Mayor Krajewski called the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Village Hall.
Present:Mayor Brian Krajewski; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, Thomas Sisul, Michael Gilbert, Sue McConnell, Martin Tully, Mark Zabloudil; Village Manager Riccardo Ginex; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Visitors: Press: Colt Foutz, The Sun; Kevin Stahr, Reporter Residents & Others in Attendance: Bob & Diane Harke, 1500 Virginia; Matt Poleski, Isabelle Restaurant, 5139 Main; Marilyn Gerloff, 4241 Highland; Michael & Frances Kubes, 5538 Lyman; Dan & Joan Anderson, 5808 Bunning Dr.; John Ghan, 5820 Bunning Dr.; Ron Sandack, 4833 Linscott; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore; Dave Tatterson, 1240 Gilbert Staff: Susan Brassfield, Grants Coordinator; Jack Bajor, Director, Public Works; Amanda Browne, Planner; Mike Baker, Assistant to the Village Manager; Liangfu Wu, Director, Information Services; Dave Van Vooren, Deputy Village Manager, Administration
Mayor Krajewski explained that Council Workshop meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are video taped live and for later cable cast over cable channel 6.
The Workshop meeting is intended to provide Council and the public with an appropriate forum for informal discussion of any items intended for future Council consideration or just for general information. No formal action is taken at Workshop meetings.
The public is invited to attend and encouraged to comment or ask questions in an informal manner on any of the items being discussed or on any other subject. The agenda is created to provide a guideline for discussion.
Revenue Workshop. Manager Ginex asked Deputy Manager Van Vooren to present the report.
Deputy Manager Dave Van Vooren said the budget team consisted of Manager Ginex, Trisha Steele, Mike Baker, and himself. They have met for about six weeks to prepare groundwork with regard to the budget for 2003-2004. He updated the Council regarding work completed to date.
Mr. Van Vooren then revisited and discussed Tables #1 and #2, which had been previously presented to the Council. These tables outline the existing revenue situation for 2002-2003 with an estimate that they will be about $2 million below the revenue estimated for 2002-2003. This will result in a $1.7 million deficit in the budget that will have to be funded by cash on hand. Table #2 highlights items discussed for the tax levy that will have to be included either as expenses or removed as decreases in services. Salaries, vehicle replacement, contract renewals, CAD purchases, are some of the items included in the expenses. He said adding these to the shortfalls will result in a deficit of about $4.5 million.
Mr. Van Vooren said the team would like further direction to look at revenue sources outside of property taxes. He said that the property tax changes results in about a $205,000 revenue increase, however that still leaves a good-sized shortfall.
The Mayor clarified that the $4.5 million shortfall would be if the revenues would be the same as this year and Mr. Van Vooren agreed. The Mayor said that the plan for the municipal facilities can be put off for another year in his opinion.
Mr. Van Vooren said the budget team anticipated that the budget request will be between $38 and $39 million, and the team believes that can be brought down to $37 million or slightly less, while still providing satisfactory services. He said the department directors will be asked to tighten their budget estimates even further.
Mr. Van Vooren discussed items shown on Table 3 some of which are problematic, such as the sales and telecommunications tax, since the Village is at the mercy of the State for collection. Changes can be made January 1 or July 1, and those changes have to be to the State by the end of March for the July deadline; however, revenues would not be received until October. Other revenues were an increase in local utility taxes such as gas and electric tax, or an increase to the gasoline tax. Other sources include a stormwater utility fee, a food and beverage tax, vehicle stickers, or a real estate transfer tax that has to be approved by referendum. He said the budget team and director are seriously concerned about the situation, and the fact that the capital funds will probably end up the year with a negative balance and have no tax available to begin the 2003 construction season.
Mr. Van Vooren said that the Budget Team is committed to a balanced budget and have directed the department directors to look at every program they have. None of them feels the process is unimportant, and the directors have not put their budgets away for fifteen months, attempting to meet the budget requirements. He said the team needs input as to what direction the Council would like to take with regard to balancing the budget.
