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: Kevin Stahr, Downers Grove Reporter; Colt Foutz, The Sun Residents & Others in Attendance: Tourism & Events Commission: Dave Humphreys, Kathy Nybo, Dave Dahm, Paul Bleuher, Pam Marino; CAG – Water: Steve Dimpfl, 5509 Lomond; Liz Chaplin, 5623 Pershing; M.E. Murphy, 5824 Lee, Nancy Simpson, 5525 Elinor; Jim Lindberg, 5514 Lomond; Harold J. Schramm, 4031 Longmeadow; BFI : Steve Vogrin, 7121 Matthias Rd.; Richard Vandermolen, 5050 W. Lake, Melrose Park; John & Char Cramer, 42 Tower Rd; Andrew Clark, 1226-62nd St; Michael & Frances Kubes, 5538 Lyman; Shanon Tully, 4808 Cornell; Marilynn Gerloff, 4241 Highland; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore; Judy Sidrys, 5223 Lee Ave.; John Katzfey, 62 Tower Rd.; Ross Johnson, 1311 Gilbert; Barb Wysocki Chamber of Commerce; Bill & Judy Trout, 71 39th Street; Mary Winkler, 3901 Cumnor Rd.; Dream Interiors: Phil Cullen, Mike Wicks, Brian Wicks, K..E. Rehm; Dave Tatterson, 1240 Gilbert; Joel Mains, DGPFFA Local 3234, 5117 Main St. #19; William Waldack, 1409 Willard Pl.; Tony DeSimone, DG Motorsports, 216 Ogden Ave.; Gene Kent, 4030 West End Road Staff: Bob Schiller, Assistant Director, Public Works; Dorin Fera, PublicWorks, Traffic Manager; Amanda Browne, Planning Services; Mike Baker, Assistant to the Village Manager; Dave Van Vooren, Deputy Village Manager; Stan Balicki, Support Services Manager, Public Works; Mary Scalzetti, Director, Tourism & Events; Jack Bajor, Director, Public Works; Dan Grecco, Public Works
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.
Manager Ginex said that Item 12 would be removed from the agenda. Potentially it will be voted upon on February 21, and will be Workshopped the week prior. A Budget Workshop meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in the Committee Room.
Heritage Festival Budget. The Manager asked Mary Scalzetti to address this item.
Mary Scalzetti , Director, Tourism and Events Commission, said the Council has received the revised budget for the 2003 Heritage Festival. She addressed various line items. On the side of revenue, HF107 and 108 will be raising the sponsorship categories. HF202 represents the vendor fees, and those will be increased across the board based upon last year’s vendors.
HF301 , amusement ride revenues, has been increased to $120,000 with Astro Amusement. They are presently in negotiations for increase percentages.
HF307 represents the beer garden vendor, and they propose to increase the beer price by $.50, with a 60/40 split with the vendor. These revenues total an increase of $40,250.
Regarding expenses, Ms. Scalzetti said HG106 represents souvenirs, and the amount purchased will be decreased. HF205 refers to rental charges, and they anticipate a decrease in the cost of those rentals. HG303 will be cut $5,000 for bands and variety. Under HF305 , associated entertainment costs, will be tightened with a $1,000 decrease. Contracted attractions under HF307 have been reduced by $10,000 for the fireworks for one night of fireworks only instead of each night. HF503 refers to staffing, and there will be a potential savings there based upon some requests by groups to serve as volunteers. As a result of these adjustments, Ms. Scalzetti said they anticipate a savings of $62,600. She said the Events Subcommittee reviewed the budget line-by-line.
Commissioner Tully clarified that they have presented a budget, which represents a reduction in costs to the Village of about $62,000. He asked which night would be for fireworks, and Ms. Scalzetti said the grand finale would be good; however, weather will enter into that decision.
Commissioner McConnell asked about the transfer from other funds. Ms. Scalzetti said the staffing used to come out of the Hotel/Motel tax, and that is now part of the General Fund. Staffing includes Police, Fire, Public Works and staff working the Festival.
Commissioner Schnell thanked the Committee for working to cut the costs and save the Village money.
Commissioner Sisul also complimented the Committee on the hard work done and said this will be helpful to the Council.
The Mayor noted that the biggest factor in meeting these projections is the weather. The increase in sponsorship falls directly on the staff and Commission. As far as fireworks, he mentioned if they find a sponsor to underwrite the other nights that could provide the additional nights of fireworks.
The Mayor said he was at Kingsley School today. The Student Council asked what the Village Council meets on at their meetings. The students overwhelmingly asked that he tell the Council they wanted a Heritage Festival.
Kathy Nybo , 5253 Blodgett, a member of the Heritage Festival Committee, said that there were other numbers in the budget which were equally important and which would have an economic impact on the Village. She said that for some non-profit agencies, this is the only fund raising activity available to them. She added that hotels are also filled on that weekend. This impacts gas stations, restaurants, and local businesses as well, and it provides exposure to new and existing businesses. Ms. Nybo said she often meets people who recognize and associate Downers Grove with the Heritage Festival. She said she hoped that the economic impact on the Village as a whole is kept in consideration.
Dave Humphreys , 4221 Saratoga, Chairman of the Tourism and Events Commission, added that Heritage Festival is an opportunity for Downers Grove to celebrate its community and to have some fun, as well as being an economic engine for the community. Mr. Humphreys summarized the many economic advantages resultant from the Heritage Festival. He said the Festival has never been fully self-supporting. The Commission has worked very hard to decrease the out-of-pocket costs to the Village by 1/3. They intend to seek more sponsorship and emphasize individual contributions, as well as include an opportunity on the water billing for residents to contribute. Mr. Humphreys emphasized that Heritage Festival is only 148 days away.
Mayor Krajewski said that the Kingsley principal said he would call Ms. Scalzetti regarding their school band. Ms. Scalzetti said he already called.
Commissioner Gilbert said that the budget constraints are making it such that there are some difficult choices to be made. In view of that, it is important to remember what Heritage Festival is, and he hoped the citizens would contribute to it.
Mayor Krajewski added that the School Districts, Park Districts, etc., are looking for things for the 7th and 8th graders to do, and they would like to see more Heritage Festivals each year.
Colt Foutz , Sun Reporter, asked about the expense and revenue detail in the Manager’s Memo. Ms. Scalzetti said she would provide the current workshop handout, which shows the expected revenue detail for 2003.
Frances Kubes , 5538 Lyman, said that the word Heritage Festival represents community, as well as family. She said it was an important event for the community. She noted that local residents and businesses have helped raise funds for SEASPAR through Heritage Festival as well. She thanked Commissioner Tully and Mayor Krajewski for participating in the dunk tank.
Bid: Modular News Racks. The Manager asked Mike Baker to address this item.
Mike Baker , Assistant to the Village Manager, said this item would allow the Village to acquire equipment to install the news racks in nine locations of the Village. There would be eight locations in the downtown as well as one at the Fairview station. He explained that the racks would include. Mr. Baker said staff is working with the applicants and explaining their responsibilities toward maintenance and fees. Installation is anticipated for late March or early April.
Commissioner Schnell asked if this means there will be no other places in town where these racks can be placed, and Mr. Baker said that was correct. Commissioner Schnell asked how many people who presently have leaflets or newspapers have not contracted. Mr. Baker said he initially sent a mailing to 30 publishers, and 8 applicants have replied. They understand that this will be their only opportunity to use the racks. Commissioner Schnell said she was concerned with the legalities of removing the information.
Commissioner Tully asked whether the bid amount includes the installation. Mr. Baker said it is the cost of the equipment and transportation. Installation will be handled by the Public Works staff as there may be a concrete pad needed for installation in one or more locations. Commissioner Tully said that he understood the revenue associated with the licensing would at least match the cost of expenses. Mr. Baker responded that when the Ordinance was being prepared, staff listened to the concerns of the publishers, and one concern was that the costs of the units did not exceed the cost of the individual compartment they are purchasing. The costs to the publishers will equal the costs of the compartments themselves.
Mr. Baker said that the difference of $9,050 is caused by some of the units being vacant and not having all publishers responded yet. There will be ten vacant units and four surplus units. Mr. Tully asked about the ten extra units, and whether they could be installed when they become licensed. Mr. Baker said they must be installed at one time.
Marilynn Gerloff , 4241 Highland, said in July 2001 she discussed a May 23 Tribune article regarding proliferation of news boxes in business area. At that time there were 66 boxes in the Village, and she asked the Council to remove these eyesores. She reviewed what the Village and staff had done since that time, noting that the Council voted to approve an Ordinance on July 16, 2002. Ms. Gerloff reviewed numerous personnel changes since July 2001, but said there is still no new news rack. Ms. Gerloff said she was not sure if everyone in the Village was aware of the new Village Website category called 2003 Press Release, which has several items already. She is anxiously waiting to see an article saying “News Racks Installed.” Ms. Gerloff said it seems as though she is the only resident that finds it mind-boggling that it would take two years to implement this project.
The Mayor said it actually goes back to December 2000, which is even longer.
Plan Commission File #1086: Alley Vacation, south of Hobson Road. The Manager asked Amanda Browne to address this.
Amanda Browne , Village Planner, said that the right-of-way is unimproved for thoroughfare purposes but does have certain utilities within it. Ms. Browne said that the right-of-way would be divided equally down the center with 10’ on either side allocated to the individual property owners on either side of the right-of-way. Due to the nature of the easements, no buildings could be constructed in the area if it were vacated; however, a driveway, patio or fences could be installed as long as the utilities would have access. She said that the Plan Commission recommended unanimously for the proposed vacation.
Commissioner Zabloudil said there is apparently one lot to be improved there and asked whether the petitioner would be willing to regrade that property so it is at least aesthetically pleasing. Ms. Browne said that is due to the recent installation of the sanitary sewer, and the petitioner indicated he would regrade that area when the lot is developed.
Commissioner Tully said he appreciated the efforts of the petitioner to clean up the area at their own expense. He believes there should be a fundamental change in the Village’s policy with respect to vacation of property. He does not believe the Village should vacate land without some type of compensation and is not in favor of vacating land unless there are extraordinary circumstances. He explained that his opinion has nothing to do with this particular petitioner, but with the policy in general of land vacation.
The Mayor said he agreed with Commissioner Tully’s position and would like to see this brought to Workshop.
Commissioner Sisul asked if they are recommending that staff hold this vacation until further discussion.
Commissioner Zabloudil said he also agrees with Commissioner Tully and feels they need to establish a policy to assess the value of the property. He would support holding this until a decision has been made.
Commissioner Gilbert recommended holding this for a little while. This discussion has been raised for many years, particularly at the value of the individual right-of-ways. He would like to have a Workshop discussion on the matter before any further decision.
Commissioner Tully said the question is whether the policy will require some compensation, and then how to determine that compensation.
Commissioner Schnell said she had no problem with looking at the policy and changing it; however, this petition came before the Council without knowing about the Council’s intent. She said before the flag lot moratorium was established, flag lots were allowed that had already been requested, and she feels that should also occur in this case.
The Mayor asked whether a change of policy has been brought before the Plan Commission. Ms. Browne said that typically the issue of compensation does not arise. The Mayor said he would like the Plan Commission to be aware that the Council is considering this.
Commissioner Sisul said perhaps a moratorium is necessary.
Commissioner McConnell said she also supports letting this one continue through the process and then move ahead with a discussion on the policy change.
The Mayor asked the Village Attorney to prepare a moratorium for six months for vacations of right-of-way.
Commissioner Tully asked whether there is a policy in place that says if certain criteria are met, the land will be vacated with no compensation. Ms. Browne said that Mr. Rathje included that in the packet.
Village of Downers Grove and Chamber of Commerce Directory. Manager Ginex said that for the past 20 years the Village and Chamber has provided a directory to the community regarding departments, phone listings, businesses, etc. It is distributed to 25,000 residents and 2,500 businesses at a cost of $56,000, with the Village portion being $24,000.
Commissioner Tully said that the Village’s past practice has been to fund a portion of the directory, which has ancillary benefits for the community as a whole. He is in support of this.
2003 Transit Grant Agreement between the Suburban Bus Division of the Regional Transportation Authority (PACE) and the Village of Downers Grove. The Manager asked Stan Balicki to address this matter.
Stan Balicki , Public Works, said this is the third agreement the Village is entering into with PACE . The Village acts as an independent contractor to PACE , and they in turn provide 10% of the operating expenses of the system. The agreements have been one-year agreements in the past. Revenues are received on a quarterly basis.
