Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Sauk Village Administrator/Public Safety Report - February 23, 2016

Village Administrator / Public Safety Director Report
By: JW Fairman

February 23, 2016

Vacant Housing:
  • The Village’s master vacant list, to date, shows 443  vacant homes :
    • Vacant                       368 houses
    • Vacant/Occupied     57 houses
    • Demo list                    18 houses  
  • The 57 Vacant/Occupied houses without water accounts or occupancy permits have been sent letters to contact the Village by March 1, 2016 or face discontinuation of services and fines. It should be noted that these 57 non-accounts cost the Village, on average, $34,200 annually.
  • It should also be noted that, on average, vacant housing (based on current figures) conservatively cost the Village $265,800 annually, (this amount does not factor a reduce EAV (equalized assessed valuation) that the vacancies contribute to).
Scavenger Contract Update:
  • Staff has contacted the scavenger vender and provided it a list of vacant houses that do not qualify for garbage collection. This action will result in a savings, on average, of $89,000 annually.
  • It was found by Staff that the current scavenger contract was renewed in 2011 (under the Towers Administration); the renewal period runs through 2020.
  • A liaison from the Board of Trustees should meet with the Vender to discuss past billings of vacant residential property.
  • At some point in time the Village should consider removing itself as the billing provider for the Vender.
Water Accounts Owing More than $400
  • A total of 259 water accounts owing more than $400, affecting water, sewer and utility tax revenues were identified by staff. These accounts represent an estimated loss of Village revenues in the amount of $272,683 annually.
  • Notices have been sent to 38 of 259 accounts owing more than $1000. These accounts have been asked to notify the Village by March 7, 2016 or face discontinuation of services. These accounts are active and, on average cost the Village $89,410 annually. 
  • 32 of the above 259 accounts are terminated accounts. They represent a loss of Village revenues of $66,928. I am asking that the Board approved an amount not to exceed $2,100 to file liens against these properties. Lien filing and preparation cost is $65 per property.
  • Due to low staffing levels the remainder of the 189 accounts owing $400 to $1000 (totaling $116,298) will be put on a watch list.
  • I am asking the Board to give me direction as to what it wants to do (if anything) with arrear accounts that belong to individuals who hold appointed Village positions.
NOTE: For the first 53 days of 2016 Water revenues have increased by $7700 over the same period a year ago. This increase is due to identifying and focusing on arrearages.
Recommended Amendments to Tow Ordinance and Water Ordinance:
  • Tow penalties collected by the Village be set aside in a dedicated fund for Police vehicle purchases.
  • Increase “After Hour Turn Fee” to $250, and set aside these fees to a dedicated fund for Public Works vehicle purchases.
Just recently it was brought to my attention that the former Chief of Police entered into a contract agreement with Verizon phone service for 77 cell phones. The contract averages approximately $2,000 a month is part of the State Joint Purchasing Program but was entered into without approval of the Sauk Village Board of Trustees. There is no process that monitors the use of these cell phones or provides for an inventory procedure, that I am aware of. I am requesting Board direction on this matter (see attached). 
Staff continues to prepare a draft for the 2015/16 annual budget. When completed, the draft will be submitted to the Finance Committee for review.
NOTE: New pension legislation will severely affect the amount of general use revenues the Village will able to collect from the State.