The Mayor said he thought this is half the picture, as they must decide whether or not to cut some services. If the services are kept, then additional revenue will have to be raised. He would say no to the home rule and the gas tax, as these could put businesses at a disadvantage. He said they could look at the telecommunications, electric and gas taxes as they are substantially lower as compared to surrounding communities. As for the utility tax on water, he would prefer to look at the rate for water instead of a tax. He thought the Village was one of the lowest in terms of the water rate. He would be in favor of the stormwater utility tax as it is user based. He would not be in favor of the beverage tax and vehicle stickers. The Mayor said he would also look more closely at the parking fund, as he did not know if all costs are captured there. He said the parking fund should also be user based. Concerning the water connections in unincorporated contaminated areas, he would suggest taking the connection costs and putting it into the capital fund on a one-time basis and defer the telecommunications tax.
Commissioner Schnell said that when the Public Works Facility building was constructed the Council was told that keeping the trucks/cars inside would extend the life of the trucks. She asked if the projections for replacement in the five-year plan were based on the old formula or one since the Public Works Facility was built. Mr. Van Vooren said the current replacement scheduled was not modified to his understanding. In meeting with Stan Balicki they did look at the life expectancy of the vehicles and raised it by one year. Most of the vehicles have between 5-10 year life expectancies. He said they can provide a complete schedule for each vehicle and how much is funded by each department. He explained that different vehicles have different life expectancies.
Commissioner Schnell said they need to have a more realistic schedule of replacement in light of the Public Works Facility and the heated garage for vehicle storage. She suggested that perhaps the amount for vehicle replacement could be reduced if they review the true life expectancy. Mr. Van Vooren said that is annually addressed by the maintenance garage director and the department heads, and they will provide that information to the Council. The Mayor said that the Council received a list of all the cars and the mileage. Mr. Van Vooren said there will be some maintenance costs incurred. Manager Ginex reiterated that all of the vehicles were deferred by one year. Mr. Van Vooren said that was correct and the funding level was also decreased.
The Mayor asked the Commissioner if she had any direction for staff as far as the revenues they could review. Commissioner Schnell responded that basically they should look at all of the services to determine whether they are efficiently provided and in the most cost-effective manner. The Mayor said he thought the staff would like more specific direction as to adding or cutting services.
Commissioner Tully said he wanted to discuss expenses, proposed revenue enhancements on Table 3, and potential additional revenue opportunities. Regarding expenses, they must be sure they have taken everything out of the budget that can be removed. He said they need a full array of options for deferrals, and a full array of services that can be reduced. Regarding vehicle replacement, he asked whether the $700,000 needs to be spent all at once in one budget period, or if it can be phased in to address the most needy vehicles. He recommended developing a matrix of the vehicles, so as to reduce the figure substantially.
Mr. Van Vooren said that the Village has been funding the vehicle replacement fund at a cost of about $900,000 per year for the past three years, and there is probably in excess of $5 million worth of rolling stock. To reduce the cost by half or 1/3 means they would have to extend the vehicles on the schedule to increase their usefulness. He said he thinks the team can come up with worthwhile comments; however, he repeated that for the past three years the Village has been purchasing about $900,000 to $1 million in rolling stock. He said they may have to look at smaller vehicles in the future and more innovative ways to reduce costs.
Commissioner Tully asked about the $125,000 for planning for municipal facilities and what it includes. Mr. Van Vooren said it comprises $50,000 for fire station improvements and $75,000 for Village Hall improvements.
Commissioner Tully said he would want to see the property tax kept at the current rate. He would be willing to look at the telecommunications tax but would like additional information. He would also be willing to look at the increase to electric and natural gas tax to be competitive with other communities. He does not, however, support a home rule or gasoline tax. Concerning the utility tax on water, he thought a better approach would be to look at the rate instead. In terms of the stormwater utility fee, he thinks the Village should vigorously and quickly look into this for reasons other than just the present budgetary concerns. Commissioner Tully said he does not support a food and beverage tax or vehicle sticker taxes. He would be in favor of looking at a real estate transfer tax. Mr. Van Vooren confirmed that the transfer tax can only be done by referendum.
