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Richmond and Spring Grove hold combined board meeting
by Greg Cryns
Richmond Report correspondent


August 15, 2002

 

The villages of Richmond and Spring Grove held a joint village board meeting at the Municipal Centre in Spring Grove on August 14, 2002. The Committee of the Whole meeting was initiated by Village Presidents, Bob Martens and Kevin Brusek, to discuss topics of common interest to both towns and share solutions to difficult problems. All board members from both towns were present. No one asked could remember another meeting of this type in village history.

 

The topics for discussion were 1) Building Inspector Interaction; 2) Parks and Recreation Program; 3) Police; 4) Public Works; 5) Grant Writing; 6) School Impact Fees; 7) Zoning Issues.

 

Building Inspector Interaction

 

The sharing of employees was discussed in general. Brusek explained that Richmond has its own part-time building inspector employed by the village.

 

Parks and Recreation

 

A soccer field is planned to be located behind Taco Bell for the joint Richmond/Spring Grove soccer program.

 

Regarding the addition of parks and schools in new developments, Brusek said, “Schools should be looking for land for the plant, not for a municipal park.” He pointed out that in Bloomingdale the schools own only the school itself.

 

Trustee Mark Eisenberg of Spring Grove said that park districts can be a big drain on community financial resources and that the towns can use the schools for some activities. “The schools are owned by the taxpayers,” he said, “and they should not charge local groups to use the gyms except to pay for maintenance.”

 

Police Interaction

 

Spring Grove participates in the DARE program and an officer from the program could be offered to Richmond High School. Officers working with the schools are paid partially by grant money and the rest by the villages. The possibility of submitting a joint grant request from both towns was discussed and it was pointed out that this type of request is favorably viewed. “Our police chiefs work well together,” said Martens.

 

Public Works

 

Spring Grove’s new sewage plant is in the testing process. It will soon be online to service the businesses along Route 12.

 

Brusek was asked how Richmond monitors water usage. He said that new software makes the billing process easier and more accurate. Asked about how Richmond bills multi-unit buildings, Brusek said that if a water bill is not paid, a first notice is sent to the tenant, a second notice to the landlord and then, if still not paid, a shutoff notice is sent to the landlord. However, he pointed out that if even a small payment is then made, the service is maintained.

 

As an example of sharing work, Brusek said that Richmond cooperates with Genoa City “Genoa City sweeps our streets and we rod out their sewers,” said Brusek.

 

Regarding Richmond’s new water tower, Brusek said that the most frustrating part was actually finding a water source sufficient to handle the large volume required. Fourteen holes were drilled before an appropriate spot was found. Asked about the proposed effluent water reclamation system which will be generated by Richmond’s new sewer system, Brusek said that the waste water is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before it would be reused for sprinkling systems and other uses.

 

SCHOOL IMPACT FEES

 

A letter of invitation will be mailed to Superintendent George Zimmer who requested a hearing with a joint meeting of the village boards to discuss the possibility of increasing impact fees. A choice of two dates will be offered to Zimmer: August 29 or September 5.

 

Brusek pointed out that the Richmond annexation agreement stipulates that donations are to be used for the purchase of land or for capital improvements and nothing else. One-third of all impact fees go to Richmond H.S. Currently Richmond’s impact fees are set at $675 per unit plus $1.80 per square foot. Spring Grove’s impact fees are currently $600 per lot and $1.50 per square foot. Richmond also has a fire district impact fee of $250 per dwelling unit. Brusek stressed that the Cunat development will have 405 units.

 

Brusek said that over time the Cunat condo project will pay $800,000 to the schools and the Tamarack project will pay $7 million. He said, “People deserve to know how schools use the impact fees paid to them.” In Richmond, the housing developer writes a check directly to the school district and not to the village directly. It was generally agreed that the schools need to accurately account for the way the impact fees are spent.

 

A recent class action lawsuit filed by in McHenry County by a developer in Crystal Lake and nine homeowners is a serious concern for the village boards. The suit alleges that county law was unconstitutionally based on the cost of new school buildings instead of just land. The county is the defendant, not the schools. If won by the plaintiffs, it is unclear who would have to pay 10 years worth of impact fees. Brusek said, “My fear is that we’ll lose the county lawsuit and will wind up picking up the tab.” He added that the town must be very specific about the definition of “capital improvements” for the schools.

 

ZONING ISSUES

 

Concern was raised about a property on the Richmond side of North Solon Road which has industrial usage. Spring Grove is planning residential housing across the street.

 

 

 

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Towns in McHenry County, Illinois
(click for more info about each town)

Algonquin Cary Crystal Lake Harvard Hebron Huntley Johnsburg
Mchenry Marengo Richmond Spring Grove
Woodstock Wonder Lake


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