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, Sue McConnell, Martin Tully, Mark Zabloudil, Ron Sandack, Stan Urban; Village Manager Riccardo Ginex; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Residents and Other Attendees: Tony Charlton DuPage County; Catherine Loney, GCG Financial, Inc.; Linda McLaughlin, Linda Kunze, Jim Russ, Downtown Management; Molly Bailie, Flavor & More; Phil Cullen, Ballydoyle; Lou Memeti, Angelo’s Pizza; Anne Rafelson, Slim & Tone; Jim Burke; Cub Scouts Mike Wolobey, Jeff Gintorello, Jennifer, Anthony, and Mary Puccini, 740 40th St.; William Waldack, 1409 Willard Place
Staff: Greg Zimmerman, Director, Human Resources; Jon Hall, Stormwater Manager; Mike Millette, Assistant Director, Public Works; Dave Barber, Director, Public Works, John Tucker, Public Works; Stan Balicki, Assistant Director, Public Works; Keith Sbiral, Planner; Kerstin von der Heide, Forester, Public Works; Rick Ebel, Public Works; Dave Van Vooren, Deputy Village Manager; Doug Kozlowski, Director, Media & Public Relations; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Rita Trainor, Director, Financial Services
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.
Mayor Krajewski invited the Cub Scouts from St. Mary’s of Gostyn School. They are working on their Citizenship badge. They are having a Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, November 14 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon in the school gym. Anthony Puccini mentioned that the power goes out on 40th Street between Fairview and Highland and asked if something could be done about that. He also said that his Mom and Dad want to know if something can be done to stop the teardowns in the Village. The Mayor said staff would look into the power problem.
In honor of the Downers Grove South Boys’ Soccer State Championship, Mayor Krajewski read a Proclamation of Congratulations to them, and invited them to attend the Hospitality Day Parade on Sunday, November 28 in downtown Downers Grove. He proclaimed Tuesday, November 9, 2004 as Downers Grove South Boys’ Soccer Team Day. The Mayor said he attended the game and it was a very exciting.
The Mayor also noted that the Downers Grove South Girls’ Volleyball Team has advanced to the State finals, and Downers Grove North continued to advance to the final 8 for the State football championship.
Manager Ginex said that there were some changes made to the Workshop Agenda form, with Sections A and B separating the Consent Agenda and the Active Agenda. He said that all items include summary information, and the format of the memo has changed to provide more information to the Council.
Bid: Rock Salt. Manager Ginex said staff recommends purchasing 6,000 tons of bulk road salt and 750 tons of ClearLane from the State of Illinois master contract.
The Mayor asked as to the actual required minimum.
Dave Barber , Director, Public Works, said that they are required to purchase 4,200 tons minimum and 7,800 tons maximum at the fixed price. The Village is requesting permission to purchase 6,000 tons of salt.
Mayor Krajewski said in the last ten years, the Village hasn’t come close to using the 5,000 tons except for one year. He said that the minimum seems to be higher than it should be, and asked what was purchased last year. Mr. Barber responded that it was the same amount. They have less than 700 tons in storage.
Commissioner Schnell commented that they are allowed to buy up to 7,500 tons; however, there is no guarantee that it will be available.
Mr. Barber said that they are trying to get closer to the averages, but want to have a stockpile available so as not to be caught in an emergency. The contract requires the contractors to have the minimum amount of salt to the Chicago Metropolitan area in storage in Chicago by December 1, and the maximum amount in by January 1.
The Mayor noted again that over 17 years the Village has never come close to the maximum. Mr. Barber said that the 4,200 tons is the minimum, and there is no minimum on the ClearLane. They do not have to use ClearLane, but would like to use it. Mayor Krajewski said that he thinks 6,000 tons is too high. Mr. Barber said that 4,200 tons is what they must purchase as a minimum. He further noted that they do not stockpile the ClearLane.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked if the 70% minimum purchase is negotiable. Mr. Barber said that with State contracts, they have to give the minimum and are stuck with that amount. The Mayor asked whether they number could be changed from 6,000 tons to 5,000 tons. Mr. Barber said he will check and let the Council know within the next week. The minimum amount is 4,200 tons.
Commissioner Urban asked as to the amount of salt in the bins today. Mr. Barber said that they have 700 tons today.
Commissioner Schnell asked what was purchased last year. Mr. Barber said they purchased 4,500 tons. Commissioner Schnell asked if they want to keep the 700 tons in reserve, and Mr. Barber said that was correct.