With regard to potential other revenue opportunities, Commissioner Tully said he is not certain that they have heard from all the departments as yet as to additional possibilities. In the stormwater department, fees have not been changed in a long time and there are probably other additional revenue opportunities available as well.
Commissioner Sisul said he supports the revenue enhancements recommended, and thinks the budget team has made very substantial cuts to this point. He thinks the Council has to be realistic about this in terms of what the expenses actually are and the basic services they need to provide. He is concerned because they are talking about basic services, as opposed to some of the traditional services that have been provided. In that regard the individual department budgets also have to be reviewed in terms of expenditures over and above service programs. Training has to be continued in the departments, but some of the other expenses might need review. He is concerned as to whether $700,000 is a realistic figure for the vehicle replacement.
Mr. Van Vooren reviewed how the replacement expenses were obtained, stating the budget team felt they were realistic figures.
Commissioner Sisul said he thinks the Council has been fair in terms of compensation in working with the staff when the money is available. He said that staff needs to be fair with the Council as well.
Commissioner Gilbert said he prefers to raise none of the taxes. In a business environment faced with this type of decision, typically they would fall back and recreate the model from scratch. He has advocated this for the past eight years. He believes they can run the Village with a $33 million budget rather than a $37 million if they choose to do so. He still feels that are expenses that can be eliminated. The only tax he feels strongly about is the stormwater utility fee as it is a growing problem and a fee structure should be put in place. He is not, however, ready to indicate that he is in favor in any tax increases although he said he is not sure that a local sales tax would be as detrimental as has been indicated. He would like to see the budgeting process start with a realistic number. He would prefer to look at the expenses before looking at the revenues to be raised.
The Mayor said he thought that is what the Council would do. Staff is asking that if the Council wants to come in at a $37 million budget, and the Council will have to decide how the budget will be met. He believes they can easily meet the $33 million.
Commissioner Gilbert said he would agree to the need for a stormwater utility fee of some sort. He is not as uncomfortable with the home rule sales tax as others are, and he does feel that the budget has to be approached differently from the expense side than it has been in the past.
Commissioner Zabloudil said he would be inclined to look at the user-based utility taxes as an option, although he would like to keep them below the other communities. He also agrees with deferring municipal building funds. He asked for identification of the CAD maintenance expenses as well. Commissioner Zabloudil added that they need to look at those taxes that can be measured and controlled to some degree. He is not in favor of raising property taxes at this time.
Commissioner Schnell said she is also in agreement with taking the $125,000 municipal facility funds out of the budget. Regarding raising the telecommunications and utility taxes, she is concerned that a lot of hope is placed on those increases bringing that much more money in. It will also put a strain on the businesses in the community. She suggests investigating the potential repercussions. She said she is not in favor of increases in the property tax or the sales tax, nor does she favor increases in the water taxes. The water taxes are supposed to go to the water fund, and not the general fund. Regarding the stormwater utility tax, she agrees that it should be explored, although it would not go into the general fund. Commissioner Schnell added that she would be opposed to a food and beverage or vehicle sticker tax. Her preference is to cut expenses wherever possible.
The Mayor said that they can balance the budget, but will have to make service cuts and decide which cuts have to be made.
Commissioner McConnell (via phone) noted that the budget team has worked very hard on this project, and that the budget of $33 million will be a challenge and will come with some pain. Regarding Table 2, she suggested looking at opportunities in the salary area, vehicle replacement and CAD maintenance. She agrees with removing the municipal facilities, with the exception of maintenance issues. Concerning potential revenues, she said there are an increasing number of residents in the Village with decreasing incomes, so her concern is to do what will minimally impact the residents. She opposes an increased property tax. Commissioner McConnell said the telecommunications tax has been underperforming already, so that will have to be studied. She has concerns about the natural gas and electric tax increases as well. As for home rule taxes, that needs additional exploration since it does not apply to most things that people need to buy on a daily basis. They need business community input in that regard. As for the water tax, she would be in favor of looking at the water rates as compared to other communities. She agrees with the stormwater user fee as well, and would not rule out the vehicle sticker tax with more information. Commissioner McConnell also would consider the real estate transfer fee for people leaving the Village, which might be a difficult process. In addition, she would consider some of the costs required in implementing fees.
