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An Attentive Municipal Organization that Connects with Community, Commerce, and Nature.

Committee of the Whole Minutes

Monday, December 18, 2023

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Village Board meeting was conducted live remotely
via telecommunications.

Mayor Gaffino called the meeting to order.

In attendance: Mayor Mark Gaffino, Trustee Jason Christiansen, Trustee Laura Curtis, Trustee Mark Guethle, Trustee Mike Lowery, Trustee Todd Niedzwiedz, Trustee Carolyn Salazar

Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Finance Director Jason Paprocki, Community & Economic Development Director Nathan Darga, Village Attorney Kevin Drendel, Public Works Director Brian Richter, Police Chief Joe DeLeo.



1. Liquor Code Updates
Administrator Bosco explained that the Village created a “Class Q” liquor license in November for banquet halls. At that time, there had been no consideration of whether or not a facility would need a supplemental entertainment license. Bosco requested the Village Board’s feedback on amending the supplemental entertainment license section of the Village’s code to allow live entertainment at banquet halls. The supplemental liquor license currently had two subcategories, one for performers using minimal amplification and a second for live, and/or amplified entertainment. The supplemental license was currently available to restaurants, the suggested amendment would allow it to be available to banquet halls.
The Village Board was in favor of adopting the amendment to the liquor code.
2. Q-Class and SE-Class Liquor Licenses (Sage Banquets)

