APRIL 23, 2015 Meeting Minutes

 

MINUTES
DRYCLEANER ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE TRUST FUND
COUNCIL of ILLINOIS

CHICAGO MARRIOTT NAPERVILLE
NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS

APRIL 23, 2015

John Polak, chairperson, called the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Council of Illinois meeting to order at 10:09 a.m. A quorum was present. Roll call was taken with the following members present:

Sung Kang
Young B. 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
Dr. Juho So, Program Administrator’s office
Yong Kim, Program Administrator’s office

PRELIMINARY BUSINESS

The minutes from the March 12, 2015 Council meeting were reviewed. On a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Young Kim, the Council approved the minutes by a vote of 5–0.

  OPERATIONAL ISSUES
 

A.

Legislative Update

 

Mr. Eriksen reported neither HB0209 (the Council’s bill to extend the Fund’s sunset date) nor HB3146 (which extends the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Task Force two (2) years) have been assigned to a committee for initial hearing.  House staff has questions about the bills and have indicated they will be in contact with the Administrator to discuss these bills.

Rep. Tryon’s two (2) “shell” bills, HB4064 and HB4067, which can be used during the legislative session to modify the Trust Fund Act, still reside in the Rules Committee.

Mr. Eriksen also referenced SB1804 (introduced by Senator Nybo) and HB3481 (introduced by Rep. Stewart). These are identical bills which would allow the Department of Revenue to adjust overpayments/underpayments of solvent taxes to the tax credit distributors receive for filing the required solvent tax return.

SB274 which contained additional fund sweeps does not impact the Fund. He will keep the Council updated on the status of these bills and any other legislation which is introduced during the legislative session that impacts the Fund or the drycleaning industry.
  B. Administrative Law Judge Contract      
 

Mr. Eriksen reviewed that Mr. Robert E. Wagner’s fiscal 2015 contract to provide Administrative Law Judge services to the Council expires June 30, 2015. His current contracted hourly rate is $300 and his contract was a one (1) year contract with total costs not to exceed $29,999. To date the Council has paid Mr. Wagner $8,676.68, which includes the invoice in the current Council packet.

Mr. Wagner was initially hired in fiscal year 2014 at an hourly rate of $300, which was a 33% discount from his standard hourly rate of $450 per hour. He has requested an increase for fiscal year 2016 to $325 per hour. This equates to 4.2% annual increase.

Mr. Eriksen commented that he and Mr. McCarthy are pleased with Mr. Wagner’s knowledge of the Trust Fund Act, regulations and insight into the issues presented at the administrative hearings. It is our recommendation to the Council to enter into a new contract with Mr. Wagner at the requested hourly rate of $325 for fiscal year 2016. The total amount of the contract shall not exceed $29,999.

Mr. McCarthy noted the amount spent to date for Mr. Wagner was associated solely with the H.H. Coleman appeals of civil penalties assessed for selling solvent to unlicensed drycleaners in the state.

On a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Young Kim, the Council approved the fiscal year 2016 contract for Mr. Wagner by a vote of 5-0.
  APPROVAL OF PROGRAM BILLINGS
 

Mr. Eriksen noted that there were four bills before the Council for their review and approval. They were as follows:

 

1. Williams & Company Consulting, Inc                               $68,029.00
Standard flat fee billing for March 2015, licensing, underwriting, claims processing and site inspections.

  2. John J McCarthy                                                                      $2,770.60
Professional Legal services for the period of March 1, 2015 through April 11, 2015.
  3. Hinshaw & Culbertson                                                          $3,768.86
Professional Legal Services for the month of February 2015 regarding HH Coleman administrative judge hearing.
  4. Hinshaw & Culbertson                                                          $682,67
Professional Legal Services for the month of March 2015 regarding HH Coleman administrative judge hearing.
 

On a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Kang, the Council approved the bills as presented by a vote of 5–0.