Commissioner Tully asked if there is a minimum and maximum amount of ClearLane as part of the contract. Mr. Barber said there was not. Commissioner Tully then asked when the Village first purchased the ClearLane. Mr. Barber responded it was two years ago. He said they bought 60 tons the first year and 543 tons last year. The storage capacity for bulk road salt is about 3,500 tons, and typical inventory is to keep between 1,000-2,000 tons available over the season. They base the amount in inventory upon the length of time of cold weather.
In response to Commissioner Urban, Mr. Barber said that the Village uses 200-300 tons in one run. Small storms over several hours take more salt than heavier storms.
Bid: Tree Pruning. The Manager said staff recommends awarding the contract to Winkler’s Tree and Landscaping in the amount of $58,069.00. Seven bids were received based on diameter size classes. Winkler’s has the demand pruning contract with the Village now.
Commissioner Sandack said he noticed a marked difference between the bids and asked whether Winkler’s is capable carrying out the terms of the contract.
Kerstin von der Heide , Village Forester, said that Winkler’s had this contract once before several years ago, and they did very well. They have had three other contracts with the Village and did well on those as well.
The Mayor asked whether they bid before, and Ms. von der Heide said they bid three years ago. They are located in LaGrange Park.
Parking Deck Change Order #18. The Manager asked Mike Millette, Assistant Director, Public Works, to address this matter.
Mike Millette , Assistant Director, Public Works, said this has two components: 1) to provide additional Miradrain, and 2) provide cored holes for precast panels for exterior lighting. He said that there was a note on the drawings to extend 10 feet up from the footing, but they wanted it to go to where the grade ended. That was done on the north wall only, and this cost is for the extra material. The additional cored holes for the precast panels were done as the shop drawings per the architect, but were not in the right spot. This cost is to re-core the walls in the field, and staff believes Desman should reimburse the Village for this.
Parking Deck Change Order #19. Mr. Millette said the four components here are primarily aesthetic enhancements, as well as a demonstration method to correct rough areas in the ramp. The drive entrance into Curtiss has to be redone due to a revision of the dimensions. Secondly, they chose to go with topsoil and sod rather than the original plan of seeding the area. Thirdly, there is a revision to the crosswalks coming out from the stair towers across the driving aisles. They will be brick pavers rather than stamped concrete. Finally, rough surfaces in the ramps need to be repaired at a cost of $698.00.
Commissioner Schnell asked if the Council can get an accounting of the status of the Change Orders to date. Manager Ginex said he would provide that.
Commissioner Tully said he has parked in the lot, and the pay machines work well. He said a Public Works employee was present early on to help if needed, and he complimented Public Works on the system.
The Mayor asked when a decision will be made on commuter parking regarding the first quarter of 2005. Mr. Barber said he will add this to the Transportation Advisory Commission Agenda.
Voluntary Employee Benefit Administration (VEBA). The Manager asked Greg Zimmerman, Director, Human Resources, to address this matter.
Greg Zimmerman , Director, Human Resources, said that VEBA is an attempt to provide a solution to employees regarding the health insurance plans for low and high deductibles. It is an account that can be used to pay out-of-pocket expenses and can be carried over as compared to the use it or lose it Section 125 plan.
Commissioner McConnell commented on the administration agreement termination clause and whether or not that was negotiable.
Catherine Loney , GCG Financial, Inc., said that the 1% is there to cover the usual set up fee. She said that the Village would only pay that if it discontinued the program in the first year. As to normal Administrative fees, Ms. Loney said that Section 125 is $6.50.
Commissioner McConnell asked the difference between a “claim active” and a “not claim active” individual. Ms. Loney responded those who retire or leave the Village are not active, and a fee will be charged to the participant who still has funds in holding.
Localized Poor Drainage Areas (LPDA) – Follow-up Discussion . The Manager said Tony Charlton, Director of the Department of Environmental Concerns for DuPage County is present to address the Council regarding interaction with the County’s requirements.
Tony Charlton , Director of the Department of Environmental Concerns for DuPage County, said the regulatory point is the elevation that creates the flooding which is determined by engineering studies that are performed by various agencies. Map products used by FEMA are communication tools and not regulatory tools. The Village’s maps do not change any regulatory status.
The Mayor said that the Village wants to follow the County’s Ordinance requirements rather than add to the confusion with our own Ordinance. He said that twelve other communities in DuPage County do not have the LPDAs.
Commissioner Sandack said that the site specific elevations were attempts to identify flooding areas. They would like to administer the County’s plan rather than have the LPDAs.
