ELBURN – Village leaders approved plans Monday night for a public hearing on a proposed property tax levy, setting the time and date for 6:45 p.m. Dec. 2 at Village Hall, 301 E. North St., Elburn.
Although that vote was unanimous, there was much discussion on several topics that ultimately brought up a question that board officials now are looking to explore – should the village go back to meeting four times a month, rather than twice a month.
The tax issue was a matter of the village’s request for a levy of $824,000, an amount officials said they ultimately did not expect to receive. Because it is more than 105 percent of the 2012 levy of $695,001.69, a hearing is required at the first December meeting. But board member Jeff Walter wanted to explore the amount requested.
“We’ve had no discussion at all,” Walter said. “It seems to me, it’s, ‘Here’s the number, guys. Let’s vote on it.’ ”
He said the process seemed different than last year, but Village President Dave Anderson said that was not so. But the issue came up at the committee of the whole meeting that followed the Village Board meeting, and Walter asked whether meeting less often was effective. The board had been scheduling Village Board meetings and committee of the whole meetings on alternating weeks, but a few months ago switched to a format in which the committee meetings are held after the board meetings.
“I’m not feeling we are in the loop,” Walter said.
It was a theme that ran through other discussions Monday night. Board members, for instance, balked at an update for the employee manual that addressed social media. Some trustees wondered whether they would be included in a rule that would prohibit village employees from identifying that they work for the village on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. But some said it is vital that they communicate and network in that way, especially during election season.
Village attorney Bob Britz pointed out that social media policies are becoming the norm, but board member Dave Gualdoni said such policies can be a “nightmare.” Walter said it would prevent people from posting positive things that happen in the community, but Britz said the policy is “to control the not-so-positive things.”
Another issue cropped up concerning whether to charge organizations for having the police help out at events. Anderson and Village Administrator Erin Willret encouraged trustees to communicate with staff members, and Anderson noted that he was at Village Hall every day, available to residents.
“That’s great … but we’re not,” Gualdoni said. “This has to be discussed by all of us, at this table.”
Walter and Gualdoni said they would want to meet more often during the fall months, acknowledging that meeting twice a month in the summer might make sense. Trustee Bill Grabarek said he could see both sides of the issue, but he said he could see the advantages to meeting four times in a month.
Board members acknowledged, however, that two trustees – Ethan Hastert and Pat Schuberg – were not in attendance and should have a voice.
Anderson said he prefers to meet less frequently because it allows Willret to be more efficient, as she is not constantly preparing for meetings. However, he said the issue will be discussed.