Officials outline COVID-19 protocol at municipal center

By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

Union Grove officials have begun outlining efforts to slowly emerge from coronavirus restrictions with in-person government meetings and a reopening of the municipal building.

To strike a balance of maintaining social distancing and conducting municipal-related business in person, the Village Board on May 11 approved a plan to resume in-person meetings in June with an altered format in place.

For the foreseeable future, the Union Grove Village Board will meet the first and third Monday of the month, shifting away from their long-held practice of holding regular meetings the second and fourth Mondays.

Village Administrator Mike Hawes, who recommended the changes, said they will give the board the opportunity to conduct meetings in the more spacious lower-level community room, rather than the traditional gathering space in the upper floor of the facility that has less square footage and more cramped quarters.

Yorkville, which has long housed its municipal operations out of Union Grove’s facility, also holds its Village Board meetings the second and fourth Mondays, which prompted the shift in Union Grove’s meeting dates.

Hawes said he presented Union Grove decision-makers with his recommendations after conferring with his counterparts in Yorkville, including Michael McKinney, village administrator/clerk.

“I understand Yorkville will be holding most of its meetings at usual times, except for their long-range planning committee and sewer and water commission, which will be held on new days, starting in June,” Hawes said.

Plans call for Yorkville officials holding their municipal meetings in the same community room as Union Grove’s for the same social distancing reasons.

During deliberations at this week’s Village Board meeting, Union Grove officials expressed support for the new sets of plans.

“I think this sounds like a really good idea,” Trustee Gordon Svendsen said.

To ensure none of Union Grove’s meetings overlap with Yorkville’s, two standing committees — the Plan Commission, as well as the Water, Wastewater, Storm Water and Streets Committee — will be held on their normal days on the first and third Mondays, respectively, but at earlier times.

Trustee Jan Winget, who chairs the Plan Commission, expressed initial reservations of holding the monthly meeting before a regular Village Board meeting, depending what specifically is on commissioners’ agendas.

“If it’s going to be a two-hour meeting — that’s where it gets to be a little long,” Winget said.

While efforts to resume in-person meetings are in motion, Hawes said a virtual option alongside the traditional one also is being considered.

“We are making arrangements for all Union Grove meetings to continue to have a public call-in option, which will be available to accommodate any board/committee member or member of the public who wishes to join remotely,” Hawes said.

The municipal center, which has been closed to the public since mid-March, except for voting, could re-open late this month.

Hawes said contractors were at the municipal center recently to install partitions at areas the public could frequent, such as the service center, to ensure social distancing is observed.