Minutes of the Committee Meeting of the Gurnee Village Board - July 22, 2013

 

MINUTES OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING

OF THE GURNEE VILLAGE BOARD

 

GURNEE VILLAGE HALL

JULY 22, 2013

 

Call to Order

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

 

Other Officials in Attendance

 

Patrick Muetz, Village Administrator; Diane Lembesis, Finance Director; Erik Jensen, Management Analyst;; John Kavanagh, Deputy Fire Chief; Kevin Woodside, Police Chief

 

Roll Call

PRESENT:       5-Park, Garner, Balmes, Hood, Wilson, Ross

ABSENT:         0-None

 

A. DISCUSSION ITEMS

 

 

Summary of Operations GolfVisions Management, Inc.

Dirk Skelley, General Manager, Bittersweet Golf Club gave the following Summary of Operations update covering December 1, 2012 through July 15, 2013, which, by industry standards, is half way through the season:

 

Clubhouse:

  • A variety of improvements were made to the Clubhouse Facility including the following:
    • The entire lower level, including bathrooms, was painted.
    • The carpeting throughout the facility was cleaned.
    • The kitchen area was thoroughly cleaned.
    • The Pro Shop was reorganized.
    • The ceiling for the lower operations office was replaced.
    • Various improvements were made to landscaping such as trimming trees, clearing of woods and power washing of pavers.
    • Exterior painting was done to improvement the appearance of the cart area posts, shed, patio furniture and back deck.

Golf Course:

  • Course underbrush cleared and winterized in December.
  • Added a secondary cut to fair corridors, long with a reduced collar cut for improved playability.
  • All bunkers edged and cleaned of weeds.
  • New flower bed feature behind the 7th hole.
  • Removal of several dead trees.
  • Cart path pot holes and split rail fence continue to be repaired when needed.

 

Statistics:

  • Total revenues through Monday: July 15th - $460,000.
  • Total rounds – 9,300.
  • Average revenue per round - $49.50
  • Merchandise sales - $15,000.
  • Driving Range Revenues - $28,000.
  • The Junior Lesson and Lesson programs are taught by top PGA Professional, Dino Lucchesi, with approximately 30-40 youth participating.
  • Two leagues Wednesday and Thursday with the hopes of increasing in 2014.

 

Marketing Vehicles:

  • Website E-blast and text broadcasts.
  • GolfNow Premium booking engine is responsible for approximately $40,000 in on line tee time bookings.
  • Great Green Fees.
  • Participation in Chicago Tribune advertising of all GolfVisions managed facilities.
  • Chicago Golf Show.
  • LoyalTee Texting.
  • Coupon Cash Saver.
  • Families on the Fairway was an excellent showcase for the course.
  • Reintroduction of the popular Friday Fish Fry.
  • Couples Night – Huge Success.

 

Challenges:

  • Normal transition issues, including point-of-sale management changes, staff hiring, operational structure and set-up.
  • Colder and wetter conditions decrease course traffic.
  • Improving on past perception that the course is too difficult.

 

Future Planning:

  • Customer service is always job “One.”
  • Improve course conditions by softening where possible.
  • Maintain the improved first impressions.
  • Utilization of facility during off season.
  • Develop a 5-year Capital Plan based on performance.
  • Build a reserve account.

 

Comments/Questions/Discussion:

 

Trustee Wilson asked where most of the golfers come from and what is the ROI (return on investment) on the full page Chicago Tribune ad.

 

Mr. Skelley stated most of the golfers come from Gurnee and the full page Chicago Tribune ad is a combination of all fifteen Chicago golf courses managed by GolfVisions.

 

Trustee Wilson suggested Mr. Skelley take a look at utilizing Gurnee Life and also promoting the driving range now that Bobby’s Driving Range is closed.

 

Mr. Skelley said we have a limited marketing budget but will be looking into some of the community guides and promoting the driving range now that Bobby’s is closed.

 

Trustee Garner asked about the driving range revenues.

 

Mr. Skelley stated revenues were approximately $28,000.

 

Trustee Hood asked what the dollar projection is this year.

 

Mr. Skelley stated he is hoping for $950,000 total revenues with profit somewhere between $125,000 and $150,000.

 

Mayor Kovarik stated she’s looking forward to new ideas and opportunities for the Village and Bittersweet.

 

Solid Waste Agency of Lake County

SWALCO Executive Director Walter Willis and Recycling Coordinator Pete Adrian gave an update on survey results and the commercial waste hauling franchising process, which would further stimulate greater recycling including organic recycling. 

 

Mr. Willis stated the Village should consider commercial franchising because it was one of the recommendations out of the 60% Taskforce that could stimulate greater recycling. 

 

Mr. Willis stated the Cities of Highwood and Highland Park have franchises and have experienced increased recycling, lower pricing and reduced wear and tear on the roads.  Over 82% of the business under Highland Park’s first commercial franchise contract saved money by participating in the franchise over their former independent contract.

 

Mr. Willis stated that franchising is extremely effective when a partnership is formed which results in a win-win for everyone.

 

Mr. Willis said that the process for awarding a franchise requires at least two public hearings: one on the advisability of issuing a request for proposals for the franchise and a second prior to awarding the franchise.  The municipality must also discuss its administrative/franchise fee at the public meetings.

 

Mr. Willis then explained the purpose of a recent survey done in conjunction with the Village.  The survey was mailed to all eligible businesses and ask for details regarding the refuse and recycling service, including costs.  Mr. Willis stated 138 or 14% of the mailed surveys have been returned so far.

 

Mr. Willis reviewed the Commercial Franchising Primary Steps and Timeline information distributed to the Board highlighting container sizes, hauler information, municipality franchise comparisons, etc.  He further stated that Gurnee is one of the largest commercial entities in the county with a very large waste shed that SWALCO would like to see be included in a franchise. 

 

Upon Board approval, next steps would be to develop a request for proposals and hold a public hearing on the advisability of issuing the request to haulers.

 

Mr. Willis believes the market is very robust and if implemented correctly and the Village remains engaged with the haulers, the Village can really push the recycling and the food scraps/organic recycling agenda.  He emphasized that in order to get the 60% recycling rate, we have to go after the organics in our waste streams.

 

Comments/Questions/Discussion:

 

Mayor Kovarik gave additional background stating five years ago, the Board looked at idea of a franchise but stepped back due to legislation that would limit the Village’s ability to move forward with the process.  Mayor also stated that residents are very vocal about finding ways for the Village to be “greener.”  She concluded with stating that this could a big win for our business community and for the community as a whole in embracing the protection of our natural resources.

 

Trustee Park stated three positive outcomes that would result in moving forward with the commercial franchising:  1) moving towards a solid waste solution to reduce the landfill and increase recycling; 2) Gurnee can save money for local businesses; and 3) the wear and tear on our streets as it relates to traffic.

 

Trustee Wilson stated with the high volume restaurants producing organic waste, this opportunity would be great for the Village.

 

Trustee Ross asked how hard is it to get the companies to change over and what would the process be. 

 

Mr. Willis stated it’s very important for the business community to make the transition as easy as possible.  He further stated this is a great opportunity for the Village and the hauler to get out into the community and work together, especially during the transition period.

 

Trustee Balmes asked for clarification as to how the recycling would work in her unique business with space being an issue.  

 

Mr. Willis stated that the Village, SWALCO, and the hauler would have to work together and find a solution satisfactory to all.

 

Mr. Muetz asked Mr. Willis to enlighten the Board on some of the responses received from waste haulers and what to expect regarding the commercial hauling franchise.

 

Mr. Willis stated the waste haulers could be very adversarial, running ads, negative robo calls to homeowners and businesses, etc.  Mr. Willis further stated if the Board decides to move forward, realize that it’s a long path, political champions need to be identified, and staff time should be set aside in case situations arise.

 

The Mayor stated this is volume purchasing at its best.  The Board unanimously agree to move forward with the process.  Staff will work with SWALCO.

 

Village of Gurnee Chamber of Commerce

All Things Gurnee

Mobile App

Gurnee Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Brad Jenks, along with Executive Director, Craig Hathaway, addressed the Board giving a brief history of the Chamber’s 200 members comprised of local businesses and community organizations and their accomplishments.  Mr. Jenks stated the Chamber’s purpose is to enhance the economic viability and growth of the local business community.  Mr. Jenks informed the Board that Mr. Hathway and he are in the final stages of the development of a Gurnee application (“app”) for smartphones called All Things Gurnee. All Things Gurnee is a mobile resource platform for business, entertainment, shopping, dining, festivals, community events, village services and more.   This app is the biggest and most ambitious project the Chamber has undertaken to date.  This app will be instrumental in helping to promote Gurnee’s local businesses.   Mr. Hathaway gave a presentation regarding the mobile app, how it works, branding, various categories and pages of the app and membership levels including silver, gold and platinum.    

In summary, the Chamber feels that All Things Gurnee would allow local businesses to have a low cost option when it comes to reaching their base with the added benefit of Chamber membership and visitors will find it a rewarding and helpful way to navigate our community.

Mr. Jenks stated that a lot of time and effort has been put into the development of this app with their web designer.  Mr. Jenks further stated they are in need of partners in order to bring this app to our members, market the app, and to continue to maintain the app in the future.  The Chamber is requesting the Village to financially partner with the Chamber and become a partner member in the annual amount of $10,000.  The $10,000 would enable the Chamber to better support their member businesses, and be better equipped tem to handle the ongoing demands of a growing Chamber of Commerce. 

 

Comments/Questions/Discussion:

 

Trustee Ross asked how the app fits in with the Lake County Visitor’s’ Bureau and stated that she believes there is some redundancy as it relates with many of the same services the Visitor’s Bureau already offers to residents, as well as visitors. She further stated that the Village funds the Visitor’s Bureau to promote the same services that the Chamber’s smart app will provide.  Trustee Ross also asked for clarification of the partner level, who else the Chamber has approached to become partners, and expressed concern with the differences between this program and the Gurnee’s Got It! campaign.

 

Mr. Jenks said that this app will specifically target Gurnee businesses via a mobile app as opposed to the Visitor Bureau’s website that targets visitors, as well as residents. 

 

Mr. Hathaway stated while the Visitor Bureau has a great site, it’s not Gurnee centered as the mobile smart app would be.  Regarding the Partner Level funding.  Mr. Jenks stated that Partner Level funding starts at $4,900; however, they are requesting $10,000 from the Village to be a partner.  Mr. Jenks further stated the Chamber will be approaching KeyLime Cove, Gurnee Mills, Six Flags, and AT&T to become partners.  Mr. Jenks stated the businesses who are currently participating in the Gurnee’s Got It! campaign will be integrated into the All Things Gurnee mobile application.

 

Trustee Ross reiterated her concerns, stating the three main summer campaign partners are Six Flags, KeyLime Cove, and Gurnee Mills.  She stated the theory of the Visitor’s Bureau is what’s good for Gurnee is good for Lake County and what’s good for Lake County is good for Gurnee.  She’d like to see the Chamber and Visitor’s Bureau work together.

 

Trustee Park stated the issue of how to push economic development in Gurnee and using groups like the Chamber to do that is very valid.  He also stated the potential for commonality amongst the Economic Development Committee’s objectives is great and the difference between the Visitor’s Bureau and the Chamber is that the Visitor’s Bureau’s focus is specifically the tourism side of the business, while the Chamber’s focus is Gurnee businesses, especially the small business owners.  Trustee Park stated the mobile app would provide an option for the residents.  

 

Mr. Hathaway stated the Chamber’s goal, through the All Things Gurnee mobile app, is to develop residential loyalty.

 

Trustee Wilson asked if any other communities are utilizing a mobile app. 

 

Mr. Jenks stated Lakeview community in Chicago has a mobile app. called Go Lakeview.

 

Trustee Hood echoed Trustee Ross’ concern stating the he would like the Chamber and the Visitor’s Bureau to work together establishing a cross communication.  He stated the mobile app is a great idea that will assist the business community. 

 

Mr. Jenks stated at this point, they are at the implementation stage and funding is now needed to allow the Chamber to go to the next level.  Currently, they do not have enough money with 200 members to allow for an Executive Director and staff.  The Chamber feels that support in the amount of $10,000 annually would enable the Chamber to better support our member businesses, cover the costs of the development of the app, and cover the costs associated with maintaining such an app.

 

Trustee Balmes stated she is in favor of anything that will help to promote Gurnee businesses; however, she questions whether or not the $10,000 is a one-time investment or is it ongoing.  The funding issue would result in Trustee Balmes’ concern that as a business owner, what would the Chamber’s stance be if she had an issue with the Village and the Village is providing funding to the Chamber.

 

Trustee Ross asked what the Chamber’s plan is if the Village becomes a partner.  Mr. Jenks stated some of the $10,000 would go towards the hiring of a full time Executive Director and Administrative Staff which equals approximately $100,000 a year.  In addition, the Chamber is still looking for a location and welcomes the Board’s input to that end.

 

Mayor Kovarik stated the All Things Gurnee app is a huge value for the Village and uniquely different from the Visitor’s Bureau.  Gurnee’s Got It! helped the small business to stay alive and was never meant to be permanent.  She further stated that she believes there is a way to get the mobile app accomplished with an implementation/project plan detailing exactly where tax dollars will be spent.  She believes there’s room for a partnership; however, the Board must be comfortable.  Trustee Hood, along with staff, will work with the Chamber to accomplish their goal.

 

Adjournment

It was moved by Trustee Garner, seconded by Trustee Park to adjourn the meeting.

 

Voice Vote:      ALL AYE:         Motion Carried.
 

Mayor Kovarik adjourned the meeting at 8:55 p.m.

 

 

 

Donna Dallas

Deputy Village Clerk