By Ted Schnell • BocaJump
The Elgin City Council voted Wednesday to merge four boards into two as part of an effort recommended by Mayor David Kaptain to make the panels’ work more efficient with respect to cultural/entertain matters and the city’s parks and recreation facilities.
The City Council approved two ordinances, one for each merger. The first will merge The Centre Advisory Board into the Elgin Parks and Recreation Board; the second will merge the Hemmens Advisory Board into the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission.
There is no cost associated with the mergers, according to city staff.
Assistant City Manager Rick Kozal said Monday the move would bring greater efficiency to the two remaining boards, and it would mean greater relevance for the people sitting on the boards.
According to the city’s staff report on the issue, Elgin has had its Parks and Recreation Board for years that has provided advice and recommendations to the City Council with respect to the city’s parks and recreation facilities and operations. The Centre Advisory Board was created in 2004 to make recommendations to the council specific to the programs and operations of that facility.
Mayor Kaptain recently suggested merging two.
The city’s operational analysis notes that the Parks and Recreation Board has eight members, but three seats are vacant – one the result of a member’s term expiring in May. In addition, two youth seats on the board have been vacant for some time.
The Centre Advisory Board also has eight members, five of whose terms expired July 1. In addition, the ex officio City Council member’s seat was left vacant when Mike Warren was defeated in the April election. Parks Director Randy Reopelle has advised that two Centre Advisory Board members are interested in continuing to serve and would wish to be considered for appointment on the Elgin Parks and Recreation Board.
Under the ordinance, the merged board would remain at eight members, but the city staff has recommended the elimination of the two youth seats given the difficulty in keeping such positions filled.
The second ordinance, also proposed by Mayor Kaptain, would fold the Hemmens Advisory Board into the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission.
The city created the nine-member Hemmens panel in 1979 to make recommendations to the council about the operation of and activities at Hemmens Cultural Center. There are two vacancies on the board – three if you include Councilman John Steffen, whose term as an ex officio member to that board expired May 1.
Four of the five remaining Hemmens panelists have indicated a willingness to serve on the combined board.
The 10-member Elgin Cultural Arts Commission was not created until 1991. Its powers and duties include providing recommendations to the city council for the provision of an environment in which cultural arts would flourish within the city and making recommendations to develop arts and cultural programs directed at various groups within the city. There are no vacancies on the board.
The staff is recommending the city temporarily increase the size of the combined board to 14 members plus an ex official member from the council. The number of board members would drop to 10 in 2015 as terms expire.