Wilmette, News

Board Notebook: Retiring officers celebrated; Wilmette bests ’22 revenue budget; nonpermitted residential work leads to fine

The Wilmette Village Board recognized on Tuesday, March 14, three retiring veteran Wilmette police officers and their nearly 90 years of combined service.

Deputy Chief Patrick Collins and Officers Julie Parisi and Kevin Kiddle were honored during the regular board meeting.

Collins became a Wilmette police officer in November 1992 and rose through the ranks over his 30 years with the department. He become deputy police chief in 2017.

Police Chief Kyle Murphy said Collins has contributed to the department in multiple ways over the years, but he made note of his work with Special Olympics, which the Wilmette Police Department has supported for more than 30 years.

“Pat will be the first to point to other department members, but it’s really Pat who’s responsible for spearheading our efforts into us becoming one of the highest-fundraising police agencies in the entire state of Illinois,” Murphy said. “Thanks to Pat, our efforts with the Special Olympics have become such a part of our culture here at the Police Department, that I know they will continue through the next several generations of officers.”

Parisi was only the third woman to become a Wilmette police officer, Murphy said, and at the time of her hiring in 1993, was the only female officer on the force.

Among her roles, she served as a patrol officer; traffic coordinator, where she managed the department’s crossing guard program and worked with the schools; and the department’s first school resource officer from 2009-2015.

“Julie really thrived in these positions, where she found herself connecting with the community,” Murphy said. “Her success was reflected in the many letters of appreciation she’s received over the years.”

Kiddle is a Wilmette native and New Trier High School alumnus who joined the Police Department in 1993 after serving in the U.S. Army.

In addition to patrol, he was a DARE officer, a bike patrol officer, and contributor to the department’s accreditation process during an assignment in research and development.

“When I think of Kevin, I think of professional, dependable, consistent,” Murphy said. “Kevin has served this community with integrity and honor, and he will be greatly missed.”

The police department also announced Tuesday promotions to deputy chief for Cmdrs. Michael Robinson and Michael Clark.

Village outpaces 2022 budget revenues, according to initial figures

Trustees also got a look Tuesday at preliminary financial data from the Village’s 2022 books.

The report was presented by Erik Halgren, assistant village manager, and finance director Melinda Molloy.

Molloy reported that the general fund revenues were $44.23 million, which is 22 percent greater than the budgeted amount of $36.25 million.

Staff attributed the gains to an increase in revenue sources including real estate transfer tax, which included the sale of both Edens Plaza and Plaza Del Lago to WS Management; and construction permits, including $836,000 for the Optima development and $157,000 for Regina Dominican.

Expenditures increased as well, but not by as much. Halgren reported costs reached $40.89 million, 5.6 percent greater than the budgeted amount of $38.73 million.

Expenditures included a 112 percent increase, or $2.1 million, in automotive expenses and expenses related to the Village’s Sesquicentennial celebration.

The Village’s reserves padded its reserves up to $19.8 million, which Halgren said staff is looking to spend down.

Trustee Kate Gjaja said she’s looking forward to figuring out how to spend the reserve money.

“I love having this problem,” she said, referencing having money to spend down. “It gives us a lot of ability to have great conversations about what we can do for our community as opposed to what we can’t do for our community.”

Board to fine homeowner for building without a permit

Much of the trustees’ time on Tuesday was spent discussing a private residence where construction work was done without a permit.

According to village documents, the petitioner for 917 Greenwood Ave. applied for two building permits to build one garage and add onto a second in April 2021, both of which were granted.

Combined, they make up 1,362 square feet of garage area.

In 2022, when an additional permit was applied for, “it was brought to staff’s attention that there could be two ways” of reading the code requirement of 800 square feet per garage and eventually determined that limit applies to total garage space, according to Village documents, so the petitioner is retroactively seeking a special use permit for the total amount of space.

Additionally, it was determined, according to documents, that a patio, grill island and wall had been constructed on the property without a permit.

The petitioner is seeking variations for the items constructed without a permit.

The Zoning Board of Appeals had previously recommended, on a 4-1 vote, granting the relief.

Much of the trustees’ debate centered on apparent confusion with which permits the work should and should not have needed, but they ultimately agreed that they did not want to deny the permits and force most of what had already been built to be demolished, instead opting to issue fines for not obtaining the permits.

“We’ve got just a whole bunch of weird, unfortunate things going on here,” Trustee Gina Kennedy said. “And it’s really hard … to parse out what the facts are, how much of it’s deliberate, how much of it’s accidental, who’s making the mistakes.”

An official vote on the matter was deferred to the next meeting on April 11 so proper documents could be prepared.

Road work contract approved

Trustees unanimously approved a $2 million contract with J.A. Johnson Paving Co., of Arlington Heights, for 2023 road work projects.

Village Engineer Dan Manis told trustees the final list of projects to be completed won’t be up for a vote until the next meeting on April 11, but he said the Engineering and Public Works Department is focused on roads that are rated in “serious” condition.

Currently, he said the goal is to get all the roads in Wilmette to at least a “fair” rating by 2026, and after that point work to achieve “good” conditions for all streets in the Village.

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Peter Kaspari

Peter Kaspari is a blogger and a freelance reporter. A 10-year veteran of journalism, he has written for newspapers in both Iowa and Illinois, including spending multiple years covering crime and courts. Most recently, he served as the editor for The Lake Forest Leader. Peter is also a longtime resident of Wilmette and New Trier High School alumnus.

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