Roscoe Village makes improvements and changes


A night view of Roscoe Village Hall

At the Aug. 16 Village of Roscoe meeting, deputy treasurer Steve Stromquist reported that the Village of Roscoe has $9,148,936 on hand in its general fund and $1,323,184 in its motor fuel (MFT) fund. which is used for road building. Stromquist said the Village's finances are in "pretty good shape," having already collected 78% of its expected revenues for the year. "Last year was a fantastic year for revenues." The Village is 2% under budget for 2022 at this point.

The board of trustees approved an amended Intergovernmental Agreement between the Stateline Mass Transit District, the Village of Rockton, the Village of Roscoe, and the City of South Beloit. From now on, the SMTD will be required to provide a ridership utilization report and annual financial report before the Village of Roscoe will pay their share of the SMTD budget.

The trustees agreed to accept bids for the 2022 MFT Streets Program for the reconstruction of 2nd Street from McCurry Road to its northern terminus. Normally, village rules require that each resolution receive two readings before being decided on, so that trustees can discuss it twice. But the trustees can vote to suspend those rules. In this case, Sanders said, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) had a "surprisingly prompt response" to the Village's request. In fact, they plan to start advertising the bid opportunity in two days. The vote was unanimous.

Busy building

Village Engineer Brandon Boggs gave updates on the village's capital building projects. He said they are waiting on FEMA for a hydraulic analysis for the design of the pedestrian bridge that will be crossing the South Kinnikinnick Creek near Main Street. The Village's plans for Willowbrook and Love Road received comments from the Illinois Tollway and now from IDOT. The Village is addressing these comments, and "once we receive approval," they will be able to move forward on these projects.

  • Shepherd Hills improvements received final approval and will go out to bid this week. 
  • For the Public Works lot, the bid opening will be on Aug. 26. Final changes in the plan included heavy duty pavement, increased landscaping on island, and 6 foot vinyl fencing around police storage.
  • The MFT project has received IDOT's full review and approval. The Village is just waiting for IDOT to formally sign the documents. The bid opening is scheduled for Aug 30.
  • For the residential streets project, the Village of Roscoe came in under budget. They had reserved some money to repair any soft spots, but there weren't any.
  • Porter Park is under construction. All of the sidewalk has been poured and a good portion of the concrete shoulder.The contractor Royer Asphalt should finish the curb this week, the paving late next week. Striping and restoration will be the final items. Royer is a division of Curran Contracting, who worked on Roscoe's streets.

PG Design + Build is inspecting the work and materials for the Public Works building. Geocon is doing soils and concrete testing. Most of the footing and foundation walls have been poured, and will likely be finished tomorrow or Thursday, Aug. 18. Contractors need to form up the foundation walls, then the building and utilities installation will follow.

Trustee Carol Gustafson asked about "the sewer to nowhere," meaning construction work being done in The Reserve development north of Rockton Road, a future subdivision which was pre-annexed into the Village of Roscoe years ago but not yet opened. Village Administrator Scott Sanders assured her that the developer pays the Village every time he wants to do any construction there, which has happened eight times so far. Each time, the Village has collected $1,500 for impact fees, which has gone to the schools.

Where have all the flowers gone?

During the public comment section of the meeting, usually there are no comments because there is no public at the meeting. But this week, Danita Miller had something to say. She told the board that when she moved to Indigo Place a few years ago, a nearby field at Prairie Rose was full of beautiful Queen Anne's lace flowers. But the next year, when they were about at bud stage, they were all mowed down. Miller said she recognizes why homeowners are required to mow their yards, but when it comes to that field, she said, "I wish they would change that law."

Village President Mark Szula responded gently, "We have an ordinance. And if we actually tweaked our ordinance" for every possible situation, that would be asking too much.

But Village Attorney Josef R. Kurlinkus replied, "We have sort of an exception for prairie lands," and in fact, Roscoe Township is working with the Natural Land Institute and the Village of Roscoe to restore tallgrass prairie at Founders Park nearby. However, Scott Sanders looked up the vacant field on WinGIS and told Miller that the owner is resuming development on that property, though it is expected to take multiple years.

Working remotely or remotely working

In the Committee of the Whole meeting which followed, the most contentious discussion was over the creation of remote work procedures for Village employees. In fact, the issue had already been brought up at a previous board meeting and had been sent back to the Committee of the Whole once before for further discussion. Sanders described the proposed policy as allowing employees to "work from home when it's doable." But several trustees, including Carol Gustafson, thought that working from home should be allowed on a "temporary" but not an "occasional" basis, and Gustafson introduced an amendment to that effect.

For example, several trustees said that a Village employee shouldn't work from home simply for the convenience of attending a family gathering. Trustee Michael Dunn asked, "Is this commonly done by government officials, in other municipalities?" If everyone is working from home, he asked, "Who unlocks the door?"

Sanders replied, "People work from home in other municipalities. I can't speak to [how common it is]." As usual, trustee Anthony Keene was participating in the meeting remotely, but didn't participate in the discussion.

Village President Mark Szula interjected, "We can debate this from now until...."

In the end, Gustafson's amendment failed, and the section allowing "occasional" remote work remained in the resolution. The resolution will come up again at the next board meeting.

How much should a garage sale cost?

Trustee Justin Plock proposed that the special event assembly fee for community garage sales be increased from $50 to $100, but that the additional fee should be removed that was to reimburse the Village for police expenses. The Village of Roscoe considers 25 participating (and advertising) households to be a community garage sale. Referring to the Chicory Ridge garage sale, Plock said, "It's one garage sale a year. I don't know why we're punishing them."

Gustafson said the Village's cost for police at the last Chicory Ridge garage sale was about $500. "Are we asking the rest of the Village to subsidize this retail event?" she asked. With 60 households participating, even a $500 fee would only amount to $7 per household.

"Police have to patrol anyway," replied Plock. "It's no different than any other time." Gustafson disagreed, but Plock's recommendation passed 4-2.

One-sided parking

Plock's next suggestion was to restrict trick-or-treat parking in Chicory Ridge to one side of the street. Police Chief Jamie Evans said that restriction has already been applied to the Chicory Ridge garage sale, so it could be extended for trick-or-treating.

Trustees said if necessary, trick-or-treat parking could be restricted in other neighborhoods out of concern for increased traffic since Roscoe decided to again schedule trick-or-treating on the Saturday before Halloween. But Chief Evans replied, "Sagewood would be your next biggest and there was no problem there" last October. Chicory Ridge saw unprecedented crowds of trick-or-treaters but most other neighborhoods had a fairly quiet Saturday night. "I'd love to use the park [in Chicory Ridge] as a parking lot," said Chief Evans. Plock later wondered if it would work even better if no parking at all was allowed on parts of Chicory Ridge Way that night.

On the subject of traffic, Culver's is making changes to improve traffic flow on North 2nd Street when entering and exiting from their Roscoe location. Sanders said, "We agreed on their new parking lot alignment, we approved the dumpster location, I need to ask the contractor about construction dates."

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