Administrator Bosco stated that Sage Event Space, located at 1167 Oak Street was seeking a “Class Q” liquor license. Per the Village’s code, the request was brought before the Committee of the Whole first. Sage Event Space was also requesting the just previously discussed, supplemental license to have live bands at their banquet hall event space.
Bosco explained the process, that if the Village Board did take issue with the “Class Q” license request, it would go before the Board for approval. Then there would be a second consideration for the supplemental entertainment. In the first year that a business wants a supplemental entertainment “B” license, it goes before the Village Board for approval. After the first year it is approved, the Liquor Commissioner has the ability to reissue the license without Board approval.
Bosco told the Village Board that Sage Event Space’s anticipated hours of operation were 7:00 am to 11:00 pm, Sunday through Thursday with the event ending at 10:00 pm and the premises vacated by 11:00 pm. Also, 7:00 am to 12:00 am, Friday and Saturday with the event ending at 11:30 pm and the premises vacated by 12:30 am. The business is located approximately 520 feet from the nearest residence.
Mayor Gaffino asked what approach would be taken to maintain a reasonable noise level while surrounding businesses were open for business. Business owners Tiffany and Kendall Nesbitt were on hand to address the concern. Mrs. Nesbitt stated that while there may be baby showers during the day. She did not believe the volume of music would be bothersome. There was further discussion regarding this and what, if any, stipulations could be added to the supplemental license.
Administrator Bosco explained that the noise ordinance was 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights and 9pm on the weekdays, however if the Board wanted to add specific stipulations, it was an option.
Trustee Salazar asked if it would be an option to approve the supplemental license and then go back and make changes should a problem arise. Administrator Bosco explained that having gone through recent liquor hearings, it would be a long process to go back after the fact and then go through the process of determining whether or not someone violated liquor license and whether or not you can add a fine as well as determining what would be an acceptable fine.
Trustee Christiansen asked whether or not the renewal length could be shortened, Attorney Drendel suggested a periodic review, especially within the first year of a license. He also suggested adding the option of imposing addition restrictions upon review of a license.
The Board ultimately decided to keep the supplemental entertainment license (B) as it is.
3. Utility Tax
Administrator Bosco explained that earlier in the evening, the Board approved a question for a referendum request that would help to fund the new public works facility. Village staff had looked at multiple ways to fund the building. While the easiest way to fund the building would be the referendum, in the event that does not pass staff discovered that raising the utility tax along with the Village’s annual transfer of funds from the General Fund to the Capital Fund could cover the annual debt payment for the building.
Bosco asked the Village Board if the Village should bring back an ordinance to increase the utility taxes, have that in place which would allow the Village to get the bid process started in the spring and know that there would be a dedicated funding source. Bosco explained that the ordinance could say that should a referendum be approved, the utility tax would not go into effect.
Director Paprocki gave an overview of the utility tax. He stated that the utility taxes were electricity tax, natural gas and telecommunications tax. The Village has not increase the tax on theses since 2009. The electricity and natural gas taxes are used for capital funding. The telecommunication tax goes into the general fund. Paprocki went on to explain how the electricity rate is determined and stated that should there be an increase in electricity rate, residents would see a $15 to $30 annual increase.
Paprocki then spoke about the natural gas tax. He stated that the rate is charged on gas cost and delivery charges. The Village’s current rate was 3% with a maximum of 5%. If the Village were to adopt an increase, residents would see $15-$30 annual increase in their bills.
The telecommunications tax is charged on landline telephones, text and talk mobile, paging services, and two-way radios. These taxes are not applicable to cell phone package plans. The Village’s current rate was 4% with the most that can be charged being 6%.
Director Paprocki stated that if the utility taxes were raised to the maximum allowed, the Village would receive approximately $512,500 annually, which would be an additional $30-$60 annual increase for residents.
Trustee Guethle stated that he believed that the referendum would pass and there was no need to implement any other tax increase.
Trustee Curtis was in agreement with Trustee Guethle. She stated that implementing this would be adding to an affordability crisis.
Administrator Bosco spoke about the timing of the request, approving an increase now rather than waiting to see whether the referendum passes. He said that with a guaranteed source of income, the project could start to be bid out, avoiding the increased costs of construction as time elapses with a guaranteed maximum price.
Trustee Salazar asked for clarification on whether or not the tax increase could be rescinded should the referendum passes. Administrator Bosco stated that the increase would not go into effect if the referendum passed.
There was discussion on the negatives and benefits of waiting to pass a utility tax increase if the referendum does not pass.
Some Village Board members expressed concerns that in passing a utility tax increase prior to the referendum vote, the Village would appear to be “strong arming’ residents into a “yes” vote. There was discussion regarding this concern.
4. Oak Hill Common Area
Due to his proximity to the subject addressed in agenda item number four, Trustee Niedzwiedz recused himself and left the Village Boardroom at 7:58 p.m.
Administrator Bosco stated that the agenda item was in regard to an earlier in the evening vote about the Oak Hill HOA possibly dissolving and what that means for the subdivision’s land and the common area that they currently own.
Administrator Bosco stated that there were three things to consider with the Oak Hill HOA dissolution, the first being who maintains the common area and how is it paid for. The area is maintained by an SSA that can collect money from the tax payers of that subdivision. The levy has been collecting $10,000 annually for the past few years for future pond improvements in the subdivision. Director Paprocki planned on being in contact with the HOA management company to advise them of the additional SSA funds that were approved earlier during the Village Board meeting, to prevent the residents of the subdivision from being double charged.
The second issue concerns the subdivision’s pond. Bosco said that there had been erosion concerns that would eventually need to be addressed. It was being arranged for the pond to have an engineering assessment for future repairs. The cost of those repairs would be factored into the assessment of next year’s tax levy for the subdivision.
The third issue was regarding the communal property in Oak Hill. These properties consist of the pond as well as other open spaces. Would the Village want to take title to these common areas? This would give the Village to ability to treat the land as any other Village owned property. In order for the HOA to deed the property to the Village, there would need to be an active HOA. The Oak Hill HOA would like to know if the Village would be willing to take the property, if so, they would need to remain an active HOA until the property was deeded, prior to dissolving. If the Village opts not to take the property, the Village would still maintain the land but it would be owned by the HOA, a defunct entity.
Attorney Drendel explained some of the risks and rewards of taking the Oak Hill common properties. He also suggested that this may become a more frequent issue, and questioned whether or not the decision here would set precedent.
There was discussion amongst the Village Board regarding these topics.
Administrator Bosco advised the Board to view this circumstance as a unique but should the Board choose to take the property, bear in mind precedent and stipulate why they came to the decision.
Trustee Curtis asked for clarification that if the Village chose to take the property, it could maintain a levy on it for maintenance purposes. Administrator Bosco confirmed that to be true.
The Village Board was in favor of taking the property with stipulations on why it had chosen to do so, and maintaining the SSA for the subdivision.
Trustee Niedzwiedz returned to the meeting at 8:26
EXECUTIVE SESSION –Property Acquisition


Motion to adjourn to Executive Session made by Trustee Guethle and seconded by Trustee Christiansen. All in favor. Motion approved.


Mayor Gaffino called the meeting to order.

In attendance: Mayor Mark Gaffino, Trustee Jason Christiansen, Trustee Laura Curtis, Trustee Mark Guethle, Trustee Mike Lowery, Trustee Todd Niedzwiedz, Trustee Carolyn Salazar

Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Finance Director Jason Paprocki, Public Works Director Brian Richter, Village Attorney Kevin Drendel


Motion to adjourn made by Trustee Lowery and seconded by Trustee Salazar. All in favor. Motion approved.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jessi Watkins
Village Clerk


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