January 22, 2015 Meeting Minutes

  MINUTES
 

DRYCLEANER ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE TRUST FUND
COUNCIL of ILLINOIS

CHICAGO MARRIOTT NAPERVILLE
NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS

January 22, 2015

John Polak, chairperson, called the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Council of Illinois meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. A quorum was present. Roll call was taken with the following members present:

Daniel Kim
Paul Kwak
Jerry Lewicki
John Polak (via telephonic conference)

Also present were:

H. Patrick Eriksen, Program Administrator’s Office
John J. McCarthy, Program Counsel

Yong Kim, Program Administrator’s office

Mr. Polak noted since the Council did not have a quorum, the Council was unable to take a vote or official position on any agenda items.  He did want a general discussion of several agenda topics as they were informational only and did not require a Council vote.

PRELIMINARY BUSINESS

Approval of the December 3, 2014 minutes and the request to transfer remedial program benefits for Nissi Cleaners were deferred to the next Council meeting due to the lack of a quorum.

  OPERATIONAL ISSUES
  A. Cook County Site Inspections      
 

Mr. Eriksen noted Ms. Laneesha Givens from Cook County was in attendance to review and discuss with the Council their drycleaner inspection process.

Ms. Givens provided background information on Cook County’s inspection process noting it began in 1973.  Annually they try and inspect all active drycleaning facilities that use perc. Ms. Givens reported approximately 400 drycleaners were inspected in 2014. They inspections are conducted on behalf of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Cook County inspections focus on compliance with NESHAP regulations. This includes review of solvent purchase logs, equipment monitoring logs, and records on handling and disposal of hazardous waste.  Most violations entail not maintaining the required records onsite at the drycleaning facility.

Ms. Givens reported 2014 marked the first year Cook County assessed fines for regulation violations. Fines start at $300 per violation up to a maximum of $10,000 per violation. Most violations do not exceed $1,000 and the county will usually work with the drycleaner in reducing the dollar amount of the violation if they bring the appropriate documents showing they are in compliance to the administrative hearing. She noted corporations and LLCs must be represented by an attorney.

A general discussion ensued between the Council members in attendance and Ms. Givens. She estimated less than 20% of the drycleaners inspected received citations. Council members expressed concern that citations were being issued for records that had been submitted to the Trust Fund for licensing and/or insurance purposes. Ms. Givens noted their inspectors check to see if the drycleaner has a current license from the Fund.

Mr. Daniel Kim stated he would like the Fund to further explore sharing of inspection information with Cook County to reduce the number of inspections a drycleaner may receive in a single year. 

After additional discussion, Mr. Eriksen stated he would meet with Ms. Givens in the future to further discuss the possibility of sharing site inspection information between the two organizations.
  B. Legislative Update      
 

Mr. Eriksen reported Rep. Zalewski introduced HB0209 on January 15, 2015 on behalf of the Council.  The bill contains all of the legislative changes the Council approved at their August 28, 2014 strategic planning meeting.  The key provision of the bill is extending the program sunset date to June 30, 2030. The bill has not been assigned to a committee for debate at this time.

Mr. Chang Lee, representing the Chicagoland KADA, addressed the Council stating KADA opposes the extending the program sunset date without modifications to provide benefits to drycleaners who are currently paying into the Fund but are not receiving cleanup benefits.

Mr. Eriksen stated he would keep the Council updated on the status of this bill and any other legislation which is introduced during the legislative session that impacts the Fund or the drycleaning industry.
  APPROVAL OF PROGRAM BILLINGS
 

Approval of program billings was deferred due to a lack of a quorum.

  REVIEW OF MONTHLY ACTIVITY REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 

Mr. Eriksen reviewed the monthly activity report for December 31, 2014 noting 934 licenses were in effect at the end of the month. 505 active dry-cleaning facilities had pollution liability insurance coverage with the Fund and open claims totaled 193, with estimated reserves of $21.7 million.

The October 31, 2014 financial statements reflect a fund balance of $1,310,922. Year-to-date claim payments total $1,279,769.
  CLAIM PAYMENTS IN EXCESS OF $75,000
 

Mr. Eriksen noted the one claim payment request was deferred due to a lack of a quorum.

  OTHER ISSUES AS PRESENTED
 

The next Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 12, 2015.

Mr. Eriksen noted the fiscal year 2014 audit report should be released in the near future.

The Council’s appropriation request for FY16 totals $4,100,000. This a 24% reduction from the FY15 request and is the result of a shrinking fund balance.
  PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
 

Mr. Polak asked if there were any comments from the public. Mr. Lawerence Cohen requested the Council consider moving the regularly scheduled March 12th meeting to February in order to approve the remedial claim budget request that was deferred due to a lack of a quorum.

Mr. Chang Lee and Mr. Steve In of KADA further commented on why KADA is opposed to HB0209. They believe sunset date should be eliminated and the fund reimburse drycleaners for cleanup whenever contamination is discovered in the future without regard to participating in the insurance program. This would ensure all drycleaners paying into the fund could receive financial benefits from the fund if needed.
  CLOSED SESSION
 

There was no closed session discussion as the Council lacked a quorum.

There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 11:05 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

H Patrick Eriksen

Program Administrator
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