Mr. Charlton said that the purpose of the map product is to communicate site specific flood plains to recognize that some areas have significant water traversing it which, if not accounted for, would cause problems. It is a means of allowing flexibility in determining the threshold of what is acceptable and what is not.
Manager Ginex said that some areas are site specific, and asked how the Village deals with those. Mr. Charlton responded that the regulatory item is the elevation. It is important not to have maps that are not in the floodplain.
Commissioner Schnell said that some LPDAs are now showing up on the FEMA map. Mr. Barber said they may have some on the existing floodplain map which should be removed. The problem is areas that exist but are not on the map so people know where problems may exist. They are following a process whereby developers have to do studies.
Commissioner Tully thanked Mr. Charlton for discussing this with the Council. There were maps where the LPDAs were identified by sight, and not by engineering studies. The question was whether we could go with the FEMA map and then, through studies, identify site specific floodplain areas.
Portable Signs. The Manager said that a petition was presented to the Council last week to allow portable signs in the CBD during the months of November and December. This is being presented as a resolution, since a public hearing would be required for an ordinance. He said that staff worked with the Downtown Management Board and arrived at the following criteria: 1) no more than two sides to the sign; 2) only business owners’ logo; 3) not anchored to the ground; 4) cannot exceed six square feet per sign per panel; 5) sign to be removed nightly; 6) should be made of a metal or wood frame; 7) Village will be indemnified and held harmless to any liabilities; 8) not to be placed in such a location as to reduce the crosswalk or walkway to less than five feet.
The Mayor said he has no problem with the temporary signs in the downtown area. He asked whether constitutionally the Village can limit alcohol and tobacco advertising. Attorney Petrarca said she thought it could be done on a temporary basis.
The Mayor then questioned doing it as a resolution to avoid a public hearing. Ms. Petrarca said that technically to amend the Appearance Code they would need to have a public hearing. Doing it as a resolution would be a temporary suspension of the enforcement of the Code regarding portable signs.
Linda Kunze of the Downtown Management Board brought examples of the signs that would be used, noting that they would be brought in every night and for snow removal.
Phil Cullen of Ballydoyle’s said he drove through the downtown area and noted that signs add character to a downtown area. Right now it looks flat and linear without the added signage. He encouraged the Council to vote positively.
Commissioner McConnell said she is fine with the restrictions. She noted that it appears as though there has been a controversy on the part of the Sign Commission regarding sandwich board signs, and she would like some understanding as to why. The Mayor said they would prefer to see blade or shingle signs.
Ms. Kunze said they would like to allow businesses a choice. Shingle signs have not been allowed in the past.
Mr. Cullen said that one concern expressed by the Committee was safety issues and liability. He said he thought there was some miscommunication as well.
Commissioner Tully said that the Village is undertaking an overhaul of its Sign Ordinance at this time which will affect all areas of the Village. Some individual areas may deserve different treatment. Regarding this particular issue, it was felt that if certain matters and conditions were addressed, this could be permitted on a temporary basis for the holiday season. He asked the size of the sample sign brought in and Ms. Kunze said it was six square feet.
Commissioner Schnell said she has no problem with doing this on a temporary basis. It will serve as a good test for the merchants and an opportunity to see whether or not it will work. She said this reminds her of the discussion of awnings. Both can provide a certain charm to the area. She said that they must be sure that the Village is not held liable and that people remove them if it snows.
In response to the Mayor, Ms. Petrarca said that this resolution is for a two-month period.
Commissioner Sandack said that the Sign Committee has done a good job and the process works. He agrees that this signage adds to the downtown area and sees this as a good first step.
George Swimmer , 4905 Main Street, said he believes in promoting the downtown area, but does not see how the Village can relieve themselves of liability of signs on a public walkway. The Mayor said that it will not relieve the Village, but they are asking the businesses to show proof of insurance.
William Waldack , 1409 Willard Place, said he worries about the placement of the signs. He is visually impaired and these are not safe. His issue is safety. He hopes they will be placed on the side and not in the middle of the walkway.
The Mayor said that the sign will not be placed where the width is less than five feet. They do not designate where they can be placed.
Manager Ginex said that most of the signs will be up against the building, or on the curb area. Some will be on private property. The Mayor said he would like to see the exact language of the criteria.
Snow Response Plan . The Manager asked Dave Barber to present the snow plan.
Mr. Barber introduced Stan Balicki, Kirsten von der Heide, Rick Ebel, and John Tucker who will be involved with the direction of the snow response plan. He said that the plan and map will be on the Internet by the end of the week. The goal is to maintain safe travel routes in the community both during and after a storm. Priority 1 routes of heaviest traffic volume will be plowed first. He provided information on how the salt will be distributed, noting that they monitor the amount of the salt that is spread on the street. The target is bare pavement, and they gear what kind of coverage is done based upon the weather conditions. Salt is initiated to melt the first inch to 1-1/2” of snow. In excess of 2” may demand that they plow instead. He described the salt process which is affected by moisture and the amount of traffic. Below 20 degrees, salt does very little good, so chemicals are then added to make it more effective.
Mr. Barber referred to the snow route map, dividing the streets into Priority 1, 2 or 3. There are ten routes of Priority 1 and 2 roadways to be cleared 12 hours after the storm, while priority 3 routes are to be cleared within 18 hours after the storm. He noted that staff also works on the downtown sidewalks, commuter station platforms, parking lots including the parking deck, and school crosswalks with crossing guards (when there is more than 4” of snow). He indicated that they do not plow alley rights-of-way outside of the CBD .
In regard to changes to the plan, Mr. Barber said they have moved from twelve to ten routes as manpower was stretched. Each route is 1.4 square miles. This should eliminate the Scout Teams, which are the short-call-out people. He would rather have everyone present and ready to go. They have several routes which are covered by other governmental bodies such as the State and County covering their roadways within the Village.
Mr. Barber then gave a review of how the routes are established, the number of teams, downtown crews, designated cul-de-sacs, as well as the human resources and equipment resources available.
Mayor Krajewski said that over the last several years, more plowing has been very good and residents seem satisfied. He asked if there were twelve plows available for ten routes. Mr. Barber said that all plows will be in service. The majority will work the higher priority roads first while the smaller plows work the cul-de-sacs. Personnel will work 12 hour shifts, 7:00 to 7:00. Mr. Barber said that when they know there is a storm coming, they will put the existing crew on the roads immediately. Half of the crew will be sent home when the decision is made by 11:00 a.m., and the second part of the crew will begin snow clearing.
The Mayor then asked about Zone 8, which seems to have the largest number of priority lane miles and 72 cul-de-sacs, which seems like a lot to him. Mr. Barber said that the trucks generally have enough gas and salt to last 12 hours. They will add an extra smaller truck to the routes to work the cul-de-sacs. This will eliminate the need for the bigger trucks to have to stop on the cul-de-sacs.
Mayor Krajewski said that Priority 1 and 2 roads are expected to be cleared within 12 hours after the last snowfall, and cul-de-sacs within 18 hours after the last snowfall. He said that in the last year or two that goal was only missed one time to his knowledge.
The Mayor asked about the County and the State routes, saying he heard that the State said its priority was the Tollway. He asked what their plans are. Mr. Barber said he would look into that.
Mayor Krajewski asked whether there is a big problem regarding cars parked illegally. Mr. Barber said it does slow down the clearing, and the police are called in those cases. In further response, he said that the Village has only a few small outside contracts, which are detailed in the snow report prepared.
The Mayor asked about liquid de-icer and where it is used. Mr. Barber said that is used to wet the salt to assist it in working in temperatures below 20 degree.
Rich Ebel of Public Works said they use about 20,000 gallons, and there are about 6,000 gallons in storage right now.
Commissioner Tully asked about ClearLane. Mr. Barber responded that it is regular road salt with a film of molasses to help it stick to the street. It stays put and is believed to allow for less to be used. He said that Public Works has not determined whether this is true as yet, and are still looking at it to determine if they could use less salt. In terms of curbs, Mr. Barber said there are many street miles in town with no curbs, so the salt runs off into the drainage ditches which cannot be avoided.
Architectural Design Review Board. The Manager said the Architectural Design Review Board is recommended to be a seven-member board. The Board will make recommendations to the Council regarding the scope and authority of the Board, the Architectural Control Ordinance, the Appearance Code, the Design Review Committee and the historical preservation regulations.
Commissioner McConnell asked whose objective this falls into and Commissioner Schnell said it is in her area. Commissioner McConnell said that a liaison is needed so this can start up quickly.
Commissioner Tully said they might want to fine-tune the scope of this Board and its duties. Under Section 3.3 regarding guidelines for historic preservation, this may come before the Council before the Board would see it. He said historical preservation guidelines should be elevated to Council level and addressed in a timely manner. He noted that there will be a presentation next week regarding this.
Dr. Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh, said it seems appropriate to have this Board. It will take some time for the Board to look at the complex situation of design review within the Village and to fully understand it. There are steps that can be taken toward historical preservation without going through all of the detail. He recommended replacing the word “created” with “additional” in Section 3.3. Secondly, in meeting with the Historical Society last week, it was mentioned that buildings 50 years old are eligible to be considered for historical significance. He noted that there are neighborhoods that have already reached that point. It is not just the Lyman houses that people are concerned about, but it is their streetscapes in their communities. He discussed the makeup of the Board and asked if they should review the revision of the Zoning Ordinance. They could perhaps make recommendations regarding architectural design.
Manager Ginex said that they have had this discussion regarding stormwater and Code issues, and said that staff is looking into this.
Dr. Goodman said that staff could pass their work by this Committee, as they might be helpful in reviewing the recommendations.
Commissioner Tully clarified that there is a present need, as well as an on-going need, and work will not stop while the Board is being organized.
Manager Ginex asked Commissioner Tully whether he was recommending that Section 3.3 should be eliminated regarding the preservation guidelines. Commissioner Tully said he would not eliminate it but would re-word it. He told the Manager he would make some suggestions regarding the wording.
Grant Application: FY 2005 Community Arts Access Re-granting Program. The Manager said staff recommends applying a grant of $900 to the Hinsdale Center for the Arts to support the Alice in Wonderland performance at the 2005 Heritage Festival. The total cost is $1,800.00. The cost to the Village would be $900.00.
Property Tax Determination . The Manager asked Rita Trainor, Director, Financial Services, to address this matter.
Finance Director Rita Trainor said that additional information was presented to the Mayor and Council today beyond what was provided in the packets. The mid-year revenue and expense report provides an analysis of the current status, and where they expect to be at year-end of 05/06 and 06/07.
Regarding the adoption of the 2004 Tax Levy, Mr. Trainor reviewed the timeline, stating that the Public Hearing is scheduled on December 7. The adoption of the tax levies is scheduled for December 21. She noted a new item, the December dialogue, will be held on December 4 for additional public input.
In regard to General Fund Revenues, property taxes account for 17.5%, or approximately $7 million of the general fund total revenues. It is comprised of the Police and Fire Protection levies, the Special Service Area levies and the Police and Fire pension levies. The Council adopted property tax levy includes the Village levies, the Library tax levies, and the Special Service Area tax levies. She noted that 8.3% of the tax bill is for the Village levies, and 4.1% for the Library levies.
Ms. Trainor said that the estimated assessed value (EAV) for 2004 is a 7.5% increase. She noted that the percent increase from 2002 to 2003 was 6.9%. Regarding the Village tax rate history from 1999 to 2004, Ms. Trainer noted that the proposed tax rate for 2004 is the same as the 2003 levy.
Ms. Trainor then reviewed the individual components of the proposed tax levy. Police and Fire protection levies would increase by the amount of the EAV for 2004 plus a 1.01% uncollectability factor that DuPage County adds. The G.O. Bond levy would go up 15% as a function of the outstanding debt that has to be paid. She then showed how the total public safety expenses have increased dramatically over the past 20 years, while the property tax levy has done little to cover that increased cost. She noted also that the total sales taxes, including Home Rule Sales Tax, and the property taxes did not cover the public safety expenses when combined.
Ms. Trainor then discussed the options for adjusting the property tax levy for Fire and Police rates. She said that the Council has options into February to abate taxes that they might levy. If things remain as is, based on the EAV , that would mean an increased yield of $391,000. If the Village increased the rates by $.02 each for Police and Fire protection or $.04 each for Police and Fire protection, it would result in an increase of between $1.1 and $1.9 million. Ms. Trainor explained if existing rates were maintained, and there was an increase in the EAV , a home with a property value of $300,000 would show an increase in property taxes of $34.00. If there is an increase by the $.02 in each of the Police and Fire levies, it would increase the tax by $77.00, while $.04 in each of the Police and Fire levies would increase the property tax by $120.00.
The Mayor asked if figures are available for the General Fund balance on an accrual basis. Ms. Trainor said she does not have that information at this time. The Mayor said he would also like to see the draft audit. He then asked for some detail on the surplus. He noted that there is a projection of $1.8 million of revenue in excess of expenses. He said it appears that there was $300,000 less in expenses, while revenues are about $600,000 above the projection. He asked where the extra revenue has come from and what the “other” category refers to. Ms. Trainor said she would have to look at the detail.
Mike Baker , Assistant Village Manager, said the mid-year revenue report provides how the major revenue sources are doing. The Mayor again said that the “other” column is up $650,000 and he wants to know what it is. Mr. Baker said he would explain the method used to calculate “other” in particular, stating that “other” is made on collections year-to-date estimated out to the end of the fiscal year. They may not be actual numbers as they are not a regularly recurring revenue source. He said they have not gone through that thorough of an analysis. The Mayor asked when they obtain the information to let him know so he knows what the $650,000 represents.
Mayor Krajewski said that on the expense side, there were no adjustments on personnel services, and he thought there were some positions in the budget that were never hired. The Mayor said the preliminary changes to fund balances was helpful. Regarding #5682-Special Grant Expenses, he noted $580,000 was budgeted and asked what that represents.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Van Vooren said that includes all existing rebates currently on the book, as well as incentive agreements with the Tri-State Fire Protection District for the property tax rebates on the annexations of the unincorporated areas which occurred three years ago. It also includes the contribution to District 58. He said there is an individual breakdown in the budget detail which he would send to the Mayor.
The Mayor said with regards to the Police and Fire Pension, the Fire levy went up a fair amount. He said they need to make sure that the data in the report is accurate. Mr. Van Vooren said he would check the figures on the accrued liability for the two pension funds. He clarified that under the 5682 Special Grant expenses, any other department in the general fund that received a grant would have monies in that account. He will provide details on that as well. Some of the “other” figures relate to interfund transfers.
The Mayor then asked about the TIF abatements on the proposed levy, including the gas tax and water fund. He asked what the other three were, and Ms. Trainor said they were estimates of the TIF proceeds as well as the transfer from the parking fund. The Mayor said it appears that they are estimating abating $1.1 million and asked if that is the TIF revenue received. Ms. Trainor said that is what they are estimating as well as some funds from the parking fund. Mr. Van Vooren said it was $175,000 from the parking fund. In the analysis they are using the estimated TIF revenue is about $910,000, which tracks well with the numbers of last year. Last year it was about $570,000.
Commissioner Tully said that the estimates must be printed and the public hearing must be held if the increase resulted in more than 105% of the prior year’s levy. He said that even if the rate were held the same, we would meet that requirement due to the increased EAV , and Ms. Trainor said that was correct.
Commissioner Tully said it is not his preference or desire to increase the rate, and not his preference to keep the same rate as that would translate into additional dollars. He would prefer to shrink the rate to keep the tax flat. He said that two budget cycles ago he made the request to keep the expense rate the same for the next budget year. The last budget cycle a strong desire was expressed to keep the Village expenses for 05/06 the same or nearly the same as for 04/05, which is approximately $38.2 million. He would like to hold the expenses firm for 05/06. Commissioner Tully said he is pleased with the progress toward the cash balance. The target is $6 million and we are projected to be at $3.9 million, which is good progress in that we started at $2.1 million. He said they look to be on track with the budget. He would like to add to the cash balance not by increasing rates or the dollar amount of levies, but by continuing to hold firm on expenses, continuing to reallocate existing resources, and expanding the base through economic development.
Commissioner Tully noted that 06/07 shows a decrease in revenue due to the sunsetting of the Home Rule sales tax, and Ms. Trainor said that was correct, but is only a partial impact. There is a more dramatic decline in 07/08.
Commissioner McConnell asked whether a copy of the slide presentation would be available to the Council and Ms. Trainor said she would see that it was done. Commissioner McConnell said she would like to see them stay at the present tax rates and see what that is in terms of services and functions.
Commissioner Schnell said she does not want to add to the taxes, and would like to be between $38-39 million. If they keep a cap on property taxes, they must look at the economic development of the community. There has to be a boost in the regular sales taxes. She said her #1 priority is keeping the tax rate the same and doesn’t want to see even a few pennies increase.
The Mayor agreed that the tax base has to increase through economic development. He said that the budget for 05/06 at $38.2 million would be a good place to hold the line. He said they know there will be an increase in revenue due to Fry’s.
Commissioner Schnell said that priorities and service will come out in community dialogue. The Council will need to hear from the community as to their priorities and she encouraged people to attend these meetings.
