Moraine Township

Moraine Township Board of Trustees
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 6:30 PM
Moraine Township Office

February 23, 2011
(Meeting changed from Thursday to Wednesday & early start for this meeting only.)

Supervisor Barnes called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM, and upon roll call the following members were present: Trustees Dwayne Douglas and Jackie Schechter. Also Present: Clerk Ellen Gussin, Assessor Patty Powers, Jesse Peterson Hall, and Hania Fuschetto. Trustee Gamson arrived at 6:36. Trustee Margoth Moreno was absent.

Special Guest Presentation
Supervisor Barnes called upon Jesse Peterson Hall, President of Highland Park Hospital, and Hania Fuschetto, Manager of Community Relations, for a special presentation. Jesse Hall thanked the Township for the collaborative work in the community and presented Supervisor Barnes with a $4,500 check to help with the cost of medication and related hospital services for those who may qualify under the General Assistance program. The Board thanked them for this very generous grant.

Approval of Minutes
The Regular Meeting Minutes of January 27, 2011 stand approved as written and distributed.

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

Budget Discussion
Supervisor Barnes passed out a recap of the 'profit and loss' from the year. The deficit budget projected from last year has actually resulted in a surplus. Supervisor Barnes also distributed the proposed budget for 2011-2012 and Assessor Powers passed out the Office of the Assessor Budget. As of today the Township has $1.9 million invested in various accounts.

Assessor Powers told the Board that she was concerned that the Township had prepared the Office of the Assessor Budget instead of waiting for her budget; Supervisor Barnes explained that it was done when past due to insure she had figures to present to the Board. Assessor Powers pointed out a $73,000 reduction in the annual Assessor's Office budget, and in response to Trustee Gamson's question about staff increase, there is a 3% increase over current salaries but no new staff. All other decreases in the budget are shown in red on what Assessor Powers presented to the Board. Because of the Contingency line item of $20,000, which the Accountant advised to retain, Assessor Powers agreed to significantly reduce the line of "Other Services/Temp Hourly" to $500. Insurance is to be reduced to $6,500 instead of the $8,500. Event line will be reduced to $500. Auto Expense will be reduced to $5,000. The bottom line savings on the budget reduction will be recalculated as additional cuts have been agreed upon.

Supervisor Barnes reported that she tried to be as tight as possible with the Town Fund. She does see the need to put in an increase for staff salaries, and the Board entertained a discussion regarding merit raises vs. cost of living as well as the need to review job descriptions to add increased responsibilities which would then justify additional increases. Board suggested increasing the Health Insurance line to cover increases. Legal services were less than budgeted for the past year. Accounting services is to be raised to $5,000. Line item 4402 will be increased to $20,000 to allow for extra plantings and any unusual maintenance.

The General Assistance Budget has several changes – Office Staff to $51,000 and Accounting Services to $5,000. Increasing line 7502 to $18,000; changing 7503 to be identified as Van Operation and Maintenance.

The Board discussed the amount that should be allocated to Grants, line item 4801. Trustee Schechter suggested $170,000 and the Board concurred.

All amount changes above will be plugged in and then the resulting budget will be posted in the Township office for one month before approval at the March 24, 2011 Regular Meeting.

Public Comment

Action Items
Supervisor Barnes asked for a motion to retain our current Auditor, Evans, Marshall, & Pease, P.C., for three more years through 2013. Trustee Schechter moved, seconded by Trustee Douglas, that this be done. Motion carried.

Assessor's Report
There were 1400 appeals this year; Assessor Powers and Chief Deputy Assessor Lenzini alternated weeks in attending the hearings. There were a total of 143 unqualified sales, which include foreclosures, etc. Assessor Powers pointed out that this is a quadrennial assessment year and that the resulting assessments for next year will consider the three prior three years of 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Supervisor's Report
None other than budget preparation

Latino Advisory Committee
Nuestro Center seems to be currently considering the Highwood Library location. Trustee Gamson asked what has transpired with people assisting Latinos with tax preparation. Supervisor Barnes referred Trustee Douglas to the IRS website that offers these services.

Food Pantry/Pantry Plants Garden Project
Work should begin in March. Trustee Schechter is still trying to reach the Highwood Mayor regarding a garden site in Highwood.

Citizen Grant Advisory Committee
First meeting on February 21 went well, and the next meeting is on March 14.

Talk of the Township will be in the mail next week.

Unfinished Business
Healthcare Foundation of Highland Park once again awarded the Township a $35,000 grant to assist with the Door-to-Door Van program for all users of the program who cannot afford to pay.

New Business
A pitch for new members to the Latino Advisory Committee was made by Supervisor Barnes, hoping that viewers watching the telecast of the meeting might have an interest in calling the Township Office to pursue.

Executive Session

With no further business to conduct, Trustee Schechter moved, seconded by Trustee Gamson, the meeting be adjourned at 8:22 PM. Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen S. Gussin, Moraine Township Clerk


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