000 under budget for the current fiscal year; the total budget is approximately $1.7 million. Consensus of the Board is to go with Trish's Scenario A, which takes the 2009 Extension amount, or tax dollars received of $1.3 million, and adds the CPI (Consumer Price Index, or cost of living raise) of 2.7% to arrive at $1,353,664.21. The Board feels comfortable using reserves if the need arises but does not want to be shortsighted in being able to provide the safety net to residents in need, the Township's main focus and mission. The Board will be obligated to vote on the tax levy no later than the December 16, 2010 meeting, as it needs to be submitted to the County by the last Tuesday of December.

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

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

Public Comment
None

Agency Presentations
Highland Park Community Nursery and Day Care, Jean Wallace-Baker, Executive Director

Jean thanked the Board for its support and interest in the Center, celebrating its 60th year of operation. It has been a challenging year for its families. In one class 100% of the students were considered "at risk" according to State standards. Efforts to bring these students up to par prior to starting Kindergarten are always the focus of the curriculum. Staff, in spite of the fact that there have been no salary increases for the past two years, has remained intact and very dedicated. The Center follows the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. In Highland Park's former Borders, the windows have been used to display the students' artwork; Shelton's windows in Ravinia have also been used for the same purpose. There is a weekly professional music program offered to all students in addition to other musical activities in the classrooms. Parents are engaged with specific at-home assignments to complete with their children, and activities at the Center often include parents and grandparents. One third of the students are funded by the State's TANF program (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.) The other two thirds are supposed to be full-pay and a mix of scholarship-level pay respectively, but the current financial crisis is putting much stress on the middle tier where more and more families cannot afford the $10,000 per child annual cost of child care. The Center highly values this "middle class" and hope it can preserve it through scholarships and other outside resources and funding. Trustee Gamson asked about what additional in-kind contributions Moraine Township might be able to grant, and Jean thanked her for the thought and promised to consider. Supervisor Barnes reminded Jean to submit her list of children for the Holiday Gift Drive. Citizen Mark Gilhooley asked if they have tried to work with public access stations for publicity, and Jean expressed enthusiasm for the concept.

Center for Enriched Living, Myra Schneider, Grants Manager

Myra thanked the Board for its support and explained that the Center has been in existence for 40 years, serving children and adults with various forms of mental retardation. They have been located in Riverwoods since 2000. Founded to deal with the issues of loneliness and isolation for those with developmental disabilities, the Center focuses on social skills as well as independent living skills. When a client reaches 22, the school programs are no longer available and his or her ability to retain social skills is at severe risk. This is where the Center is most active. Its program entitled, "Enriched Lifestyles for Adults," which began in 2006, serves 20 people per day, both at the Center and off site. Another program entitled, "Reach Day Program" was established in s 2009 and serves clients in their early 20's; its capacity is 15 individuals per day and has more of a vocational focus by getting them involved in existing community programs at places such as Lincoln Park Zoo, Botanic Garden, Food Pantry, libraries, etc. An important part is allowing the participants to decide how they want to structure the rest of their lives; this is a start contrast to their experience in school programs where they had always been told exactly what to do. They operate seven satellite locations for the After School Program for teenagers. They continue to look for additional vehicles for transportation; State is helping with this by supplying IDOT vans. CDW has been a wonderful sponsor of many activities including marketing and website services. The Center does not receive any State or Federal dollars. They provide about $25,000 in scholarships every year, and they have created a Wednesday night "Agency" program for those that are no longer being served by other agencies who are under severe financial stress. Registration in the Center's programs is down slightly this year, because some parents can no longer afford the multiple days they had registered their children for in the past. They are open seven days a week with programs from morning to night. The Summer Camp, "Super Kids Camp," serves autistic children under the age of 12, and they are seeing a significant rise in interest and need for this population.

Action Items
The 2011 Proposed Calendar for Regular Meetings of the Board was distributed for the Board's adoption. Trustee Douglas moved, seconded by Trustee Moreno, that the Calendar be approved as presented. Supervisor Barnes advised the Board of the County's request to publish all meeting dates at which budgetary items will be discussed. She commented that perhaps February 24 should include a Budget Workshop with a likely date of April 28 for passing the budget.

Reports
Assessor's Report
None

Supervisor's Report
• Supervisor Barnes would like the Board to come up with a way to appropriately thank Fern and Sam for their inspiring efforts this season with the Pantry Plants Garden Project.

• Highwood Pumpkin Festival went very well and the pictures of Moraine Township's participation with Nuestro Center were posted on the Trib Local as well as the Township website.

• Supervisor Barnes distributed a list of the number of residents in the County (of which 33 are in Highland Park and 9 in Highwood) whose gas has been shut off. This shows the extent of hardships in the community – a total of 1254 in the County. LIHEAP addresses the needs of residents requiring assistance with utility costs.

• Holiday Gift Drive efforts are under way and there is a collaborative effort to establish a central community list. Township is working with HPHS, and the event this year will be at the Highwood Recreation Center. The schools are working very hard to determine the neediest children to choose for the Drive. Last year we barely had enough sponsors and we are actively soliciting sponsors for this year.

Latino Advisory Committee
Next meeting is November 1. Chairperson Paul Martinez actively participated at the Pumpkin Festival.

Food Pantry/Pantry Plants Garden Project
District 112 families will be working with the Township on the Food Drive – families will be contributing food for the Pantry.

Other
• On November 15 there will be a Resource Fair, "Options and Opportunities," from 1 PM to 4 PM at the Highland Park Country Club; admission is free and refreshments will be provided. The program is sponsored by State Senator Susan Garrett and the Townships of Moraine, West Deerfield, and Shields.

• The October 14 Green Schoolyards program at the Highland Park Library was most successful with about 35 attendees from all over.

• The first-ever community Styrofoam Recycling event on October 23 was a big success thanks to Lake County Board Member Anne Bassi, who brought the idea to the Township, and Abt Electronics, who donated a truck for the day. The Park District cooperated at Supervisor Barnes' request to allow the Abt truck to park in the lot of Hidden Creek AquaPark for the day.

New Business
Supervisor Barnes asked the Board to vote for the Executive Trustee of the IMRF – Gwen Henry, running for a five-year term. The Board did not feel comfortable voting for an individual they did not know more about, and declined.

Mark Gilhooley asked if the Township could possibly invite some of the people from the Center for Enriched Living to volunteer for the Food Pantry. Supervisor Barnes reported that this is done all the time with local groups but depending upon the level of disability it can be challenging.

Adjournment
With no further business to conduct, Trustee Moreno moved, seconded by Trustee Gamson, the meeting be adjourned at 8:37 PM. Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

_______________________
Ellen S. Gussin
Moraine Township Clerk

 

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