The Mayor asked if it was similar to last year. Mr. Balicki said that the amount collected during 2002 was roughly $52,000.
Commissioner Tully pointed out that absent this agreement, the amount of the deficit would be even larger.
The Mayor noted that the Village has received $150,000 over three years.
Commissioner Gilbert said that the deficit is still roughly $134,000, and he believes the budget situation requires that the system should be shut down rapidly.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked when the funds are paid to the Village. Mr. Balicki said they are received on a quarterly basis.
The Mayor asked if PACE is cutting any routes in Downers Grove. Mr. Balicki said he was not aware of any.
Grant Agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs to Support the Parking Deck. The Manager said this grant is for $200,000 and is sponsored by Senator Thomas Walsh. The funds will be used toward the construction of the deck. The funding source of this will be through bonds, and the Village expects to receive $100,000 by April of this year. To date, the Village has received written notification of $540,500 in Illinois First funds.
The Mayor asked the Manager to send him the figures on the Illinois First funds. He asked whether the funds go into the TIF .
Deputy Manager Van Vooren responded that money for the construction-related projects would go into the capital improvement funds. They are trying to segregate the TIF funds due to reporting requirements.
Grant Agreement from the IEPA for the Drinking Water Grant Program. Manager Ginex said that this grant would provide infrastructure and design work in the north Belmont Park subdivision in unincorporated Downers Grove, in the amount of 3600 linear feet of 8” water main. The grant totals $711,948 in funding. Additional loans will be obtained from the DuPage Water Commission.
Manager Ginex said another meeting with the various agencies involved in the contamination issue is scheduled for tomorrow.
Commissioner Tully asked whether the grant will definitely be appropriated and when. Manager Ginex said that the money has been set aside. Once the agreement is put in place, the funds should be dispersed.
Commissioner McConnell said the agreement has a schedule of tasks, and asked whether the staff was comfortable with the dates. Manager Ginex said they are.
The Mayor asked if they are finished with the design.
Jack Bajor , Director, Public Works, said he would get back to the Council as to the status of the design work.
Parking & Traffic Commission Recommendations: The Manager asked Dorin Fera to discuss the recommendations.
File #03-01 Amended Sidewalk Matrix.
Dorin Fera , Traffic Manager of Public Works, said that this is the annual update by the Commission. He noted a correction of 40th Street between Earlston and Fairview, not up to Ogden Avenue. There are about 170 different sections of roadways prioritized for sidewalk improvements. He said the list depicts the higher priority sites and are doable in terms of price and location.
Commissioner Zabloudil noticed that Glendenning has 53 points and asked whether the point value has changed since last year.
Dan Grecco , Public Works, said that the top street priorities have remained the same. Glendenning was deferred until the wetland bank and watermains were completed. Those projects have not been completed.
Commissioner Zabloudil then asked about Carpenter as well. Mr. Grecco said it moved down on the list. Glendenning was not on the list before.
The Mayor asked if the new properties at 63rd and Main Street have been included as well. Mr. Grecco said they were.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the walkways on 40th Street, and where the walkways will be placed. Mr. Grecco said they propose to install the sidewalks continuously on the north side.
b) File #15-02 Parking Restrictions on Cumnor Road North of Ogden Avenue.
Mr. Fera said the Council was given an updated packet on the recommendation, and he then reviewed the background information on the Cumnor Road parking issues. The Commission and Public Works recommends reinstating the no parking restriction on the east half of Cumnor from Ogden for 205 feet, to open visibility of the mall drive and Ogden Avenue.
Commissioner Tully said that the absence of cars parked on that street has been a tremendous improvement to that intersection. He said that he appreciates the concerns of Downers Grove Yamaha at that corner; however, he believes it would be a mistake to go back for two reasons: 1) they cannot be inconsistent with the requirements on Delta Sonic; and 2) he believes they need to wait due to the applicant for the Saab dealership, which may have a monumental impact on this intersection as well.
Mr. Fera said that the Auto Exchange is apparently gone, and asked if whoever takes their place will be able to provide parking.
The Mayor said that the parking lot is so big and is not being fully used.
Commissioner Sisul said he had concerns about the direction that the Council is taking. He said that they must consider the direction given to Parking and Traffic Commission in this regard. No one ever anticipated that Ogden Avenue would be as wide as it is today. He asked if the Council is telling Parking and Traffic that they want no parking along any of the side streets. He sees no problem with the Commission’s direction since the intersection has been cleared. Professionals have reviewed it and said there is no obstacle to parking on this street.
The Mayor said there is the potential for the Saab dealership across the street and asked where the trucks will unload.
Commissioner Schnell said she has seen a dramatic change of traffic on Cumnor in terms of the types of traffic over the years. She is concerned that with buses, trucks and larger vehicles going down Cumnor, the turning radius will be difficult. Although she understands the basis for Parking and Traffic’s recommendation, she thinks the residents have a better understanding of the issues in their neighborhood, and she is not willing to agree to a change at this time.
The Mayor said that there is always constant traffic going in all directions.
Commissioner McConnell said she concurs with Commissioners Tully and Schnell and the Mayor, and said it is a difficult street with no parking on it. The mall entry is confusing as well. She thanked Parking and Traffic for their effort in this decision; however, she believed the safety of the area and ease of movement is best served by leaving things as they are.
Commissioner Gilbert said he was happy with the Council’s previous decision to leave it as it is, and also thanked the Commission for reviewing this issue. He said that Commissioner Sisul makes a valid point; however, this does not set a precedent, and there is not enough compelling information to go forward and change the restrictions.
Commissioner Zabloudil said there is a large retail outlet at that location. The restrictions make a tremendous impact and difference in terms of the safety of the area. He would also like to see it stay as it is.
Commissioner Sisul said that they would have to ask staff what they have received from this discussion in order to go forward
- are they to make recommendations based on objective standards or state of mind? He said they must consider where in the statement of road facts they are justifying this decision. Some direction must be given as to what objective standards will apply in future situations of side street traffic.
Commissioner Gilbert noted the Parking and Traffic Commission said that parking could be put on that area, not that it must be put there. He said Commissioner Sisul’s point is valid, but he is not recommending that the criteria used by the Commission be changed.
The Mayor said that the Commission might not know about the potential Saab dealership in that location.
Commissioner Tully said in regard to the direction to the staff, he thinks the Commission should do exactly what it did in this situation; that is, make a recommendation based upon objective criteria and the application of their expertise and good judgment. The Council must make the ultimate decision. He said the recommendations of the Boards and Commissions carry tremendous weight, but often other factors have to be taken into account. He said the implication is not to set a precedent with regard to all the streets along Ogden Avenue, but instead the decision would be made on a case-by-case basis.
Mr. Fera said that the Commission and Public Works would continue to do their technical analysis. He said that every location along Ogden Avenue is peculiar. He said the Saab dealership might even require installation of a traffic signal there.
Commissioner Tully asked if there is a way to work with Downers Grove Yamaha to find a solution to the parking issue. The Mayor said there is potential parking across the street and perhaps speaking with the new owners could be further explored.
Harold Schramm , 4031 Longmeadow Road, provided drawings to the Council showing what occurs with parking on Cumnor Road. He said he is a professional registered engineer. He then explained the drawings. Mr. Schramm said that the Commission claimed residents agreed with their decision; however, he said that they never did. In his opinion there should never be parking there under any circumstances, and the Commission was not receptive to the facts.
Tony DeSimone of Downers Grove Yamaha Motorsports said he is sympathetic to the safety issues.
He said that DGY has explored other options over and over, noting that the mall was not receptive to working with DGY . He said that Mr. Fulgara told him it was not his option because the retail operations get priority. Mr. DeSimone said that DGY grew some in 2002 and when DGY started parking in that parking lot it became an issue. He said DGY has tried to help themselves, and they need help from the Village as well. There is no place to park within a reasonable walking distance. He asked that before they approve the Saab dealership they seriously consider parking issues. It is a problem in that area. He said he didn’t know if the Council drove that street when parking was allowed, and he had hoped that the Commission’s professional recommendation would have been heeded. Mr. DeSimone said he needs the Council’s help.
The Mayor said that perhaps the EDC could be of some help.
Commissioner Tully said he sympathizes with the concerns expressed, but it does not change his view about parking on that street. He also said that parking for the Saab dealership would have to be resolved through reviews by several commissions and boards.