The Mayor said that he did not think the increase gas tax rate would have much of an effect.
Commissioner Zabloudil suggested that staff take a hard look at various funds, as some costs may not be allocated properly. As for the home rule tax, he asked for an example of the cost for a $100 expenditure and its impact on the sale of the item.
Mayor Krajewski said that it seems every week some community is involved in discussions concerning raising taxes. It’s obvious the Council does not support raising the property tax, as well as some of the others suggested. Mr. Van Vooren said that staff provided the Council with charts reviewing the five-year history of costs. Regarding operating as a business, if a business cannot sell something it eliminates the cost of producing its goods. As the economy drops, however, the Village’s service levels go up. The Village cannot operate as a business because it does not provide a product other than service.
Plan Commission File 1084: Request to vacate the unnamed and unimproved right-of-way bounded by the properties with common addresses of 5808 and 5820 Bunning Drive.
Manager Ginex said that the Plan Commission made a unanimous recommendation to vacate the right-of-way for property bounded by 5808 and 5820 Bunning Drive. The petitioners have asked for the vacation and have maintained the property for a number of years. Originally the property was to be used as a west-bound exit for Bunning Drive. The utility companies have requested easements on this property.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked about the intended use of the property.
Amanda Browne , Village Planner, said she is not aware of an intended use. She said the right-of-way would be split down the middle between the two properties. If they chose to construct a garage or install a fence they could do that as long as it did not interfere with the easements.
Commissioner Zabloudil said that if there is a specific use, should there be a fee attached to it. Ms. Browne said that the property could not be sold as a separate lot, but would become the property of the individual petitioners. She added that obtaining the property would reduce the setback requirements for the petitioners.
Joan Anderson , 5808 Bunning, said they have no use proposed for the property other than to make it a bigger yard. This would add 33’ to each property.
Commissioner Tully asked why the request is coming in now since the petitioners have been maintaining the property all along. Ms. Anderson said they just haven’t gotten around to making the request until now.
Commissioner Schnell said that one of the benefits of this is that the property would be returned to the tax rolls.
Commissioner Sisul said he would support this petition.
The Mayor said that the Council needs to consider a policy regarding charging for vacations of property.
Commissioner Tully said he thinks it is time to change that policy especially under the current economy.
Ms. Anderson said that they have cleaned and maintained that lot for over 40 years. The Mayor said that they would not implement a change in this case.
SCI Browser Interface. The Manager asked Dr. Liangfu Wu, Director, Information Services, to address this matter.
Dr. Liangfu Wu , Director, Information Services, said the reasons for the upgrade are for better user interface, and without the upgrade the vendor will stop supporting the system.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked how much the Village is presently relying on the vendor currently, and if the upgrade is necessary. Dr. Wu said their support is “in case” something were to happen, and given the importance of the system they must have support from the vendor.
Deputy Village Manager Van Vooren said that for the past three years GEMS has had to support their payroll activities, and he anticipates they will need their continued support for year-end activities. If they have problems, it will occur at those times, not on a weekly basis. Those are the key components that need the support.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked about year-end basis support. Mr. Van Vooren said they have had conversations with the vendor. The vendor will not support the system without the upgrade.
Commissioner Gilbert said that Rolling Meadows just experienced a similar situation and will not be going with the browser upgrade because of lack of funding. He thinks they ought to take a chance on it and look at it in January or February.
Commissioner Sisul asked if it was correct that the funding for this is coming from a settlement with this company. Mr. Van Vooren said when the Village purchased the system, some components never functioned. This has already been expensed and is outstanding as a liability issue. The fiscal position will stay the same. This is part of a settlement issue to be discussed.
Commissioner Schnell said that this is a band-aid since staff will be looking at moving forward with something else. She asked about plans for a new system. Mr. Van Vooren said that the band-aid will allow them to operate the system indefinitely, as long as the upgrade is supported by GEM . He said that the Technology Commission believes it can complete the RFP process for completing a new system within a twelve-month cycle. Therefore, it could be as quickly as twelve months, and they could decide to risk not going with the upgrade. Commissioner Schnell asked for clarification that by investing the $34,000 for an upgrade they may be able to postpone a higher expenditure for a new system. Mr. Van Vooren said that would be correct. A new system would be a six-figure cost.
The Mayor said that he has been trying for 3-1/2 years to evaluate the SCI system and get staff to tell him what the situation is. The question he’s asked was whether the problem was training of staff, or was the system simply garbage. Staff was decentralized and the system has created a lot more work for everyone. Ultimately he thinks they need to get a system that is user friendly for the staff. As far as the upgrade, this would keep the system going for a year. However, he said a way has to be found to eliminate the staff having to fight with the accounting system.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked for a report as to the real issues. Mr. Van Vooren said he would look into it.
Commissioner Tully said he initially agreed with Commissioner Gilbert in taking a risk and putting this off, until he read that this is a budget neutral component of a dispute resolution, so he is all right with this.
Commissioner McConnell said because it is part of the settlement, she would be in favor of moving forward with it to allow the Village more time to investigate a different system.
Amendment to the Liquor Ordinance. The Manager said this concerns advertising and promotions, especially during the holiday season. Staff wanted to clarify the Village’s position and the Legal Department has prepared language for licensees to use that mirrors the state statute.
Commissioner Zabloudil complimented the Liquor Commission for their work in getting the wording on this clarified.
Commissioner Tully asked whether the Liquor Commission considered this amendment, and whether the potentially impacted licensees have been consulted for input. He asked if that would be appropriate.
Attorney Petrarca said that the Liquor Commission members did review the amendment as it was e-mailed to them for comments, and they were polled. In regard to having the licensees review it, she noted that nothing has been changed to the Ordinance, merely clarified for easier understanding, to specify the type of advertising that can be used.
Commissioner McConnell encouraged the staff to follow the normal processes whenever possible, and wanted clarification that nothing specific directed these changes, but it was merely to clarify the language. Attorney Petrarca said that was correct.
Mayor Krajewski said that the intent is to mirror the State Statute. He said there have been some requests for exceptions to modify hours during the holidays, and he has denied those.
Snow Plan Presentation. The Manager asked Bob Schiller, Assistant Director for Operations, Public Works, to address this item.
Bob Schiller , Assistant Director for Operations, Public Works, said that the snow and ice removal is one of the single-most visible services provided to residents of the community. The goal is to make every effort to clear all primary roadways in the driving lanes within 12 hours after the storm’s completion, and cul de sacs and dead-ends within 18 hours of storm completion. Mr. Schiller said they have reduced the number of routes from 13 to 12, due to staff reassignment of positions. Also, they have lost the contractual plowing in some of the townhouse areas, adding 2.3 additional center lane miles back into the program. Further, due to the annexation of Downers Grove Estates, Public Works is responsible for another 2.8 center line miles. He reviewed the general policy, noting that they have reduced the purchase of salt to meet budget requirements and will watch salt use carefully. Fleet maintenance is an added concern as there were several breakdowns today. He said there are 166 lane miles.
Mayor Krajewski clarified that the Village goal is to have all primary and secondary streets clear within 12 hours after the last snowfall, with all cul-de-sacs and dead ends cleared within 18 hours of the storm’s end. He said those goals were met last year. He further noted that not all of the roads within the Village are controlled by the Village. The County and State are responsible for other roads. The Mayor then referred to cars parked on the street, as well as private parties plowing their snow into the Village streets, and what procedures would be followed.
Manager Ginex said that Public Works works closely with the Police Department to contact owners of the parked cars or ticket them if not moved, and citations are issued to people putting snow onto the streets illegally. Mr. Schiller verified that those were the procedures followed. He noted that it is very difficult to maneuver around the cars. Typically, they can get 70% more work done during the night than the day, also because of less cars parked on the street.
Commissioner Schnell said that streets were very well done today and complimented the department on their efforts.
Commissioner Sisul mentioned that the staff also has to deal with main breaks, stating that 15 breaks have already occurred since October of this year. Mr. Schiller responded that the air temperature has been colder than normal causing the ground to shift slightly. In addition, if there is a rapid reduction in the lake water temperature causing the pipes to contract and break. Several years ago they had 46 main breaks, 22 inside of one month. It has been a busy year so far for main breaks.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked if there were any changes in the policy from last year. Mr. Schiller said that the only modification has been in the cul de sacs and dead ends, moving from 16 hours to 18 hours. Also they went from 1” to 1.5” of snow before they begin to plow. It depends upon the general temperature conditions. Routes have also been reduced from 13 to 12.
Commissioner Zabloudil recommended that the Council go out with the crews if they can to better appreciate the effort of the Department.
Commissioner McConnell said that this is a program that they do a good job on. She noted that a few years ago staff moved to a 12-hour shift as well. She thanked staff for putting these policies into action.
Christine Fregeau , 1918 Elmore Avenue, encouraged residents to be good neighbors during snowy conditions. She recommended putting information into the Village Corner and the Newsletters encouraging people to implement the Good Samaritan act.
The Mayor recommended running the information on the Cable TV network as well.
Grant Agreement from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Community Affairs supporting a Search and Rescue Dog Program. The Manager said this was sponsored by Senator Tom Walsh in the amount of $67,000 for the start up of a Fire Department Search & Rescue Dog Program. He said the majority of the cost is borne during the first year of implementation, with expected annual costs of $8,700 to maintain the program. This will enhance capabilities to locate victims who may become trapped, and may assist other agencies as well.
Commissioner Tully said this is a wonderful asset. He noted that the difference between the budgeted cost of $75,200, and the grant amount of $67,000 is $8,250. He asked how will this be made up.
Fire Chief Phil Ruscetti said they will try to do this as part of the operating costs. Volunteerism will be part of the program as well.
Sue Brassfield , Grants Coordinator, said that $15,000 is currently budgeted and that will be reallocated.
Commissioner Gilbert asked about the ongoing costs for this program, including vehicle maintenance and replacement. He asked for an explanation of the figure. Chief Ruscetti said that because of the nature of the vehicle, they expect it would last longer and the resale value would be higher. Commissioner Gilbert then asked where the maintenance and gasoline costs are coming from. Chief Ruscetti said they had originally submitted $9,750 for vehicle maintenance. Since there was some discrepancy and misunderstanding regarding the costs involved, Chief Ruscetti said he would obtain that information and report back to the Council. He said that they would attempt to do training on regular hours.
Commissioner Gilbert said the estimated costs of $15,000-$20,000 a year could be used in other areas right now, as the grant does not offset the expenses. He inquired as to the last time they had an event occur when the dog would have made a difference. Chief Ruscetti said this is not based on that. The Fire Department is open to new opportunities. There are new challenges to the Fire Departments. When 911 hit the Village’s Department was prepared because of the things they were allowed to learn over the years. When the opportunity was presented to obtain the dog through the grant, they jumped at the opportunity. Many departments throughout the State copy the Village daily. It is difficult to take the first step. He noted that we are still at war, and they want to be prepared. The $15,000 will be found and to throw out the dog program because of the budget would be bad.
Commissioner Gilbert said that the vehicle is used for one purpose only. He asked if they spoke with any other towns about co-funding the annual expenses.
Firefighter Bob Dode said that many departments watch what the Village does, and they expect the Village to work out the bugs. He said this is another tool for the Village Fire Department. They are waiting for other towns to see if they can get help.
Commissioner Gilbert said the Village does not have the money to do this, and the State does not have the money to be giving out $67,000. He said they would use this once in a blue moon, and if other communities would use it they should help the fund.
The Mayor said there’s another grant program for arson dogs that they’re trying to reallocate to CAD .
Commissioner Zabloudil suggested identifying the true operating costs.
The Mayor asked whether the Police Department would be able to use the canine vehicle when theirs is in for maintenance. Chief Ruscetti said the vehicles would be compatible. He has been in contact with the Police Department as well.
Commissioner McConnell said her questions concern the ongoing costs. She asked to clarify that they would be purchasing an additional vehicle to increase the Fire Department vehicles by one. Chief Ruscetti said that was correct. It will be a new vehicle. When the old paramedics vehicle (Utility 3) is out of use it will not be replaced. It does have a number of years left on it.
Commissioner McConnell said it makes a difference to her that at some point in time they will not be adding another vehicle to the process. Also the vehicle maintenance costs did not make sense to her in terms of where the funds would come from. Chief Ruscetti said that information would be provided.
Licensing Ordinance. The Manager said this specifically concerns tree removal, taxi licenses and amusement licenses. The current tree removal license fee is $10 per year. Staff recommends an increase to $40 per year. Taxi licenses are $15 for a two-year license. Staff recommends increasing that fee to $50 for two-year licenses. Amusement license fees for theatrical or musical performances, or for psychic readers would increase from $100 to $500 per year since this involved thorough background checks for the applicants. Manager Ginex said this also includes clarification of the appeals process.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked whether this includes non-profit organizations in relation to the amusement license.
Village Clerk April Holden said that non-profits are exempt.
Commissioner Tully asked if the taxi companies would be notifying the Council for fare increases as a result of this. Ms. Holden said this affects the drivers and not the companies. The Commissioner recommended giving advance notice to the taxi companies as to the fee increase.
Commissioner McConnell commented about some of the technical changes in the Ordinance.
Boundary Agreement. The Manager said the old boundary agreement expired in 2001. This revises the 1984 agreement with no changes.
Commissioner Sisul asked about the termination or expiration of a boundary agreement. Attorney Petrarca said it is a State law establishing 20-year terms.
The Mayor said this expired in January 2001 and at that time they chose to wait until the contamination issue of an unincorporated area was cleared up.
Manager Ginex said in negotiations with the Water Commission, the specific area had been stipulated and broken down into the Woodridge and Downers Grove areas. Woodridge will be taking care of the infrastructure for their area.
Commissioner Tully asked if there was any further reason to defer this, and Manager Ginex said there was no reason to defer at this time. He said that the Village would not be responsible for the infrastructure. Woodridge has applied for a state grant. Attorney Petrarca said that the Village of Woodridge has requested that this be finalized now. The Village is not responsible for Suburban Estates.
Verizon Wireless Contract. The Manager said this contract is part of the public safety system replacement project. It will provide both the Police and Fire Departments with the ability to use mobile data computers in the field. The costs are built into the system and previously budgeted. They are asking to waive the one-week waiting period on this item.
Commissioner Sisul moved to waive the one-week waiting period to discuss new business. Commissioner Gilbert seconded the Motion.
AYES :Commissioners Sisul, Gilbert, Zabloudil, Tully, McConnell, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski NAYS :None
The Motion to waive carried.
This will authorize an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Verizon Wireless to provide wireless packet data services in relation to the Police Department’s CAD system.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND VERIZON WIRELESS
RESOLUTION 2002 -98
Commissioner Sisul moved to authorize a contract with Verizon Wireless. Commissioner Gilbert seconded the Motion.
AYES :Commissioners Sisul, Gilbert, Zabloudil, Tully, McConnell, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski NAYS :None
The Motion carried.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
Public Services Committee
Commissioner Tully said Public Services Committee met this evening regarding the stormwater budget recommendations. The issues discussed included recommendations for additional staffing, and budget recommendation to enhance revenue to be directed toward stormwater system maintenance and operations. There was a review of current fees including comparison of what other communities charge, and what the commensurate costs are and whether the fees are appropriate to the costs. There will be a recommendation of reviewing the fees and potential increases. Another portion of the meeting discussed the propriety of a stormwater utility. The concept is much like that of a water utility or sanitary district based upon a fee charged on the property owner’s use of the system. It is a user-based fee that would create funds going toward the maintenance, operation and personnel for the system. Commissioner Tully said the two recommendations were 1) that the Council should consider at a Workshop session a revision of the existing stormwater inspection fees; and 2) Council should explore the potential implementation of a stormwater utility in the Village of Downers Grove.
MANAGER ’S REPORT
Manager Ginex wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Attorney Petrarca said she was presenting seven items to the Council: 1) An ordinance vacating a certain portion of a public right-of-way in the Village of Downers Grove (an unnamed right-of-way bounded by 5808 & 5820 Bunning Drive); 2) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Government E-Management solutions, Inc. (GEMS); 3) An ordinance amending the liquor control ordinance; 4) A resolution authorizing submittal of grant agreement application to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA) (Search & Rescue Dog Program); 5) An ordinance amending certain licensing provisions; 6) An ordinance amending taxicab driver license fees; and 7) A resolution authorizing execution of a boundary line agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Village of Woodridge.
Diane Harke, 1500 Virginia, described what she called “a horrendous experience” she had with a stormwater permit for a patio. She distributed information to the Council regarding the amount of time it took her to get the permit. She said she felt like she was battling the system throughout the entire process. She wanted the Village Council to understand how difficult a process this was for a Village resident, and she felt all along that the Village was trying to find something wrong with her plan. It should not be this way. She said the website information on the process is not current to enable the resident to anticipate fees properly. She also said they need a formal written application process explaining the steps involved. Ms. Harke said she was treated very poorly at the Public Works department, and they provide poor customer service. She said it took eight weeks and one day for a backyard patio. Yet on October 8, Jack Bajor made a presentation regarding the stormwater process saying it took five weeks. She finds that estimate unrealistic. Ms. Harke said customer service was not acceptable from the Department. There were also a number of errors performed along the way by staff, and she would have thought some apology was appropriate, but nothing was said. In addition, she lives in the Burlington Highlands Subdivision which was incorporated in the early 1970s, and the stormsewers added in the late 1980s. According to the Public Works Department, they have no maps outlining the drainage in that area, and that concerns her. If Public Works does not know what is going on, how can the residents know.
The Mayor said the Village has had problems with stormwater, and the Village was put on probation twice due to lack of compliance in certain areas. He said that the Village does not require the U.S. Corps of Engineers in the stormwater permit process.
Ms. Harke said that the County issue was being used as a crutch to lean on by the staff. Her opinion is that the person in charge of stormwater at this time is not competent, based on her experience in dealing with the individual. The definition on the website for a special management area is that it be a floodplain or a designated wetland, and her property is neither a floodplain or a designated wetland. There is a swale area.
Commissioner Tully expressed his apologies that she had a less than satisfying experience. He explained that stormwater issues have been quite challenging on a number of different levels. They are attempting to get the staffing and resources in place so this type of situation does not occur again. He said it was unfortunate that her property was perceived to be in the wetland or floodplain area because it does affect the procedure. He suggested that staff look at updating the website.
Ms. Harke said that the residents applying could use a handout on the permitting process.
The Mayor announced that the Hospitality Day Parade will be held on Sunday at 1:00, and will be led by the Girls Volleyball team of Downers Grove South. Tree lighting will be at 4:30 p.m.
Commissioner Zabloudil wished everyone Happy Thanksgiving and reminded them to drive safely.
Commissioner Tully said he looked forward to seeing everyone December 1st for the Hospitality Day, and wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
Commissioner McConnell echoed the wishes for a Happy Holiday.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 9:08 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh