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updated: 11/2/2011 6:10 AM

Carpentersville moves to review future laws without sunset provision

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Although a proposal to apply expiration dates to future Carpentersville ordinances didn't pan out, the village board, on Tuesday night, decided to put an automatic review process in place for future laws -- but without the sunset provision.

The board directed Village Attorney James Rhodes to draft legislation on the matter that it will consider at a future board meeting.

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This was a compromise to Trustee Doug Marks' proposal that the board approve a sunset clause -- where laws would expire if not reviewed every few years -- for all of the laws it would pass after enacting such a clause.

Marks said he was not disappointed with the change in events.

"I'm happy that we're actually moving forward with something that's proactive, rather than reactive," Marks said.

As part of Marks' proposal, trustees would have reviewed new laws and recommended changes to them after three years. Laws that weren't reviewed would have disappeared from the books.

Marks said it was a way to keep the laws fresh and relevant. But other trustees balked at the human error factor. Village President Ed Ritter expressed concern that someone could forget to tag a law for review, which would lead to its automatic expiration.

"The sunset scares me because I really think we could screw up," Ritter said.

It has not been decided who would review the ordinances: staff, trustees, a separate committee, or a combination of all three bodies.

The timeline for review is also up in the air.

Marks proposed three years, while Ritter suggested a four-year window to give trustees a chance to look at the laws they'd personally handled. It also hasn't been determined how certain laws would take precedence over others during the review stage.

Legal fees would enter the equation if the board decided to change something in the existing law and needed Rhodes to review their ideas. Simply rewriting laws based on what other municipalities have done is not enough, Rhodes said.

"There's a lot of towns that, quite frankly, don't listen to their attorneys," Rhodes said.

Meanwhile, Marks' suggestion that all of the village's 2,500 ordinances should "sunset" didn't go anywhere.

Village Manager J. Mark Rooney said staff would need to review between 30 and 40 ordinances a month to keep up with Marks' three-year timeline.

"I know we couldn't do that and do anything else at a board level," Rooney said.

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