The Algonquin Township board approved transferring $15,000 from the town fund to legal services for the township clerk at its meeting Wednesday night.
Temporary Deputy Township Supervisor Darlene Lutzow said the budget for legal fees in Township Clerk Karen Lukasik’s budget has been used up for the year, which is why they needed to transfer the money into it.
The $15,000 is to pay for the current charges for this month, Lutzow said.
Trustee Rachael Lawrence said she is concerned because it seems like the board has had to approve transfers of appropriation for the clerk’s legal bills a lot in the past few months.
She said the board needs to discuss a method for dealing with the expenditures and frequent transfers.
Trustee Dave Chapman said this is where he was at as well with the issue.
The board discussed the township clerk’s legal representation in executive session, but no action was taken Wednesday night.
“I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to stem the avalanche of legal fees,” Lawrence said after the closed session. “I believe everyone on the board is interested in putting a swift resolution on this.”
The transfer was unanimously approved by the board.
Also at the meeting, Chapman asked for the board’s support to get a needs analysis of the Township bus service.
The expenses and income of the bus service will be published in the interest of transparency, he said.
“It’s my opinion, and I don’t speak for the rest of the board, but I believe that the need for services will be increasing, not decreasing, and we need to factor this in to any decisions that we make,” Chapman said. “Residents other than seniors, of course, use our buses as well, and we want to ensure that appropriate levels of service continue as needed.”
Chapman said one approach that is being investigated is partnering with PACE to see if the township could make use of a program where PACE provides them buses on a $100-a-month lease basis.
The program guidelines require recordkeeping, with the township taking on bus maintenance and driver training, along with drug/alcohol testing of the drivers.
No decision on this has been made, Chapman said, but if they were able to do this, the township could sell two of its buses.
Chapman said he has been in contact with TOIRMA, the township’s insurance agency, to clarify issues that he thinks were wrongly presented to previous boards of trustees. This led to the discontinuance of some of the opportunities that were previously provided, Chapman said. These are opportunities that residents he spoke to want to have back, he added.
Chapman also called for the board to look into creating a five-person senior resident committee. This committee would visit senior citizen groups in the township, attend their meetings and provide a survey of those residents to establish a baseline for the service.
“There’s a need for us to find out what services we provide that our residents may not know of,” he said. “I think that’s an important thing, especially when we’re talking about spending taxpayer dollars. We want to make sure we’re spending them wisely.”
When talking with a few groups of seniors, Chapman said, he found that they were disappointed to find out that the township had gotten rid of certain services.
Two people in the committee would be assigned to the Cary, Fox River Grove, Trout Valley and Port Barrington areas, one would be assigned to the Algonquin and Lake in the Hills areas, and two people would be assigned to the Crystal Lake and Lakewood areas.
Chapman’s plan is for the volunteers to serve for two years, meeting monthly to provide feedback and advice to the board. Chapman said he wants to do this as the senior population is expected to grow, with the baby boomer generation retiring at a high rate.