Gene Kent , 4030 West End Road, said the beauty he finds in this discussion is that when the issue came up the Commission made its recommendation, and since this is a land of checks and balances, the Council reviewed it and has come up with their own interpretation. Mr. Kent said the real issue is who benefits and who gets hurt.
Commissioner Sisul said he is not arguing Mr. Kent’s points or Mr. Schramm’s. It is a nation of laws, and they try to make decisions so that everyone is treated fairly and equally. The Council tries to be objective in evaluating the issues and not subjective. Commissioner Sisul said that his comments were to the Council urging them to be aware of setting precedents on roads such as this and to make objective decisions. There should be definite reasons for the decisions being made. He is concerned that the Council understands the distinctions in this situation.
The Mayor said that the Parking and Traffic Commission did an outstanding job in their analysis of this issue. He noted that as a result of the discussion staff would have the EDC contact Mr. DeSimone to discuss his particular parking situation.
c) File #23-02 Parking Restrictions on Parkview Drive at El Sierra School.
Mr. Fera said that there are parking problems in the morning along Parkview, which is a curved street. There is no problem in the afternoon because there are restrictions then. The recommendation then is to prevent parking on the south side of the drive between 7-9 a.m. and 2-3 p.m.
9. Downers Grove Municipal Code 9.23 – Ordinance Amendment. The Manager said this deals with the order of succession in the absence of the Village Manager. He then reviewed the hierarchy as recommended.
The Mayor asked why the Village Attorney is not included. Manager Ginex said he would look into that. Commissioner Gilbert said that in an emergency situation, the Attorney would have a lot to do, and for that reason was eliminated from the succession list.
10. Solid Waste. The Manager said Mr. Baker said that the current contract for refuse/recycling is with BFI and expires on March 31, 2003. There is a provision in the contract for negotiations for an extension of up to two years. BFI has provided quality responsive service to the Village. Mr. Baker said that the contract has several amendments to the language and new pricing options. Other amendments include removal of the polystyrene #6 plastic and foam containers as recyclable items
Mr. Baker said the difference in this contract is sticker price and the number of Amnesty Days. In 2003, one amnesty day was eliminated. He then reviewed the three options of the contract. He then introduced representatives of BFI to answer any questions.
Commissioner Tully said he noticed a reduction in the performance bond and asked whether staff was confident that it is sufficient. Mr. Baker said that $1 million is standard. BFI requested the reduction due to the costs. He said that staff met with the Risk Manager, and it was felt that a $500,000 performance bond would be acceptable.
Commissioner Tully said he was struck by the fact that so few communities have Amnesty Day programs, and those that have Amnesty days factor them into their contracts.
Commissioner McConnell said she agreed to include Amnesty Day and include it in the price. She was of the opinion that one per year would be appropriate, which would be Option 2. She could be persuaded to choose Option 3 if that was the consensus. As for leaf pickup, she understood that could not be negotiated, so sticker prices for leaf pick up will stay.
Commissioner Schnell agreed with a continuance of Amnesty Day, and would go for Option 2 or 3. She said for an extra five cents a year they could get two Amnesty days, and she did not see Option 3 as cost prohibitive.
Commissioner Sisul agreed with Commissioner Schnell, in that five cents more for two Amnesty Days is a bargain. Commissioners Gilbert and Zabloudil both agreed with Option #2. The Mayor said he agreed with Commissioners Sisul and Schnell.
The Mayor asked the BFI representative to explain how the recycling is picked up.
Steve Volgrin , BFI , said that they can combine recycling, however, not with garbage. When a recycling truck is down they can combine the recycling in the same truck. He said that if anyone sees the drivers putting both garbage and recycling in the same truck they should call BFI .
11. Abrogation of Easement – Georgian Courts. The Manager said when the project began the Village secured an easement on the property, and this will abrogate that easement.
Commissioner Tully clarified that this does not involve property changing hands, but is merely the elimination of an easement.
12.Abatement Ordinance. The Manager said this has been pulled from the Agenda for further information.
The Mayor said that staff has provided information already, and there is a budget Workshop scheduled for next Wednesday.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
Commissioner Tully said the Public Services committee would meet at the Public Works Facility on Friday, January 31 at 5:00 p.m.
Commissioner Sisul said that Public Safety has no meeting scheduled at this time.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting nine items to the Council: 1) An ordinance vacating a certain portion of a public alley south of Hobson Road (59th Street) bounded by Puffer Road and Belmont Road in the Village of Downers Grove; 2) A resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Suburban Bus Division of the Regional Transportation Authority (PACE); 3) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA) (Parking Deck); 4) A resolution authorizing the execution of a grant agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Drinking Water); 5) An ordinance amending the parking restrictions on Parkview Drive; 6) An ordinance amending Section 9-23 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code; 7) A resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Browning-Ferris Industries of Illinois, Inc.; 8) An ordinance abrogating a certain portion of a public easement in the Village of Downers Grove (1131 Gilbert Avenue); and 9) A resolution establishing a six-month moratorium on vacation rights-of-way.
Commissioner Gilbert said he was unable to be present last week and wanted to comment on the shut down of an ambulance. He was very unhappy with that decision. He believes that the Village needs to address what cuts are going to be made and when they will be made. There are other options than to shut down an ambulance. He was disturbed that the onus for the issue was placed on the sick time of the firemen. He agrees that some people abuse sick time; however, the sick time is divisible by 3 and is not that different than the average sick time of other departments.
Commissioner Gilbert said that for eight straight years he has said unrelentingly that the Fire Department can be run with less administrative staff. When it comes to shutting down an ambulance or cutting basic services in lieu of an optimal staff he is concerned. That does not make sense to him. The decision to shut down an ambulance should have been debated by the Council before the choice was made.
Commissioner Gilbert said he also has a serious concern regarding the overall state of finances in the Village, referring to the January 2003 Treasurer’s report which states that the cash condition warrants immediate corrective action. At this rate there is not enough cash in the Village to get to June. The Council has avoided some hot issues. One such issue is the personal use of Village automobiles. There are a number of staff that have Village automobiles and should have Village automobiles, however, the taxpayers should not have to pay for them to drive to and from work everyday. The net effect is that could have provided enough money to keep the ambulance on the street. He said there is something going on that has not happened to this Village before. The problem in the budget is the economy, and the decrease in sales tax dollars is part of that problem. He said that the bleeding cannot continue. Commissioner Gilbert said he is of the opinion that a budget can be created with sufficient and satisfactory services without raising taxes. He suggested that within the next seven days they made immediate cuts including staff, equipment and service issues. They cannot determine what to do with next year’s budget until this budget is addressed. He said that before any more service cuts are made, there should be a debate.
The Mayor said there will be a budget meeting on Wednesday night. He said the Manager has tried to set dates, but people are not available.
Commissioner Gilbert said the Council has to decide what they will do now. The Village has never been in this position before. The cash reserves the Village enjoyed 15 years ago are gone
The Mayor said there are many good fire personnel, and the Village has some of the best fire fighters in the State, but the Fire Department is spending $250,000 in overtime due to sick leave. The Chief and Deputy Chiefs have done a good job of analyzing personnel and making shift changes. Some of the fire fighters are complaining. Sick time is an issue
Commissioner Gilbert said he was addressing shutting down an ambulance. Council had no input into this decision.
The Mayor said the Fire Department is operating at a minimum of 18 or 19 people at each fire station and is hiring back staff every day. He said they will continue to hire back staff.
Commissioner Gilbert said the Village cannot afford an optimal administrative staff at the expense of taking an ambulance out of service. He said he thinks the reimbursement he outlined of ten vehicles used for personal use can help the budget.
The Mayor said $900,000 of overtime in Fire and Police needs to be reviewed.
Commissioner Tully said the Village as well as other communities is facing an unprecedented 2 ½ to 3 year recession. The Council needs to meet promptly. The Council and public need to understand the cuts that need to be made, the options and the consequences of a 10% across the board cut.
Commissioner Schnell said the Council needs to start the budget process sooner. All the Council members have concerns about the budget and need to give staff direction.
The Mayor said the Village is running $1million under the amended budget for this year.
Commissioner Gilbert said the cuts have not been enough and have not been looked at objectively.
The Mayor said a total of $2 ½ million has been cut this year.
Commissioner Gilbert asked if that was enough.
Commissioner Sisul suggested deferring this discussion to the budget workshop.
The Mayor said the Council will meet on Wednesday, February 5 at 6:00 p.m. for a budget workshop.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh