Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Economic Development Committee - August 16, 2012

Village of Gurnee

Economic Development Committee Minutes

August 16, 2012


The meeting was held in Conference Room A, Gurnee Village Hall, 325 N. O’Plaine Road and called to order at 6:03 P.M.

Members Present:            Trustee Stephen Park, Randy Ebertowski, Rob Elbrecht, Bill Finn, Tom Henderson, Brad Jenks, Dick Welton

Members Absent:             Roneida Martin, Karen Thorstenson

Other Officials Present:    David Ziegler, Community Development Director; Ryan Mentkowski, Associate Planner

1. Public Comment

It was noted that Dick MacFarlane from the Planning and Zoning Board was in attendance and that he was there mainly to listen to the Committee meeting.  He did not have any comments at the time of public comment.

2. Approval of the July 19, 2012 Meeting Minutes

Mr. Welton made a motion, seconded by Mr. Ebertowski, to approve the July 19, 2012 meeting minutes, as presented.

All voted ‘aye’. Motion carried.

3. Old Business:  Continuation of workshop to finalize and restructure the list of the Village of Gurnee’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Chairman Park discussed what the Committee was looking to accomplish at tonight’s meeting, including that the Committee was looking to clearly identify what direction they were headed with the SWOT (as summarized in the staff memo).   He explained that at the July 2012 meeting the Committee took the previously drafted list of strengths and weaknesses from the SWOT analysis and reorganized items that were repetitive or unnecessary, and reorganized these items as a “Fact”, “Policy” or “Fact/Policy”.  Additionally, the Committee preliminarily ranked the top 3 “Policy” items they believe the Village could target as Business Attraction/Retention; lack of Economic Development Department; zoning/permitting; infrastructure; and narrow fields of revenue (to fund the Village).

Following the reorganization of the strengths and weaknesses and using the same methods for analysis during tonight’s meeting, the continued workshop finalized and reorganized the opportunities and threats portion of the SWOT analysis as a “Fact”, “Policy” or “Fact/Policy”.    The Committee preliminarily ranked the top 3 “Policy” opportunities and threats as:  Business Attraction/Retention; streamlined review process from the zoning process through building occupancy; our transition from all new growth to a stable, established community that relies on existing growth for dollars; and the potential duplication of work between the Village of Gurnee Economic Development Committee, the Gurnee Chamber of Commerce, Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Lake County Visitors Bureau, etc.

Chairman Park stated that at the September EDC meeting staff will illustrate how all the policy matters which have been discussed the last couple of months all fit together.  He stated that the Committee can then take this information and make recommendations on what policy matters the Village should pay attention to.  He stated that his overall goal is to present a report to the Village Board that shows that the EDC has been working hard trying to make sense of the difficult subjects, defining what should be looked at, and reporting the policies, problems, strengths and the weaknesses currently existing in the Village. 

Mr. Finn agreed with Chairman Park that the “facts” that the EDC came up with during the SWOT should be incorporated as an appendix item in the SWOT analysis to provide background information.

Mr. Jenks felt that the information from the EDC should be a good tool for the Village Board to use as it is a more methodical approach than just going with your gut on the item.

Chairman Park stated the intent would be to determine whether or not the Village Board agreed with the Committee’s findings.  If it makes sense to the Board, then staff would have to come back to the Village Board and present what sort of resources would be needed to address the policies recommended by the EDC.  He stated that as far as timing is concerned, he hoped that this could be taken to the Village Board in the next couple of months.  If this timeline comes to fruition, then the EDC policies could potentially be incorporated into next year’s fiscal budget. The EDC and Chairman Park discussed that this will be a difficult process based on current fiscal constraints and past experiences from other members which were related to economic development resource recommendations.

No formal action taken.

4. Agenda Items for Next Meeting Date: September 20, 2012

Mr. Randy Ebertowski, General Manager from Gurnee Mills Mall may make a presentation to the Committee as to what is new at the mall and the other important things that Gurnee Mills is working on right now and in the future.

Mr. Finn suggested that someone come to talk about state and local incentives in Illinois and surrounding states, specifically regarding job creation.  He stated they should come and talk about what an economic multiplier would look like in a surrounding area for every “FTE” [full time employee] of job created.  He then stated that he may be able to get a colleague and friend of his who is a private sector financial advisor working on larger company financial incentives to do a presentation regarding the financial incentives that are actually available from a private business perspective.  Mr. Finn was unsure of the date of the meeting he could get his friend to attend; however, he would keep the Committee informed on the timing.

Additionally, the Committee discussed the possibility of having a representative from the Lake County Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity) talk about financial incentives available to businesses.  The Committee stated that they would like to have this presentation following the presentation by Mr. Finn’s colleague.

5. Chairman Comments

Mr. Mentkowski provided an update regarding the CMAP LTA grant application for an East Grand Avenue corridor study, including staffs interview with a CMAP staff member on August 22 and that the grants would be announced on October 10, 2012.  Staff will keep the Committee informed on the application status.

6. Adjournment

Trustee Park asked for motion to adjourn.

Mr. Ebertowski made a motion, seconded by Mr. Jenks, to adjourn.

All voted ‘aye’. Motion carried.

The Meeting was adjourned at 7:31 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted:

Ryan Mentkowski, AICP
Economic Development Committee Secretary


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