Commissioner Tully said in regard to the timeline, if the rate is flat they will have to publish a Truth in Taxation notice. He asked if the numbers are lowered whether they would have to publish that. Mr. Van Vooren said they would due to the $1.15 million in abatements. Commissioner Tully asked the date by which the estimate is needed and Attorney Petrarca said it would be next week. Commissioner Tully said that he would not support a tax rate increase and would prefer to see the dollars remain the same. Ms. Trainor said that they have until February 2005 to abate. Commissioner Tully said that they will have to decide the tax dollars by next Tuesday, which is before the community dialogue.
Mayor Krajewski asked why the property taxes to be collected is $161,000 more than assessed. Mr. Van Vooren said that the County Assessor and County Clerk work together and round the figures. The Mayor asked if there was a balance in the TIF fund. Mr. Van Vooren said the revenue in the TIF fund goes to pay debt service for the appropriate bond issues levied on behalf of the TIF . A surplus goes to pay the principal. He indicated that he would prepare a motion for levying of the taxes.
Mr. Van Vooren said that one of the things prepared in the Manager’s Memo that needs to be studied and discussed is the chart that looks at the next 3-4 years of incremental expenses and incremental revenue. The types of decreases seen in the revenue will lead them to rethink and remanage the community, and significant decisions will have to be made. This year on May 1, personnel expenses will go up $1.5 million in real dollars. If the budget is held at $38.2 million they will have to come up with $1.4 million outside of that. They can meet next year’s budget but will have to put into place additional revenues or remanage expenses for the community. He said that the revenue they will lose with the sunset of the Home Rule sales tax is roughly 10% of the budget. Economic development is a main focus and they have more rebate agreements on the table than before, but there is no space to put businesses. It took Frys over four years to go from its inception to opening its doors. He said they will have to double to car dealerships and gas stations to replace home rule sales tax. He said safety and community services are important elements in economic development. If those services decline it will be more difficult to improve economic development. He said they cannot ask staff to do something without understanding the ramifications of the decision. Property taxes are reliable and dependable, and support the safety issues. Community dialogue needs to set the tone as to what has to change. He said that they need to be realistic as to what businesses we can attract based on the available space. He believes the Village is frugal in what it presents to the community.
The Mayor said that they always have the opportunity to levy property taxes at another time. Regarding economic development, the Commission spent a year trying to prioritize what they should be doing, and their number one priority was the 16-acre Ogden Avenue site.
Commissioner Tully thanked Mr. Van Vooren for his comments, stating that everyone needs to hear the realities. They cannot afford a $5.5 million increase in three years. Budget realities have to be dealt with, and he thinks there are many answers to this puzzle.
Dr. Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, said that there is a petition drive to put home rule on the ballot. They need to show the benefits of home rule. Many people focus on finances of home rule, and he believes that the Council is doing a good job of managing its finances. He noted that services are available because of home rule. They need a community dialogue of what level of services the community wants and what they are willing to pay for them. They need to get out information as to the services provided and what they cost, and to begin talking to residents about the services they receive.
Mr. Van Vooren said he will provide a motion with a grand total and individual services. The rate will be consistent with what it is today. He said it is critical that they get this into the newspaper for notification.
The Mayor said that SSA #2 levied $240,000 last year but it shows only $232,000. Mr. Van Vooren said they are capped at $1.50, and $240,000 would have exceeded the $1.50 rate. It was rolled back to $232,000.
Plan Commission Recommendation: Fairway Court Subdivision Final Plan Approval. The Manager asked Keith Sbiral, Planner, to address this matter.
Keith Sbiral , Village Planner, said that this was approved as a preliminary plat in November 2003. It consists of five lots, and there is only one exception from the subdivision code for the depth of Lot 3 from 140 feet to 126 feet. The Park District and School donations have been paid as of today. Regarding the detention areas, Mr. Sbiral responded to Commissioner Tully that there will be two stormwater detention areas.
Commissioner McConnell said she voted “no” on the preliminary plat as she felt it did not fit the character of the neighborhood nor was the exception substantiated. She anticipates the same with this although she has not made a final decision.
Future Land Use Map Amendment. The Manager said this concerns some housekeeping of commercial areas which are not properly designated. There are no zoning changes.
Commissioner Schnell commented that by showing the 63rd Street parcels as commercial it may create a domino effect on that street. By showing it on the Future Land Use Plan (FLUP) it could pose problems regarding being consistent with the surrounding neighborhoods. Mr. Sbiral said that the parcels to the west will still be classified as residential. Staff can work with the individuals to advise them of the status and opinion of the Council and Boards. Commissioner Schnell said that they are commercial as a result of an agreement. She is concerned that if it is shown as commercial it may change many of the neighboring homes. She does not want this to mushroom, and not sure there is a solution to this dilemma.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
Public Safety Committee
Commissioner McConnell said that Public Safety met on November 5 with the Fire Department and reviewed the capital equipment plan and the capital fund overall. She said that the Mayor and Commissioner Sandack should receive a binder on the facilities information. They also discussed the update to the Fire Codes and will be meeting on November 30 at 7:30 a.m. The location will be announced.
Public Services Committee
Commissioner Tully said that Public Services will meet on November 16 at 5:45 p.m. to discuss the Five Year Capital Plan.
MANAGER ’S REPORT
Manager Ginex said that he has been in e-mail contact with Mike Riordan of the EDC regarding setting up a meeting. They will meet on December 18 following the Coffee with the Council at the Library.
In addition, the Police Department has sent letters and parking deck brochures to some of the recipients of parking tickets in the Village.
The Manager noted that there is a new mailbox at the Village Hall walkway which is to be used as a flag disposal box. This is sponsored by the American Legion.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting six items to the Council: 1) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Employee Benefit Technology Systems, LLC . D/B/A America’s VEBA Solution; 2) A resolution suspending enforcement of certain provisions of the Village of Downers Grove appearance code prohibiting portable sandwich-board signs for the months of November and December 2004; 3) A resolution establishing the Downers Grove Architectural Design Review Board; 4) A resolution authorizing submittal of grant application to the Hinsdale Center for the Arts for FY 2005 Community Arts Access Regrant Program; 5) A resolution approving the final plat of subdivision for the Fairway Court Subdivision with exceptions; and 6) An ordinance amending the Comprehensive Land Use Plan for the Village of Downers Grove.
Commissioner Tully made several announcements. The Indian Boundary YMCA is holding their 3rd Annual Auction and Fashion Event fund raiser on November 12 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in the Signature Room at Seven Bridges, Woodridge. Proceeds benefit the YMCA Youth Scholarship program. Call Linda Rockwell at (630) 929-2411 for more information.
He announced that the Downers Grove Noon Lions Club will hold their 10th annual wine auction on Saturday, November 13 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Avery Coonley School, 1400 Maple Avenue. Call Tom Sleeter at 368-0184 for more information.
Downers Grove’s Historical Society held a symposium and presented the results of its recent Historic Preservation opinion survey. They have made this available to the Council. He thanked them for holding the event. Bob Saigh, a member of the Hinsdale Historic Preservation Commission spoke at the symposium as did Lisa DiChiera, Director of Advocacy, Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois. Ms. DiChiera will speak to the Council next week regarding preservation.
Commissioner Tully congratulated the Downers Grove South Boys’ Soccer Team for winning the State Championship.
Commissioner Tully noted that Coffee with the Council held at the Station #5 Fire House had many residents attend since it was held in their neighborhood. The next meeting will be held at the Public Works Facility at 5101 Walnut on November 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
The Mayor said that it might be beneficial to have a summary of the Hinsdale issue available when the Historical Society makes its presentation.
Commissioner Tully said that the survey results are available for $3.50 at the Historical Society.
The Mayor said that Emmanuel Lutheran is having their bazaar sale from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. He also wished the Downers Grove South Volleyball team, and the North football team good luck in their upcoming competitions.
Mayor Krajewski then commented on the mounds of dirt which were dumped by the County by South High School that are blocking the sidewalk.
The Mayor then said that with regards to the hanging tags, the Transportation Advisory Commission is looking at this and making some changes and modifications. He said that the tags need to be hung the right way.
Dr. Goodman asked about the Agenda for November 16 and whether the tax levy will be acted upon. Ms. Petrarca said that will be on the November 16 agenda as a Motion.
Dr. Goodman then asked about the Walgreens Ordinances and Ms. Petrarca said those Ordinances will also be on the Active Agenda.
Dr. Goodman then asked about the next workshop meeting for November 23 which is very full, and Manager Ginex said that some items will be changed to another meeting.
The Mayor said with regard to the request for public information, he has had no e-mails from the petitioner’s attorney for Walgreens, and has received no e-mails from any residents in support of Walgreens.
Commissioner Tully moved to adjourn to Executive Session pursuant to Section 2©(2) of the Open Meetings Act to consider collective bargaining and pursuant to Section 2©(6) of the Open Meetings Act to consider setting a price for real estate. Commissioner Urban seconded.
VOTE : YEA – Commissioners Tully, Urban, Zabloudil, Sandack, McConnell, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski
Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried and the Council convened into Executive Session at 9:48 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh