Kankakee County Community Services Committee discusses Bellwether Fee proposal
Kankakee County Community Services Committee met Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Here are the minutes as provided by the committee:
February 21, 2017
C O R R E C T E D
Mr. Snipes, Ms. Polk, Ms. Webber, Mr. Stauffenberg, Mr. Payton, Ms. Peters, Ms. Dunbar, Ms.
Parker, and Ms. Evans
Mr. Sirois, Mr. Vickery, Mr. Tholen, and Mr. Johnson
Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Liehr
Erich Blair, Lori Gadbois, Bruce Clark, Delbert Skimerhorn, Sandi Cianci, and Kevin Duval
1. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by the Vice-Chairperson, Ms. Webber, at 9:00 a.m. Quorum present.
2. Public Comment
3. Approval of Minutes: December 20, 2016
A motion to approve the minutes was made by Ms. Parker, and seconded by Mr. Payton.
4. Recorder: Lori Gadbois
Ms. Gadbois reviewed and discussed the reports with the committee.
Mr. Payton made a motion to accept the reports, and Ms. Polk seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Bellwether Fee Proposal - Chairman Wheeler
Mr. Wheeler stated that he wanted this brought back before the committee now because when it was discussed previously, the committee decided to wait on it while we were waiting for some potential legislation to work its’ way through the general assembly.
Ms. Gadbois stated that it went in this January. House Bill 3036 is carried by the land title industry, but not her association. She stated it would establish a flat fee for the recorder’s office by county, not by state. The county by county flat fee would make it easier on people in the title and banking industry and for lawyers who want to finalize transactions to know up front the cost of the documents. She stated it has been introduced in the House, and ours should be coming up for review. She stated that she and another recorder have made connections with those in the legislature about this bill. She stated that they hope to get it done quickly. Mr. Wheeler asked what the amount of money is that Kankakee County would be slotted for as far as the fee goes.
Ms. Gadbois stated that it is based on the results of the cost study. She stated the legislation does not set a specific amount for the counties. It requires a cost study that in turn will determine the fee.
Mr. Wheeler asked about implementing the fee increase of $55 now, recommended by Bellwether, rather than after the legislation is passed.
Ms. Gadbois stated that if they go to the $55 fee now, they still have to do page counts and do everything else, and there still would be different fees for different documents.
Mr. Wheeler stated that, when the law passes, then Ms. Gadbois’ office will need to stop doing those other things.
Ms. Gadbois stated yes, they have to publish the change it for four weeks to give fair notice and then the new fees would be instituted. She also stated that, in the event the governor doesn’t sign it into law, the committee and County Board can then authorize the increase of the fee. She warned on increasing or modifying fees twice, especially in the same year.
Mr. Wheeler stated he doesn’t see it as modifying it twice. He doesn’t want to leave potential revenue on the table, as they are in danger of not making payroll in the next couple of months. He recommends that the committee adopt the fees.
Ms. Gadbois stated she is not in support of the committee adopting the fees at this time. Everyone, including all of the recorders in the State of Illinois, has worked too hard on legislation, and she does not want to have them pay for something just because of a shortfall that the county is experiencing.
Mr. Wheeler stated that Bellwether recommended the fee increase months ago, so they missed out on revenue since November.
Ms. Gadbois stated that they have had cost studies in the past where they haven’t instituted a fee increase for years, as in the case of GIS. They waited two years before increasing the fee. She stated that the anticipation is that this is all going to happen as soon as the governor signs the legislation. After that, they will have the fee increase in four weeks.
Ms. Dunbar made a motion to accept the recommendation of Bellwether to increase the recorder’s fees to $55, pending the passing of the legislation, and Ms. Evans seconded it.
Mr. Wheeler asked how this disrupts the legislation that is currently pending.
Ms. Gadbois stated that it does not disrupt anything, but it is going to make things very confusing and difficult in the office and for the end users. The impression is going to be that they are raising fees, and then we’re going to turn around and manipulate how things are done a few months after that. It would be a very unprofessional business practice.
Ms. Evans asked if legislation doesn’t pass, will Ms. Gadbois come back to the committee to increase the fees. She asked if there is a way to amend the motion to approve the Bellwether proposal until the time the bill is passed.
Ms. Gadbois stated that she is for passing the Bellwether proposal, and should the legislation not pass, she will come back and say that that they now need to change the fees. If it does pass, they will still need 4-6 weeks to inform the public that the fees are changing. They can’t change fees overnight.
Mr. Snipes asked for clarification on what the motion was.
Ms. Webber stated that the motion is to accept the Bellwether fee study, raising the fees to $55, pending the passage of the legislation.
Mr. Snipes made a motion to amend the pending motion to accept the Bellwether fee at $55, and it was seconded by Mr. Payton. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Ms. Peters asked for clarification. Does this implement the fees or not? It approves the study, but doesn’t improve the fees?
Mr. Wheeler asked that the State’s Attorney’s office rule on that because it is his understanding that this would actually put the fees into effect.
Graeme Quinn from the State’s Attorney’s office stated that his understanding of what has been done here so far is that the motion will increase the fees to $55 for every document that the recorder’s office records. They can always amend it if they want to just approve the Bellwether study without raising the fees.
Mr. Wheeler stated that it would make sense to withdraw the motions and move on with no action, as they cannot vote on something down the road.
Mr. Snipes asked if accepting the study would mean increasing the fees.
Mr. Quinn stated that they can accept the study as an accurate depiction of what is going on in the recorder’s office. He stated his understanding of the amendment to Ms. Dunbar’s original motion was to raise the fees.
Mr. Snipes stated that his amendment was just accepting the report, not raising the fees.
Mr. Quinn stated that his recommendation would be, to clear all of this up for the record, is to withdraw all motions and have someone else recommend the motion to approve the Bellwether study without increasing the fees.
Ms. Dunbar withdrew her motion, and Ms. Evans withdrew her second. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Ms. Dunbar made a motion to accept the Bellwether report without instituting any new fees at this time, and Mr. Snipes seconded it. Motion failed with a roll call vote of 5 ayes and 5 nays. Voting aye were Ms. Polk, Mr. Snipes, Mr. Payton, Ms. Peters, and Ms. Dunbar.
Voting nay were Ms. Webber, Mr. Stauffenberg, Ms. Evans, Ms. Parker, and Mr. Wheeler.
Approval of Ordinance Authorizing the Recorder’s Fraud Referral and Review Process and Establishing Fines for the Unlawful Clouding of Title
Ms. Gadbois stated that she has a free property fraud alert system in her office that the public signs up for and are then notified of any documents recorded in their name. She stated that there is suspicious activity in the county from time to time, and the process of recovering stolen property is very difficult. This ordinance helps if something suspicious happens, it can be turned over to the courts immediately.
Mr. Quinn stated that this ordinance did go through the Criminal Justice Committee Meeting last week, and the State’s Attorney’s office reviewed it and made some cosmetic changes, but the underlying content did not change.
Mr. Snipes made a motion to accept the ordinance as presented, and Ms. Peters seconded it.
Mr. Wheeler stated that the ordinance states the recorder may enter into an intergovernmental agreement, but statutorily, only the county can enter into an intergovernmental agreement. He stated the recorder’s office can recommend to the County Board Chairman to enter into an intergovernmental agreement, so the ordinance needs to be changed.
Mr. Quinn stated that he would amend the ordinance.
Mr. Wheeler stated that they would call it a scrivener’s error for now, so there is no need to have a motion to amend.
Original motion carried with a voice vote.
5. Assessor – Erich Blair
Ms. Parker made a motion to approve the report, and Ms. Polk seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Mr. Blair reviewed and discussed the report with the committee. He has completed all board of review hearings and has had the annual meeting with the township assessors.
Mr. Blair stated that they had an individual retire, and he wants to replace her with a technical type of position. He stated it will take a while to find someone, as he would want to replace with someone who could learn the mapping system from the current mapping coordinator in addition to the regular responsibilities of the position.
Mr. Wheeler stated that a portion of financing for this position will come from GIS. He stated it is a good idea to create the position that takes care of the person that just left and learn the other duties he is describing now.
Mr. Blair stated that he posted the position in many different places, including the Illinois GIS Association, Kankakee Community College, Olivet, Sidwell website, Central Illinois GIS Professionals Group, and with all of the supervisors of assessments throughout the state, to develop as deep of a pool as possible.
Mr. Snipes asked if the employee will be in between both departments since the salary is coming from two departments.
Mr. Blair stated that the employee will be primarily in his department, and would be under his direct supervision, but if there is a specific project that this person can help the current GIS technician with, then they could overlap.
6. Animal Control – Julie Boudreau
Ms. Evans made a motion to approve the reports, and Mr. Snipes seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Ms. Boudreau was not in attendance.
7. County Clerk – Bruce Clark
Ms. Dunbar made a motion to approve the reports, and Ms. Evans seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Mr. Clark reviewed and discussed the reports with the committee.
Polling Place Change for Otto 2
Mr. Clark stated that the current polling place is located at the Wolfe Burial Vault in Chebanse, but the business is expanding. He stated that Zion Lutheran Church will allow for use as a polling place.
Ms. Parker made a motion to approve the change of polling place for Otto 2, and Mr. Snipes seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Mr. Clark discussed the 2017 elections with the committee.
Dan Hendrickson stated that the server they use to create the ballots and upload results failed, and they didn’t have a backup for it, but Mr. Duval and Jason Shane were able to get it working again.
Passport and Tax Review
Mr. Clark discussed the passport and tax review with the committee. He stated that they received a perfect score from the annual review by the State Department.
Recordkeeping/Vital Records Updates
Mr. Clark updated the committee on Recordkeeping/Vital Records.
Disposal of Equipment
Mr. Clark stated that there is an HP printer in his office that needs to be disposed of, as it is beyond repair.
Mr. Stauffenberg made a motion to approve the disposal of the HP printer, and Ms. Evans seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
8. Old Business
9. New Business
Organizations in this Story
189 E Court St
Kankakee, IL - 60901