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Village looks closely at Cook County’s new rules, focuses on businesses’ benefits

To protect the economic viability of Tinley Park, Village officials are opting out of requirements imposed by Cook County adopting new rules for sick leave and minimum wage, while adhering to state and federal laws.

At the Jan. 17 regular village board meeting, Board of Trustees unanimously voted to enact a set of village ordinances governing area businesses. A second reading for this measure was waived, allowing for a change in municipal code to take effect upon approval by the board of trustees.

“One of our challenges is part of our community is in Will County and Will County has a much more favorable climate for businesses in terms of property taxes,” said Village Manager David Niemeyer. “The property tax base puts businesses in Cook County at a disadvantage.”

In October 2016, Cook County adopted the “Earned Sick Leave” Ordiance. The ordinance—which takes after the city of Chicago’s effort allows employees to earn an hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked. Employees have the opportunity to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year, which equates to about five work days.

Using the county’s measure, employees are to see an increase in minimum wage, $10 by July 1 and $13 by 2019.

These measures will prevent the Village’s businesses from operating under two different sets of rules—one for which provides governance for owners in Will County and another for located in Cook.

Like a number of other municipalities in Cook County, Tinley Park is opting out of the new requirements. Barrington, Oak Forest and Rosemont have also followed Tinley’s suit.

Village officials discussed this matter at a committee level in November 2016.

Niemeyer said the board’s action at the regular meeting shows their commitment to area businesses.

“Businesses are very important to our taxpayers,” he said. “They’re a very pro-business board. We’re one of the leading business communities in the southwest suburbs.”

Landscaping plan for Panduit Pond approved

The Village of Tinley Park is looking to advance plans for its Panduit Legacy Pond project and hire a landscape architect. This project is part of an effort to enhance the downtown area.

In a 6-0 vote, officials voted to approve a professional services agreement for site design located at 175th Street and Ridgeland Avenue. A contract for professional services in the amount of $28,190 will be awarded to Robinson Engineering.

“I can say that we just met with some of the people from the Tinley Park High School, and they’re very pleased there will be a path around that pond for the students,” said Mayor David Seaman.

Board action on Dec. 20, 2016 allowed the Village to accept a donation in the amount of 8.3 acres of land from Panduit Corp.

Village Manager David Niemeyer said officials have worked with a local citizens group to lessen their concerns.

“One of the things we mentioned is a path around the pond,” he said. “They want some amenities [to help support the project]. The major purpose is detention for the downtown. We’re going to work on paths.

“As money generates, we’ll look to do other things. We’re looking to have some larger downtown projects. The Panduit would basically help revitalize and improve our downtown.”

Improvements to the plot of donated land are slated to add a multi-use pathway, landscape plantings around the perimeter, native plantings through the basin and slopes, one entry plaza and interpretive signage.

Video gaming approved at Dragon Palace

Also at the meeting, the Board of Trustees adopted an ordinance, which added one Class AV liquor/video license for Dragon Palace, a restaurant located at 7122 171st St.

The board’s approval increases the number of liquor/video licenses given to businesses to 12.

Trustee Michael Pannitto cast the lone dissenting vote.

“They’ve been a good business for us,” Niemeyer said. “Dragon Palace is a good business.”

Community Development Director Paula Wallrich said though signage appeared to be a problem the village was examining, that’s a non-issue in this instance.

“We already have existing sign regulations and we brought most of those in compliance,” she said. “There already was an amended sign regulation regarding wall signs. What we’re looking at right now in the Planning Commission is temporary signs… But, I think some of it was the enforcement in the past.”

The owners for Dragon Palace, Daniel and Lori Du, already have an existing liquor license and are looking to add video gaming. Their proposal shows they intend to continue their current operations, while adding video gaming in the former smoking section of the restaurant.

Pannitto said approving the measure wouldn’t have sit well with him.

“I am merely against the spread of gambling in our community,” he said.

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