  REVIEW OF MONTHLY ACTIVITY REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 

Mr. Eriksen reviewed the monthly activity report for March 31, 2015 noting 794 licenses were in effect at the end of the month. That compared to 878 licensed as of March 31, 2014. 496 active dry-cleaning facilities had pollution liability insurance coverage with the Fund and open claims totaled 191, with estimated reserves of $21.3 million.  He noted approximately 81 claims have been released for full funding but only about 2/3rds of these claims are actively moving ahead with cleanup at this time.

The March 31, 2015 financial statements reflect a fund balance of $1,462,359. Year-to-date claim payments total $1,781,010.
  CLAIM PAYMENTS IN EXCESS OF $75,000
 

Mr. Eriksen noted there were three claim payment requests for Council review and approval.

 

A.

New Poly Cleaners, Oak Park, IL; Claim #50234, Site #0001931

   

Dr. So noted the Administrator is requesting budget approval of $224,300 for active remediation of the site. This was a site originally selected for a innovative technology pilot project that did not occur due to the innovative technology vendor’s lack of response. The site has high levels of soil contamination and the proposed remedial technology is chemical oxidation using chemical oxidant retention ponds. Cleanup should be completed within the $300,000 remedial benefits cap.

After discussion by the Council, on a motion by Mr. Young Kim and a second by Mr. Lewicki, the Council approved the $224,300 in site investigation costs and waiver of the two bid requirement by a vote of 5-0.
 

B.

Northview Cleaners, Chicago, IL; Claim #50591, Site #0002543

   

Dr. So noted the Administrator is requesting budget approval of $42,390 to complete an additional chemical oxidant injection, post remedial sampling and preparation of the RACR. Cleanup should be completed within the $300,000 remedial benefits cap.

After discussion by the Council, on a motion by Mr. Young Kim and a second by Mr. Kang, the Council approved the $42,390 in remediation costs by a vote of 5-0.
  C. Crystal Cleaners, Morton Grove, IL; Claim #50317, Site #0001879      
   

Dr. So reviewed background information noting this site requires an additional injection of chemical oxidant to address the remaining soil contamination that exceeds the cleanup requirement. The proposed cost of the injection along with post remedial sampling and preparation of the RACR is $43,750. Cleanup should be completed within the $300,000 remedial benefits cap.

After discussion by the Council, on a motion by Mr. Lewecki and a second by Mr. Kang, the Council approved the budget request of $43,750 by a vote of 5-0.
  OTHER ISSUES AS PRESENTED
 

The next Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 18, 2015.

Mr. Eriksen reported he and staff are to meet in the next week with representatives from the Illinois EPA to discuss how the Fund and IEPA can work together on site inspections. He will report the results of this meeting to the Council at the June 18th Council meeting.

Regarding site inspections, the Administrator referenced the email he sent to all Council members the previous week regarding the status of NDI site inspections along and recent correspondence received from NDI.
  PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
 

Mr. Polak asked if there were any comments from the public. Ms Heidi (Kang) Park informed the Council  that NDI was transferring their compliance program activities effective June 1, 2016 to an entity called Illinois Drycleaners Compliance Program. She indicated she did not have time to do the site inspections and NDI will be only a consulting firm to the drycleaning industry. Ms. Park commented drycleaners do not want to do the inspections when scheduled by NDI which has resulted in several of NDI’s inspectors to resign. The Council discussed at length general site inspection issues related to the Fund’s, IEPA’s, and Cook County’s inspections. By consensus the Council requested further discussion of site inspection issues be added to the next meeting’s agenda.

Mr. Kang asked the Administrator to provide a listing of claims released for funding that are not actively pursuing cleanup. Mr. Eriksen stated he would have the requested list at the next Council meeting.
  CLOSED SESSION
 

Mr. Eriksen noted there no issues for discussion in Closed Session. 

There being no further business, on a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Young Kim, the Council meeting adjourned at 11:49 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

H Patrick Eriksen

Program Administrator
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