Village of Gurnee Weekly Announcements for Friday, December 9th, 2011

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Village Board Regular Meeting

Monday, December 19th, 2011 | 7:30 PM

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Village Hall - 325 N. O'Plaine Road

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Weekly Announcements for Friday, December 9th, 2011:
  1. Village Appoints a New Administrator, Police Chief and Deputy Police Chief
  2. Upcoming Holiday Events in the Village
  3. Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electrical Aggregation
  4. Gurnee Fire Department to Participate in "Keep the Wreath Red" Program
  5. Eagle Scout Project: Stuffed Backpacks for the Homeless
  6. Reminder: Shop Local for the Holidays
  7. Local Resources: Legal Resources Available from Warren-Newport Public Library
  8. Question of the Week: Can I Pay my Water Bill by Credit Card?

1. Village Appoints New Administrator, Police Chief & Deputy Police Chief

Pat Muetz, Village Administrator
Mayor Kovarik and the Village Board recently appointed three new officials in response to two recent retirements.  Assistant Village Administrator Patrick Muetz (right) will become the Village's new Administrator effective January 1st, 2012 following the retirement of current Administrator Jim Hayner.  Similarly, Police Chief Kevin Woodside (left) and Deputy Chief Jim Caldwell (right) were both recently appointed to their posts following the retirement of former Police Chief Bob Jones.  Woodside was a former Deputy Chief and Caldwell was the former Detective Commander.

"I am very excited about these appointments.  All three of our recent appointments have demonstrated excellent competence, professionalism and a deep commitment to the well-being of this community.  I expect nothing but good things from each of them," Kovarik said regarding the appointments.

2. Upcoming Holiday Events in the Village

With the holiday season comes the traditional holiday events enjoyed around the Village.  The Village will regularly update you on these events throughout the season and post them on this listserv.  The following events will be happening this weekend:

  • Breakfast with Santa - Santa will come visit Gurnee Park District tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 10th) at 8:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. for breakfast.  Find more details on the Park District's website.
  • Santa at Gurnee Mills - Come visit Santa at Gurnee Mills through December 24th.  Details are available on Gurnee Mills' website.

3. Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electrical Aggregation

As discussed in the December issue of Keeping Posted and on the Village's website, the Village Board recently authorized the placement of a referendum question regarding electrical aggregation on the March 20 general primary ballot.  This question asks you whether or not the Village should be allowed to bid the cost of electricity on behalf of residents and small businesses with electrical supplier companies.  The advantage of doing so is that it will give you greater discounts on electricity than you could otherwise get as an individual.  Right now, discounts that residents can achieve alone range from 10-17% off the ComEd electrical rate.  In communities that have complete the aggregation process, discounts have been roughly 22-30% off the ComEd rate.  As you can see, this has the potential to save you a significant amount of money.

You may wonder why the Village has begun promoting this so early.  The reason is that we have received questions from residents asking for advice on what to do if they would like to switch suppliers now.  Below are a few frequently asked questions and their answers regarding this process:

1. Can I go find a new supplier besides ComEd right now?

Yes.  If you would to save money in advance of any potential aggregation, under Illinois law you are able to choose your own supplier right now.  This website has a list of suppliers, current rates and other information.  These are legitimate offers as each of these suppliers has been certified by the State of Illinois.

2. What should I look for in signing a contract?

There are two primary things: the length of the contract and early termination fees.  The length of contract is very important to review before signing any contracts.  As you can see, suppliers offer greater discounts for longer term contracts but these lock you into staying with that supplier even if the Village completes the aggregation process.  If, after the aggregation process is complete, you want to leave your supplier and move to the Village's supplier, you may only be able to do so by breaking your contract and there may be steep early termination fees.  Please review these before signing anything.

3. If I sign a fixed term contract, would I be able to participate in aggregation?

Not until your contract expires or you voluntarily break it.  There may be penalties for terminating your contract early as discussed above.

These questions and more will be continuously updated on the Village's website starting early next week.  For any questions, contact Village Hall at (847) 599-7500.

4. Gurnee Fire Department to Participate in Annual "Keep the Wreath Red" Program

For the past twenty years, the Gurnee Fire Department has participated in the (local/national) "Keep the Wreath Red" program during the holiday season. As you drive past the fire stations during this time, please take note of the large wreath that will be prominently displayed in front of the buildings.

This wreath will be illuminated with red lights. When a fire is determined to be caused or related to Christmas decorations, one of the bulbs will be changed to white. The program is designed to remind the public of fire safety during the Christmas season.

Safety tips to remember this holiday season:

  • If you want a natural tree, select only a fresh tree (be sure the needles do not readily fall off).
  • Avoid overloading circuits or extension cords. Use only manufacturers maximum number of light strings.
  • Keep natural tree away from any heat source that will cause drying.
  • Never use lighted candles on or near a tree. Keep candles away from Christmas wrappings.
  • Turn off lights when adults are away. A short circuit could start a fire.
  • Never leave lighted candles unattended.

For any questions, contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at (847) 599-6680.

5. Eagle Scout Project: Stuffed Backpacks for the Homeless

Local scout Shawn Senter will be collecting stuffed backpacks for the homeless as part of his Eagle Scout project.  He is asking local residents to take an old backpack they have in their home and fill it with items such as blankets, hats and gloves, socks, Kleenex, toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.) and other items which may be useful.  Backpacks can be dropped off at Village Hall (325 N. O'Plaine Road) during normal businesses hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday).   Please have all donations to Village Hall no later than Saturday, December 10th.

For any questions, e-mail  Please put "Eagle Scout Project" in the subject line.

6. Reminder: Shop Local for the Holidays

As a friendly reminder, please shop locally for the holidays.  Every dollar you put back into the Gurnee economy helps not only support locally based businesses and employment but also the Village through the revenue from sales tax.  The Village strives to maintain the best quality services for the lowest possible cost and local reinvestment helps keep your taxes low.  Please support your community during this holiday season. 

7. Local Resources: Legal Resources Available from Warren-Newport Public Library

As the years come to an end, many of us look to take care of outstanding legal or financial items that we may have been putting off.  Warren-Newport Public Library offers a database called Legal Forms Library that contains many common legal forms, checklists and sample letters to help organize documents such as wills, bills of sale, power of attorney agreements and other common types of legal documents.  To access the database, visit the Library's website

8. Question of the Week: Can I pay my water bill with a credit card?

Yes, you can pay your water bill with a credit card by visiting this website or by calling (866) 220-4868. You will need your account number to do so.

As a reminder, you can pay your bill through any of the following methods:

  • At Village Hall: You can pay with cash or check at Village Hall during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).  There is also an after hours drop box where payments can be submitted by check.
  • By Mail: You can always mail a check using the return envelop included with your bill.
  • Online: With the link above, you can pay online by credit or debit card 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • By Phone: By calling (866) 220-4868, toll-free, you may pay your water bill using your Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover credit card or by debiting your checking account.  You must have your Account Number to pay by phone.  This service is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.  Please allow 2 business days for the payment to update to your account.
  • By Autodebit: You can enroll in the Village's autodebit program by visiting the website and returning this form to Village Hall.  You will continue to receive statements on a bimonthly basis with the amount charged.  On the due date, the funds will be automatically debited.

For any questions, please contact Village Hall at (847) 599-7500.

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