Minutes of the Committee Meeting of the Gurnee Village Board - November 26, 2012






NOVEMBER 26, 2012


Call to Order

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


Other Officials in Attendance

Patrick Muetz, Village Administrator; Erik Jensen, Management Analyst; Tom Rigwood, Director of Public Works


Roll Call

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

ABSENT:         0-  None




1.  Agency Overview and Membership Expansion Update Presentation by Darrell Blenniss Jr., Executive Director and Bill Soucie, Director of Operations, Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency  


Mr. Blenniss presented the following Power Point presentation to the Board:


Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency


Agency Overview &

Membership Expansion Update


Agency Membership:

  • Grayslake
  • Gurnee
  • Lake Bluff
  • Lake County Government
    • Vernon Hills
    • Wildwood
    • Knollwood & Rondout
    • Mettawa (Portions)
  • Libertyville
  • Mundelein
  • Round Lake
  • Round Lake Beach
  • Round Lake Consortium (Round Lake Park & Round Lake Heights)


Agency Overview:

  • Established in 1987
  • Began water service in 1992
  • Current Budget = $24.7 million
    • 24% O&M Expenses
    • 59% Debt Related Expenses. 
      • GO bonds retire in 2019
      • Original Revenue bonds retire in 2021
    • 15% Capital Improvements
  • FY 13 Rate = $2.65/1000 gallons.


Agency Facilities/Infrastructure:

  • Lake Michigan Intake (3000 feet)
  • Raw Water Pumping Station
  • Raw Water Transmission Lines (2 miles)
  • Water Treatment Plant
  • Finished Water Transmission Lines (32 miles)
  • Booster Pumping Station & Standpipes (9.6 million gallons)
  • Elevated Storage Tank (1.5 million gallons)
  • 16 Delivery Structures


Possible Membership Expansion:


Communities Currently Involved:           

  • Lake Villa
  • Lindenhurst
  • Wauconda
  • Volo
  • Unincorporated Areas:
    • Grandwood Park
    • Fox Lake Hills


Membership Expansion Benefits:

  • Up to $50 million dollars in connection fees paid to the Agency.
  • Increases in water sales volume should lead to a reduction in the Agency's wholesale rate by up to 20%.




Mayor Kovarik said she sits on this Board and emphasized adding communities does not add cost to existing members and having more people using the system will bring rates down.  She encouraged the Board members to ask questions.


Trustee Balmes ask if they will make changes or additions to the main facility in order to expand.


Mr. Blenniss said no there isn’t a need for expansion at the current facility adding it can handle 50 million gallons.  He also stated additions are possible.


Trustee Balmes asked if Long Grove was still interested in receiving Lake Michigan water.


Mr. Blenniss said the Long Grove referendum was defeated.


Trustee Garner said it seems like water is being pumped a long distance and asked if the pumping stations ever go down.


Mr. Bill Soucie, Operations Director, said there are three pumps at each station so if something fails another pump is available.  He said the Agency also has backup generators in case of a power outage.


Trustee Garner asked how adding a community will impact the system output.


Mr. Blenniss said the system improvements are designed to accommodate any new members as far as JAWA’s pressure and velocity standards.  In addition, a second booster pump station will be built in Libertyville to help relieve some of the pressure issues that might arise.  Planned improvements are in place. 


Trustee Garner asked how much a booster station cost.


Mr. Blenniss said $37,000,000.00.


Trustee Ross asked if there is a concern since the lake level is going down.


Mr. Soucie said Lake Michigan is regulated and pumping cannot exceed 3200 cubic feet a second.    


Trustee Park asked if the distribution cost is a separate cost and paid by the new communities.


Mr. Blenniss said that is was.


Trustee Park asked about the resolution regarding connection fee payments fees over a twenty year time period.


Mr. Blenniss clarified stating that the payments are timed with their debt retirement to help keep the rates low for all the members and also with improvements based on demand.  This will provide the cash necessary for improvements.


Trustee Park asked what obligation the Village would have regarding revenue bond payments if they defaulted.


Mr. Blenniss stated that revenue bonds would be paid for by the new communities, but there would be some risk for the Village.


Trustee Park asked what amount is being paid by the new communities to recapture the $1,000,000 investment that was made twenty years ago with the existing communities and the capital improvements that have been made since that time.




Mr. Blenniss clarified stating the amount is  $50,000,000 in connection fees which, in theory, reimburses JAWA for the initial investment. The $37,000,000 of improvements would be necessary with or without the addition of new communities.


Trustee Park asked what is the cost of the expansion of the system to bring our pipe system to the surrounding communities.


The cost to extend the pipes from our system to the surrounding communities is $64.4 million dollars. Those surrounding communities are paying that cost separately and not as part of the revenue bond.


Trustee Garner asked if other communities are paying less for water than the Village and if they join JAWA, what would be the benefit.


Mr. Blenniss stated that the communities who are on ground water have a lower rate; however, they have other issues such as radium in the water, which is very costly to dispose of, and other volatile compounds found in the water which are difficult to treat, etc.  Most communities will be paying more on their water rate for Lake Michigan water.


Trustee Morris asked what fund the property taxes, connection fees and per gallon rate is allocated to.


Mr. Blenniss clarified stating that existing members do not pay connection fees, only new members.  He further clarified that we are an enterprise fund.  Property taxes pay the general obligation bonds and revenue received from taxes goes to the Trustee to pay the bonds.


The Mayor encouraged the Board to visit the JAWA website via a link on the Village website.


2.  Presentation by Jake Balmes – Public Works Street Division Supervisor – Emerald Ash Borer Program update.


Mr. Balmes presented the following Power Point presentation to the Board:


Emerald Ash Borer

  • Non-native; discovered in Michigan in 2002
  • Since 2002, EAB is responsible for the death of millions of Ash trees
  • First discovered in Illinois in 2006
  • Gurnee Infestation confirmed January 2011
  • Natural spread was thought to be ½ mile per season, but the infestation has been averaging 5-10 miles per season; further on firewood


Gurnee’s Ash Trees

  • 3146 Ash trees in the inventory
  • Green, White, Blue and European
  • 6” up to 41” Diameter at Breast Height
  • Average of 11” DBH


Impacts of Inaction on our Urban Forest

  • Every Ash tree in our community is standing dead
  • Streets lined with Ash trees will be bare
  • Loss of fully one-third of our community’s tree canopy
  • Without timely removal these dead Ash trees would quickly become hazards
  • Estimated cost for removal & replacement of all parkway Ash trees $1.5 Million


What We Have Done To-Date

  • Removals - 53 trees
  • Replacement planting (where appropriate) - 41 trees
  • Inter-planting - 40 trees
  • Pesticide injections with Tree-äge (Emamectin benzoate) – 2,679 trees
  • Updated ash tree inventory


Village’s EAB Costs to Date

  • Tree removal and replacement - $20,800
  • Inter-planting - $12,000
  • Application equipment - $7,000
  • Tree-äge (for the treatment of 2679 Ash trees) - $53,000
  • Labor for chemical applications – $38,355
  • Total for expenditures and staff time is $132,000


Treatment Costs Evaluated

  • Including labor and chemical costs, we are averaging $3.31 per caliper inch
  • Labor cost per caliper inch in 2011 - $2.36
  • Labor cost per caliper inch in 2012 - $.81
  • Contractual pricing for these treatments range from $7-10 per caliper inch
  • For the same cost as removal and replacement we can inject them 20 years


Staff Recommendation

  • Treatments on a three year rotation
  • Continue treatments of all trees until the untreated trees have been removed and replaced
  • Begin to remove selected Ash trees from areas where the ratios are the greatest
  • Continue to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments and the research as it becomes available


Projected Annual Costs

  • Removal of 150 trees (labor only)
  • Stump grinding $6,000-$10,000
  • Replacement planting 150 trees $45,000
  • Chemical costs to treat 900 trees (assuming 3 year rotation) $20,000
  • Total projected annual cost for the next three fiscal years - $75,000


Options – none appealing

  • Timeline is the crucial issue
  • At a minimum, continued treatments will buy us time and allow us to manage annual costs
  • Removal only is the least expensive option
    • Requires the greatest up-front costs
    • Likely to be the least popular with the public
    • Rapid loss of one-third of our canopy and all associated benefits


Good News

  • We are ahead of the curve
  • Our quick action allows us to plan for the future and take advantage of new technologies
  • The research seems to suggest that if we can weather the initial infestation, we may be able to safeguard our Ash trees long term




Mayor Kovarik asked if the treatment is working.


Mr. Balmes said it has been nearly 100% effective so far but there is only two years of data.


Mayor Kovarik asked when this will leave the area.


Mr. Balmes compared the EAB infestation to Dutch Elm Disease and said that after ten to twelve years, there will be nothing left for the insects to feed on.  He further stated that the treatment has given the Village options that it may not have otherwise had.


Trustee Morris asked what neighboring communities are doing about this.


Mr. Balmes said every community has its own way of handling this problem.


Trustee Morris asked what the forest preserve is doing.


Mr. Balmes said they have too many trees and are letting it run its course.


Trustee Morris asked what the Gurnee Park District has done.


Mr. Balmes said they have treated some of the higher value trees in their parks.  He said they plan to plant new trees around the others.


Trustee Morris asked if any of the homeowners associations have done anything.


Mr. Balmes said some have taken action but that many cannot take significant action due to the costs involved.


Trustee Morris asked if there are other insects or borers that attack Ash trees.


Mr. Balmes said yes, but they are native and the current treatment is working on them as well.


Trustee Park asked if there is an estimate on the amount of Ash trees the forest preserve will lose.


Mr. Balmes said eventually all of the Ash trees will fall victim.  He said the sooner it runs its course the better off we are.


Trustee Park asked if this 3 year program will require changes in staff to accomplish.


Mr. Balmes said no, our current staff we have will be able accomplish the requirements of the program.


Trustee Garner asked what we know about the treatment and how it works.


Mr. Balmes said it kills the the actual insect and the larvae.  He said the direct injection is the safest for the community stating that the treatment is captured into the tree and stays until it is no longer viable.


Trustee Garner asked If we treat our trees and other communities don’t will the borer just come to our trees.


Mr. Balmes said if they do, they will die.


Trustee Garner asked if we are just prolonging the inevitable.


Mr. Balmes said the question is whether to manage the inevitable or not. 


Trustee Garner asked about when EAB was first discovered and if there is a track record for emamectin benzoate as far as a long-term solution for EAB.


Mr. Balmes stated that Emerald Ash Borer has been around since 2002 and the treatment has only been around for 4 years, so there are no long term studies to review. He said the communities that have used the product are having very positive results.


Trustee Balmes asked if we are in danger of losing our Tree City status.


Mr. Balmes said no that status is not affected. 


Trustee Schwarz said he heard the treatment is only effective on certain sized trees and asked if there is any truth to that.


Mr. Balmes said no, it depends on the product but the success rate is lower for larger trees.


Mayor Kovarik said if there are no objections we will plan on budgeting money for this project.


There were none.


3.  Presentation by Thomas J. Rigwood – Public Works Director – FY 12/13 Snow and Ice Control Plan update.


      Mr. Rigwood presented the following Power Point presentation to the Board:


2012-2013 Snow and Ice Control Operations


Snow Season Overviews

  • 4,200 tons of salt on hand
  • Budgeted 3,500 tons for FY 12/13 under State of Illinois contract.  Responsible for delivery of 80% or 2,800 tons or a maximum of 120% or 4,200 tons.


Weather Information


  • Assignments (Exhibit I)
  • Routes (Exhibit H)
  • Service Priorities (page 4)
    • First Priority – Collector Streets
    • Second Priority – Local Streets
    • Third Priority – Cul-de-sacs and dead ends
    • Fourth Priority – Sidewalks (goal is to clear within 72 hours after a snow event)


Materials / Liquids

  • Materials – GEO Salt & “Super Mix”
    • Salt – 4,200 tons
    • Geo Salt
    • “Super Mix”
      • 75% Salt Brine, 20% GEOMELT, & 5% Calcium
      • Chloride
  • Pre-wetting
  • Anti-icing
    • Treating roads 72 hours prior to an event (Exhibit Q)
    • Anti-Icing Units
      • Hook lift skid:   1,600 gallons
      • Truck 263:            425 gallons
      • Truck 274:            400 gallons
      • Truck 298:            325 gallons


Equipment and Facilities

  • Equipment Preparation – Nov. 15
  • Calibration of spreaders and on-board liquid tanks
  • Post Storm Truck / Equipment Washing, Inspection and Maintenance
  • Mixing Facility
    • Training on utilizing system




Trustee Park asked if the Village ever plows roads that are not part of the Village’s responsibility.


Mr. Rigwood said that the Village does because the drivers are not familiar with the hazards on those roads.  He said the Village will never plow a State or County road.


Trustee Garner asked if the Supermix deteriorates the roads. 


Mr. Rigwood said Supermix does not deteriorate the roadways.


Trustee Garner asked if it was better on trucks.


Mr. Rigwood said yes.


Trustee Garner asked how long it takes to clear the entire Village following a snowfall.


Mr. Rigwood said a 4 inch snow fall will take 4 hours to clear curb to curb.



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


Voice Vote:      ALL AYE:         Motion Carried.

Mayor Kovarik adjourned the meeting at 9:31 p.m.




Andrew Harris,

Village Clerk