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Village Blog September 2010
Mariano’s Fresh Market - Construction Update #1
September 24, 2010
As you may have noticed, mass grading and excavation have begun on the Mariano’s site. The construction schedule calls for underground utility installation to begin on September 29 and be completed during the week of October 18. Curbs for the landscape islands throughout the parking lots along with light pole bases will be installed starting October 20 and be completed by October 27. The initial course of asphalt for the parking lot is scheduled to be installed starting October 28 and be completed in two days. To meet their timelines, this schedule is dependant on dry weather during the construction period.
Regarding the building, the Village has issued a footing and foundation permit. This work will be ongoing to the site work. We anticipate issuing a full building permit for the building itself within the next 30 days.
Questions? Please contact Building Commissioner Mike Atkinson at 847-918-3548 or Mikeat@vhills.org
For Immediate Release
PENSION REFORM REFERENDUM
On Tuesday, August 3, the President and Village Board passed a resolution asking residents to consider the following:
Shall the Illinois General Assembly and Governor take immediate steps to implement meaningful public safety pension reform which will relieve the extensive burden on local taxpayers?
The purpose for this reform is to reduce the future cost to municipalities of providing Police and Fire pensions. The Village of Vernon Hills has a municipal Police Department with Countryside Fire Protection District and Lincolnshire Riverwoods Fire Protection District serving our community.
In these economic times, the Village has worked on various cost reductions, including reduction in the number of employees from 109 to 99. As recently as 2002, the Village had 128 employees. The main means to achieve the latest reduction was offering an Accelerated Retirement Incentive. Out of the nine employees who retired, only one has been replaced. This equals an annual saving of $879,000 for the Village. Also as part of the 2010-2011 budget, there was a $760,000 reduction in improvement programs; a $350,000 reduction by ending the recycling subsidy from the Village; and finally a $250,000 reduction by extending the useful life of various vehicles and equipment in the Village fleet. There were further reductions in various travel and other overhead costs.
During the most recent legislative session, you probably read or heard information on public pension reforms. These reforms extended the age for full retirement benefits for employees working for the State, as well as those employees covered by the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, which are mostly non-Police, non-Fire employees. The effort now underway is to extend these pension modifications, again only for new employees, to Police and Fire. In Vernon Hills from 2007 to 2009, the Police Pension fund costs increased by $232,451 or 25% of the total cost. The 2009 required contribution equaled approximately $1,172,743 for the Police pension or 26% of the salary per plan member. Although some of this increase is a result of losses in investments, a significant part is represented by the aging work force and the enhancement of benefits earlier this decade, and retirees collecting benefits for a longer period of time.
We greatly value the service of our Police Officers and embrace our responsibility to provide them with a fair and reasonable pension at the conclusion of their service to our community. Unfortunately at the current rate, the cost of Police pensions is not sustainable into the future. With increasing life expectancy and an uncertain investment environment in the future, there is too much of a risk for taxpayers to continue the current benefit levels.
Currently, Police Officers and Firefighters are eligible to retire at age 50 and collect a pension benefit that is 75% of the final pay for 30 years of service. The pension benefit is subject to guaranteed annual increases of 3%. For these pension benefits, Police Officers and Firefighters contribute less than 10% of their pay (they do not contribute to Social Security, only to their pensions). The remainder is financed by taxpayers and investment returns. As witnessed in the past several years because of investment returns, more funding was paid through your tax dollars than through earnings from investments. These costs are no longer sustainable going forward.
The Governor and General Assembly are responsible for determining Police and Fire pension benefits. They are also able to approve many pension sweeteners like those that reduce the years of service Police Officers and Firefighters need to work to collect their maximum pension.
However, the State of Illinois has no responsibility for funding the pensions and sweeteners. That burden falls exclusively upon local taxpayers. In an effort to address these escalating pension costs, Vernon Hills joined the Pension Fairness for Illinois Communities Coalition, which has sought a legislative solution to the pension crisis. While the General Assembly acted in a single day to adjust pension benefits for most future government employees, they omitted Police Officers, Firefighters, and County Sheriffs from that legislation.
Most of the legislative session was spent in negotiations with the Police and Fire Unions and selected legislators. The result of that process was proposed legislation that would have provided relief over the long term, but little immediate relief for taxpayers. At the Union’s insistence, a penalty provision was included in the bill that threatened to raise the burden on taxpayers and municipalities throughout the State. Because of this penalty provision, Vernon Hills and the Coalition could not support the amended legislation.
Working through the Pension Fairness for Illinois Communities Coalition, we are again seeking legislation that provides meaningful and long term pension relief for our taxpayers. We are hopeful this can be achieved during the post election veto session in November or when a new General Assembly takes office in January. Without legislative relief, the growing pension costs will continue to consume an ever increasing portion of our municipal revenues and result in increased taxes and/or dramatically reduce services, including ironically public safety.
We urge you as a citizen, taxpayer, and voter to contact your current State Representative and State Senator, as well as all candidates running in the November 2, election for these offices and inform them of your position on Police and Fire Pension reform.
Westfield Hawthorn Center:
- Native Culture
- Calendar Club
- Spirit Halloween
Westfield Hawthorn Center Carts/Kiosks:
- Winter Wonders
- Ardor Candles
- Gifts In Stone
- Halloween City
Non-Retail Sales Tax Use Moratorium – Proposed Ordinance Amendment
September 13, 2002
Over the past several months, the Village has been working with its consultant to develop zoning regulations that address the concerns of trying to balance the needs of the Village to preserve its retail base thru the review of building conversions versus the property owner’s ability to bring tenants to their property with reasonable assurance that the tenant will be able to ultimately located there.
The proposed is a draft ordinance does the following:
Ø Amends Article 4 of the Zoning Ordinance to create a new Section 4.14 called Commercial Building and Use Review within the Core Retail Area.
Ø Creates a Core Retail Area Overlay District (CRA) which will be placed on the Zoning Map.
Ø The basis for the amendment is recognizing that, pursuant to the RCCA report, buildings within 300 feet of the road rights-of-way (Route 60 & Milwaukee Avenue) are the primary locations for non-sales tax generating uses.
Ø The buildings within the 300 foot area are typically less than 20,000 sq ft in size and contain single or multiple uses within each building and account for approximately 215,586 sq ft or 6% of the total GLA within the Village.
Ø The proposed ordinance provides for the following:
- Definition of Retail Sales Establishments (RSE) i.e. sales tax generating uses
- Buildings which are less than 20,000 sq ft are exempt from the provisions of the Ordinance. Most of the Outlots along the Route 60 and Milwaukee Avenue would be exempted from the provisions of this proposed amendment.
- The ordinance exempts properties and space when one non-RSE is replaced by another non-RSE n (when it’s the same size and location). This is currently in the moratorium ordinance.
- For buildings greater than 20,000 sq ft, it requires that for any change of use from a Retail Sales Establishment (RSE) to a non-RSE, a Certificate of Building and Use Conversion must be approved by the Board’s Committee of the Whole, except as noted below.
- Provides specific provisions for Westfield Hawthorn Mall due to the concentration of retail space on one property.
- Requires that effected buildings must maintain a minimum of 80% of the floor area for RSE’s.
- Any proposed conversion of an RSE which exceeds 80% to a non-RSE and, when said conversion is completed, and the effected building will still exceed 80%, does not need a Certificate of Building and Use Conversion.
- Provides that, when an RSE is converted to a non-RSE, that the Board may require an annual fee equivalent to the sales tax revenue previously generated from the site.
- Reduces the number of effected properties to those directly adjacent to the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Route 60 and the Gregg’s Landing Commercial properties. The overlay district excludes the following properties:
o TIF District properties – Vernon Hills Town Center
o Evergreen, Vernon and Butterfield Plazas
o Aspen Pointe
o Woodbine Commercial properties – Walter Smithe
o Oaks of VH commercial area
o American Hotel Register commercial area and vacant property east of Milwaukee Avenue
o CDW retail space
o Apple Orchard Square
o Ernie’s Shell and Peacock Oil
o Restaurants at Lakeview/Hawthorn Parkways – OPA and Salernos
Ø Section 4.14 will be applicable to properties in the B-1, and BP zoning districts which are covered by the CRA overlay district including:
o Hawthorn Hills Square
o Westfield Hawthorn Mall
o Hawthorn Village Commons
o Gregg’s Landing commercial properties.
- Townline Commons
- Sports Authority.
The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing in the near future to consider these amendments. As with all public meetings, residents and property owners are welcome to attend. Questions? Please contact Assistant Village Manager John Kalmar at 847-918-3550 or email@example.com
New Connections Academy (NCA) II – Private, therapeutic day school located at 150 Fairway Drive, Suite 140-146 in Continental Executive Park
September 13, 2010
NCA is a private therapeutic day school which serves children and adolescents with Autistic Spectrum Disorders ranging from Asperger’s Disorder to High Functioning Autism. They have two other locations (Grayslake and Palatine) and serve students from Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry Counties. All students are referred by their public school. Tuition for all students is funded through their public school.
Representatives from NCA appeared before the Planning and Zoning Commission at its September 1, 2010 to request approval to amend the Zoning Ordinance to allow the use within the BP, Business Park District and approval of a Special Use Permit to allow for a private, therapeutic day school at the proposed location which is just west of the intersection of Fairway Drive and Lakeview Parkway in the Rogers Office Park. The property is immediately adjacent to the Arbortheater.
NCA has indicated that at full capacity, they will have 37 full time staff and 7 part time staff member who are educators and psychologists and 60 students at this location. On a typical day, which runs from 8:45AM to 2:45PM on M-W & F and 8:45AM to 1:45PM on TH, students arrive in vans, mini-busses, taxi cabs and occasionally full size school bus. School starts at the end of August and runs thru May. They also have summer school programs which will be run at this location.
The Commission and Village Board were generally supportive of the location and concept for the proposed school. Both voted unanimously to recommend approval of the school as proposed.
No opening date has been set although it is anticipated that it will be during the current school year. For more information on the school, please go to www.newconnectionsacademy.net .
Questions? Please contact Assistant Village Manager John Kalmar at 847-918-3550 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Village Approves Economic Incentive Agreement for Mariano’s Fresh Market
September 2, 2010
Bradford Landing South 3 & 4 LLC (Bradford) will purchase 6 acres of vacant property at the SE corner of Gregg’s Parkway and Milwaukee Avenue and locate a Mariano’s Fresh Market grocery store on the property which is directly adjacent to the Lowe’s Home Center. To aid in bring Mariano’s to the site, Bradford requested financial assistance in the amount of $955,000 from the Village in the form of sharing sales tax revenue that will be generated by the new grocery store. Mariano’s is owned by Roundy’s Inc.
The Sales Tax Revenue Distribution Formula requires that the Village provide 37% of the sale tax revenue to Bradford per year over the period of the Agreement. The Developer would receive this sales tax revenue for the 15 year term of the agreement until the $955,000 NPV has been repaid.
The Board unanimously approved the Economic Incentive Agreement as setforth in Ordinance 2010-051 at its August 31, 2010 meeting. We anticipate that site work and construction on building will begin in mid-September with a projected completion date of July 1, 2010.
Roundy’s opened its first Mariano’s in Arlington Heights in late-July at the corner of Kensington Road and Northwest Highway.
Questions? Contact Assistant Village Manager John Kalmar at email@example.com or 847-918-3550.
VETERAN'S COAT DRIVE
September 1, 2010
The Veteran's Assistance Commission has asked if the Vernon Hills Police Department can assist in providing 125 to 150 winter coats and new gloves. And, in typical VHPD fashion, we accepted the challenge.
The Veteran's Assistance Commission (VAC) is based in Waukegan at 20 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. and serves indigent veterans. On October 19, 2010, the VAC is going to conduct a stand down. A stand down is an opportunity for veterans in need to receive dental exams, hair cuts, counseling service, etc. We've been advised that approximately 385 veterans in Lake County receive food stamps.
In the spirit of taking care of our own, employees of the Vernon Hills Police Department are purchasing VA Canteen books so that lunch can be provided to veterans while they wait for their medical care.
We are also looking for community support in the form of a donation of a new pair of winter gloves or a new/gently used coat. These items will be presented to veterans seeking the above services at the VAC on October 19.
Items can be dropped off at the Vernon Hills Police Department, 740 Lakeview Parkway, Vernon Hills, Illinois. The last day for item drop-off is Sunday, October 17, 2010.
Please, let's help keep our veterans warm this winter!
For more information please contact Officer Sharon Joseph @ 847-247-4889
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