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Local News

Auditor gives Minooka positive feedback; officials need more time to consider I-80 toll idea

Minooka on Thursday, April 19, 2018.
Minooka on Thursday, April 19, 2018.

A recent audit shows the village is in stable financial health, auditor Brian Zabel of Zabel and Associates, Morris said

Zabel reviewed the financial statements Minooka Financial Director John Harrington provided and offered his opinion to the board Tuesday night.

The village’s net financial position increased by over $1 million during the fiscal year, their cash position increased by almost $2 million and the net pension liability decreased during the year.

“(This) means you are getting your police pension and IMRF continually funded,” Zabel said.

The village has also continued to pay down bonds, which have decreased by about $1 million during the year.

Zabel highlighted the police pension fund, which Trustee Barry Thompson requested. In terms of funding progress, the audit shows Minooka increased its funding level from 61.4 percent to 70.29 percent in four years of funding.

Minooka's actuaries dictate IMRF funding, and the amount the village funded this year has put it over 100 percent funded.

In an unrelated matter, Village Administrator Dan Duffy announced the Insurance Service Office has upgraded the village to Class I.

The rating is based on staffing of the fire protection district, training, apparatus and equipment, fire prevention, inspections and deployment response. The village’s water system also factors into the rating, including the fire protection water supply, maintenance and fire hydrant location.

Minooka’s dispatching system, Wescom, was also considered for its communication capabilities. Only 19 communities in Illinois and 241 in the country qualify for Class I, Duffy said.

The high rating means residents can get a better rate on home insurance because of good procedures and response time in emergencies.

“(Fire) Chief (Al) Yancey worked hard on getting that ISO rating along with Ryan Anderson (Superintendent of Public Works), to make that happen,” Duffy said.

Village's support of tollway questioned

During the public forum, Minooka resident Curt Jebbins asked if the village board planned to support turning Interstate 80 into a tollway between Minooka and New Lenox.

Minooka Mayor Pat Brennan and Duffy attended a meeting in September for the I-80 Tollway Coalition, whose purpose is to hasten plans to improve I-80.

“What they said there was that if you want I-80 fixed, by the time we wait for IDOT it’s going to be 24 years,” Brennan said. “The tollway people said they could do it in three or four years. So that’s all that was discussed.”

Jebbins said he just wanted clarification on how the board feels about the subject. He said he was against having to pay a toll on a daily basis on I-80.

After several minutes of discussion with Jebbins, Brennan said, “We really haven’t discussed it at all.”

Two new restaurants to open

Two new Minooka restaurants received approvals on liquor license requests.

Los Campesinos Mexican Grill, located near the Dunkin Donuts on Ridge Road near I-80, received a Class A2 license for indoor dining. They will open soon, Duffy said.

Wings, Etc., on Bob Blair Road, received Class A and a Class G for outdoor dining and liquor and is planning to open in January.

Halloween parade and bonfire

Minooka’s Halloween parade kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday and will take the usual parade route through downtown and the older section of Minooka. A bonfire will begin at 6 p.m. at the Lakewood ballfield on Ridge Road and Misty Creek Drive, and, weather permitting, a movie will be shown.

Safer Streets

Four streets will receive upgrades to street lighting with the approval of light poles from Lighting Solutions at a cost of $24,208.

While all four roads have lights, the extension poles and brighter illumination will provide for a safer street Brennan said.

Those getting upgrades are Menominee Drive, Heritage Drive, Mondamin Street and St. Mary’s Street.

Tree grant received

Anderson applied for and received an $8,000 grant for a tree survey program through the Morton Arboretum. The village can apply for money for tree purchases through the arboretum.

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