Minutes of the Committee Meeting of the Gurnee Village Board - February 27, 2012

 

MINUTES OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING

OF THE GURNEE VILLAGE BOARD

 

GURNEE VILLAGE HALL

FEBRUARY 27, 2012

 

Call to Order

Mayor Kovarik called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

 

Other Officials in Attendance

Patrick Muetz, Village Administrator; David Ziegler, Assistant Village Administrator/Community Development Director; Erik Jensen, Management Analyst; Diane Lembesis, Finance Director; Fred Friedl, Fire Chief; Kevin Woodside, Chief Police

 

Roll Call

PRESENT:       6- Park, Garner, Balmes, Morris, Schwarz, Ross

ABSENT:         0-  None

 

A. DISCUSSION ITEMS

 

  1. Discussion related to modifying Gurnee Municipal Code Chapter 78, Division 2 entitled “Vehicle Seizure and Impoundment.”

      Police Chief presented the following Power Point presentation to the Board.

 

      Administrative Seizures

 

      In 2007, the Village approved an update to the Municipal Code allowing for an administrative seizure fee of $500.00 to be applied to vehicles used in the commission of the following offenses:

 

      1.   DUI

      2.   Driving while license suspended or revoked for a DUI offense

 

      From May 2007 through December 2011, an administrative seizure was applied to 609 vehicles used in the commission of qualifying offenses. 36 administrative hearings were held at the request of vehicle drivers/owners.

 

      In those hearings, 30 seizures were upheld and 6 resulted in refunding fees to vehicle owners.

 

      77 seized vehicles were not claimed by the drivers/owners and were processed as abandoned automobiles by the towing operator.

 

      Analysis:

 

      A review of the last two years revealed 322 arrests of drivers with a suspended or revoked drivers license annually, with costs as follows:

 

  • Officer Time on Stop/Report:     2 hours             $  80
  • Officer Time in Court:                3 hours             $120
  • Prosecutor Time in Court:          1 hour               $100
  • Other Staff Time:                       2 hours             $  80

 

      At $380 for each arrest the annual cost exceeds $122,000.

 

      139 of these 322 drivers are serious offenders who could be required to bear the cost their arrest and prosecution with changes to the administrative seizure ordinance.

 

      The following proposals are for the Board’s consideration:

 

      Proposal #1:

 

      Apply the administrative penalty to drivers who have 2 or more suspensions/revocations on their driver’s license.

 

      This proposal identifies drivers who are “repeat offenders” as determined by the Illinois Secretary of State.

 

      Two (2) or more suspensions indicate the driver has been repeatedly suspended for multiple violations, or more than one suspension has been ordered due to the severity of a single incident. 

 

      During the last two years, 89 qualifying arrests per year were identified.

 

      Proposal #2:

 

      Apply the administrative penalty to all drivers under a suspension or revocation for 3 or more convictions during the previous 12 months.

 

      This proposal identifies dangerous drivers who have been convicted of multiple moving violations in a short period of time.

 

      During the last two years, 50 qualifying arrests per year were identified.

 

      Seizure Penalty Increase:

 

      To further recover the costs of arrest and prosecution of DUI and DUI related offenses directly from offenders the board could elect to increase the amount of the seizure penalty in these cases to $750.

 

      Costs

 

      The workload of supervisors, officers, support staff, tow providers and administrative hearing officers would increase proportionally with the number of qualifying tows and hearings.

 

      Should both options be implemented an additional 139 tows and 25 hearings would be anticipated annually, with the following cost impact:

 

  • Staff Time: No direct impact
  • Tow Operator Time: Cost would be borne by tow provider.
  • Hearing Officer Time: As high as $4,500

 

      Proposal Summary:

 

      Prop#1: At $750 per seizure, applying the same percentages, the village could recover $60,000 vs. $40,000 per fiscal year.

      Prop#2: At $750 per seizure, applying the same percentages, the village could recover $34,000 vs. $22,000 per fiscal year.

 

      Questions:

 

      Trustee Morris asked how much a DUI arrest cost.

 

      Chief Woodside said $380 is a rough cost per arrest.  He elaborated by saying that a DUI arrest would cost much more.

 

      Trustee Morris asked if Chief Woodside could get a true cost of a DUI arrest.

 

      Chief Woodside said he would work on that estimate.

 

      Trustee Morris said the Village should consider larger fines for repeat offenders.  He then asked what tow companies the Village utilizes.

 

      Chief Woodside said McClures, Gurnee Garage, and Lake County Towing.  Each of these operators must operate 24 hours a day per contract with the Village.

 

      Trustee Park suggested that Chief Woodside figure out the full cost of the Police Departments time by talking with Village Finance

      Director Diane Lembesis.  He said the Village should make sure the cost of the Police Departments staff has been fairly allocated.

 

      Chief Woodside said he will certainly talk with Diane.

 

      Trustee Schwarz asked what the max fine for a DUI is under our policies and ordinances.

 

      Chief Woodside said $1000.

 

      Trustee Schwarz asked if we can increase that fine.

 

      Chief Woodside said there is not a lot of precedence for that.

 

      Trustee Garner asked what happened to the 77 cars that were not claimed by their owners.

 

      Chief Woodside said they are turned over to the tow company and either auctioned off or destroyed.

 

      Trustee Garner asked why the tow companies are able to seize the cars.

 

      Chief Woodside said that typically unclaimed cars are not worth very much and turning them over to the tow company allows them to recover some of their costs.

 

      Trustee Garner asked how much time car owners are given to claim their towed car.

 

      Chief Woodside said he is not sure how long but it is a considerable amount of time.

 

      Mayor Kovarik said there are two proposals before the Board tonight and the recommendation is for both to pass.  She asked if anyone objected to ordinances being brought before the Board in the near future.

 

There were no objections.

 

  1. Review of Red Light Enforcement Program.

 

       Mr. Muetz said the Village of Gurnee’s contract with Redflex Traffic System Inc, the company that manages the Red Light camera program, expires in July of this year, and that Chief Woodside would be going to run the Board through the history of the program.

 

      Photo Enforcement
Program Review

 

      Integrity

      Transparency

      Customer Service

 

      The Timeline:

 

  • February 2006: Program research began
  • April 2006: Video surveys conducted throughout the village
  • January 2007: State statute passed in Springfield
  • December 2007: Village board enacted enabling ordinance and authorized a contract with our chosen vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc.
  • February 2008: IDOT permitting process
  • December 2008: IDOT permits issued
  • March 2009: Construction begins
  • May 2009: Program launch
  • July 7 2009: First citation issued

 

      The Locations:

 

      Intersections were evaluated based on a number of variables including traffic volume, accident rates, crash and injury severity, crash type, and red light violations committed during those crashes.

 

  • Route 132 & Hunt Club
  • Route 132 & Dilley’s Road
  • Route 132 & 21
  • Delany Road & Route 41
  • (all east and west bound approaches)
  • This intersection has been approved, but installation has not started:
  • Washington & Hunt Club 

 

      The Process:

 

1.    An anticipated red light violation triggers the system. Photos and video taken and sent to Redflex.

2.    Redflex reviews each activation. Violations that meet our criteria are sent to Gurnee Police.

3.    Photos and video of each violation is reviewed by a Gurnee police officer.

4.    Officers approve or decline violations – just like they do on the street.

5.    The officer’s decision is transmitted to Redflex and they process the approved tickets.

 

      The Ticket:

 

1.    The ticket issued is similar to a parking ticket, not a moving violation

  • The vehicle is identified – so the owner is responsible
  • The driver is not identified - so no conviction goes to SOS

2.    The fine is $100 – which doubles if not paid on time

3.    There is no court appearance – appeals are handled by the Village’s Hearing Officer.

4.    Five or more unpaid citations result in driver’s license suspension as prescribed by statute.

 

      System Activations Converted to Citations Issued

 

      47% of system activations result is a citation being issued by a Gurnee police officer.

 

      Redflex and Police Rejections

 

      51% of rejections are from RedFlex, 49% are by Gurnee Police Officers.

 

      Right Turn on Red (RTOR) Citations February 2010 through December 2011

 

      Since February 2010 (when tracking this data began) 43% of citations have been for right turn on red violations

 

      Program Cost

 

      2010:                                                                 Net Revenue

 

  • Program Management:               $60,000
  • Officer Review of Violations:      $12,000
  • Hearing Officer:                         $16,800
  • Miscellaneous Expenses:           $  2,000

                                                             $ 90,800          $1,012,000

2011:

 

  • Program Management:               $60,000
  • Officer Review of Violations:      $  5,000       
  • Hearing Officer:                         $11,000
  • Miscellaneous Expenses:           $  2,000                                                                          

                                                             $78,000               $564,000

 

FY 2012-2013 Projection:                 

 

  • Program Management:               $51,000
  • Officer Review of Violations:      $  5,000*         
  • Hearing Officer:                         $11,000*
  • Miscellaneous Expenses:            $  2,000

                                                             $69,000               $500,000*

 

      *Anticipate a 20% increase if Washington/Hunt Club approaches are activated.

  

Questions:

 

      Trustee Park asked how the Village selected the five intersections for Red Light cameras and why the intersection of Milwaukee and Washington has not received the cameras to date.

 

      Chief Woodside explained the intersection selection process and said that Milwaukee and Washington has had recent construction.  He said before an intersection can be submitted to the State for Red Light camera approval there must be three years of data available with no changes to the intersection.

 

      Trustee Garner asked if violations are reported to insurance agencies.

 

      Chief Woodside said that they are not.  However, the owner of the car could have their license suspended after five unpaid tickets and that would be reported to an insurance company.

 

      Trustee Garner asked why they don’t get reported to insurance agencies.

 

Trustee Park stated that the driver is not identified and thus, a red light camera violation cannot be handled in the same way as a moving violation.

 

      Chief Woodside further clarified saying that red light violations are administratively similar to a parking ticket. 

 

      Trustee Garner asked if the cameras are able to detect speeding.

 

      Chief Woodside said the law does not allow for that currently outside of Chicago.

 

Trustee Morris questioned if suspensions related to red light violations would go against a driving record as it relates to vehicle seizures.

 

Chief Woodside said no.

 

Upon Chief Woodside stated one of the perils in collecting and reviewing the data is that it’s been a short period of time since the cameras have been put in place and the number of crashes is a relatively small number.  He is reluctant to draw a conclusion that traffic accidents are down due to the Red Light Camera Program because of the many variables used to determine how crashes occur. 

 

Trustee Morris questioned the data regarding traffic flow at the various intersections and how we determine the changes in flow over time. 

 

Chief Woodside said we do not have data for the various variables such as “traffic per crossing”, etc.  

 

The Mayor asked if we get traffic count reports on state roads. 

 

David Zielger stated  we have access to state road historical data every two years.

 

The Mayor specifically asked about traffic count at Route 132 and Hunt Club.  

 

Mr. Ziegler stated we have approximately 50,000 cars per day.  He further stated that crash analysis is typically calculated per million cars entering the intersection.  Mr. Ziegler will work with the Police Department to get a better idea of crash statistics at the various intersections and normalize this data.  He stated the longer that data set, the more accurate the data trends will be. 

 

Trustee Morris asked about traffic patterns since the Washington Street and Tollway construction is completed.  He stated traffic patterns in Gurnee have changed significantly in Gurnee have the past 24 months.

 

Mr. Ziegler stated that he hasn’t seen the numbers since the Washington Street project has been completed, but of more significance, the traffic count at the Delany and Route 41 intersection is actually down since the 2007/2008 Tollway construction traffic was diverted to Route 41.

 

Chief Woodside said that the 2011 data is projected, but we have to be really be careful about the numbers because of the short timeframe.

 

      Trustee Morris asked how much we pay Red Flex.

 

      Chief Woodside said he didn’t have that number in front of him but he thought it was in the neighborhood of $500,000.

 

      Trustee Morris asked if that are asking for more money.

 

      Mayor Kovarik said the Village is currently in negotiations.

 

      Trustee Morris asked if the Village was willing to release any information regarding the negotiations.

 

      Mayor Kovarik said not right now.

 

      Trustee Park said the presentation tonight indentified 6300 citations issued out of 13000 system activations.  He asked Chief Woodside what kind of manpower would be required to issue 6300 citations.

 

      Chief Woodside said it wouldn’t be possible logistically for an Officer to do what this technology does.  He said however it takes at least 30 minutes to issue a citation.

 

      Mayor Kovarik said it is good to see the revenue falling because that means drivers are paying better attention and the system is effective.

 

      Trustee Garner said with the reduction in revenue is it possible Red Light cameras will not be cost effective in the future.

 

      Chief Woodside said from a performance and safety standpoint he does not ever see that happening.

 

      Mr. Muetz explained that the Village’s contract has a cost neutrality clause meaning that the program will ultimately never cost the Village any funds.

 

Adjournment

Trustee Balmes, moved, seconded by Trustee Park, to adjourn the meeting.

 

Voice Vote:      ALL AYE:         Motion Carried.
 

Mayor Kovarik adjourned the meeting at 8:50 p.m.

 

Andrew Harris,

Village Clerk