1. Call to Order
Mayor Brian Krajewski called the regular meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Downers Grove Village Hall.
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
Mayor Krajewski led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
2. Roll Call
Present: Commissioner Ron Sandack, Commissioner Stan Urban, Commissioner Martin Tully, Commissioner Mark Zabloudil and Mayor Brian Krajewski Absent: Commissioner Marilyn Schnell Non Voting: Village Manager Riccardo Ginex, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca and Village Clerk April Holden
Mayor Krajewski said he would like to remind everyone present that the Council meeting is broadcast over the local FM radio station, WDGC . In addition, a tape recording and videotape of the meeting are being made using Village owned equipment. The videotape of the meeting will be used for later rebroadcast of the Council meeting over the Village cable television Channel 6.
The Council will follow the rules of conduct for this meeting as provided in Sec. 2.5 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code. These offer the public the opportunity to comment at several points in the meeting. First, immediately following approval of the minutes of the past meetings, an opportunity will be given for public comments and questions on the active agenda items for this evening’s meeting. Following this, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions on any subject. Finally, if a public hearing is scheduled for this meeting, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions related to the subject of the hearing.
The Mayor stated that at the appropriate time the presiding officers will ask if there are any comments from the public. If anyone wishes to speak, the individual should raise their hand to be recognized and, after acknowledgment from the presiding officer, approach the microphone and state their name and address. He stated that remarks be limited to five minutes, and asked that individuals refrain from making repetitive statements.
The Mayor said there are agendas located on either side of the Council Chambers, and he invited the audience to pick up an agenda and follow the progress of the Council meeting.
3. Minutes of Workshop and Council Meetings
Executive Session Minutes for Approval Only – November 23, 2004, December 7, 2004 and December 14, 2004 Council Meeting – December 21, 2004 There being no additions or corrections to the minutes, Mayor Krajewski said they would be filed as submitted.
4. Public Comments and Questions
A. Comments and Questions on Active Agenda
Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh, said he had comments regarding the report on the December dialogue on fiscal priorities and the Village mission statement input survey. He said he enjoyed participating in the community dialogue and on-line mission statement survey. He said he appreciates having the results available. He said there may have been a tabulation error regarding the birth dates of those who attended the dialogue. He said it was mentioned during the dialogue that the attendees and the rest of the Village would get feedback and an understanding as to how this information is taken into account. He said he supports a comment made by Commissioner Tully who suggested that there by an opportunity for public comments at the end of the budget workshops. He said he thought this was an excellent idea.
Mayor Krajewski said he thinks Commissioner Tully has refined that suggestion such that an opportunity for comments be made after each department has made their presentation so that the public will not have to wait until all the presentations are done before speaking.
Commissioner Tully said there has been a call from the residents and support from the Council to make the budget process more interactive. In the past, a discussion may go on for five hours with no opportunity for public comment. In order to be more interactive, he suggested that, after a department has made their presentation and the Council has had an opportunity to ask questions, the meeting be opened up for a reasonable opportunity for public questions or comments. He also suggested that the budget meetings be video-taped so they can be viewed by everyone.
Dr. Goodman agreed with Commissioner Tully and said he supports those suggestions, but noted they would not be a complete replacement for a general comment at the end of the meeting. He said this is consistent with what happened in the 80’s and 90’s. He said this suggestion is a good midpoint between the formality required now and the informality of the past.
B. Comments and Questions on General Matters
Laurel Bowen, 829 Clyde, said it is time to make New Year’s resolutions for 2005. She noted a recent front page article of the Chicago Tribune’s finance section entitled, “Ring a New Resolve for 2005.” It encourages people to save for a rainy day and to cut debt. She said that under Home Rule the unlimited power of Village government to issue general obligation bonds has created a massive, unfunded debt burden that is now the responsibility of Downers Grove taxpayers to pay off. A re-examination of Home Rule authority is both needed and prudent. She said Lombard voted out Home Rule years ago. In December, Lombard voted to increase their tax levy by 4% while Downers Grove voted to increase our tax levy 8.5%. Last year Home Rule allowed Downers Grove to increase our tax levy 26.9% and in 2002, it increased 42.8%. She said Downers Grove is making Home Rule tax increases the road to home ruin for many. Citizens are trying to express specific questions and concerns regarding Village finances. Our leadership just wants to discuss general goals and a mission statement. It is this lack of focus on financial details and reality that is getting us into trouble. Home Rule has been an open door to ever higher taxes, including the increase in our sales tax to 7.5% in 2004. The door keeps opening wider. The non-Home Rule Village of Oak Brook insisted on a balanced budget last month. They have a reserve fund of $6.6 million that they want to increase to $8.3 million. The Village trustees are not happy with deficit spending in Oak Brook. The members of Downers Grove Watch are not happy with deficit spending either. Previously, the Downers Grove Watch could have meetings at the library. As taxpayers, they pay for the use of the room. It appears that nothing is scheduled at the library Saturday, January 8, 2005, but the Downers Grove Watch was not permitted to hold the annual meeting there. She asked if this was an oversight of the Village library management. It is inappropriate and unacceptable for the library to take a stand on a political issue. This Saturday the Downers Grove Watch will be collecting petitions and signatures at the Lincoln Center, thanks to the Park District, in room 503 from 10:00 a.m. to noon. She invited everyone to attend.
Mayor Krajewski asked the Village Attorney to check with Lombard as to how they put a 1% food and beverage tax in place if they are not a Home Rule community.
Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager, said this has not been challenged.
Commissioner Tully said Home Rule is an important topic that everyone should become educated about order to make their own decision. He said there are many misconceptions. Ultimately the community will decide if Downers Grove will remain Home Rule as it has been since the 70’s. He said some of the issues raised by the speaker with respect to raising debt through the issuance of general obligation bonds or the amount and level of taxes has nothing to do with Home Rule, but rather with the decisions of the community and the decisions of those who represent the community. These things do not happen because of Home Rule, but rather because of the realities we face and balancing competing interests. Commissioner Tully encouraged those who may be dissatisfied with the direction of the community not to take away Home Rule which is a very valuable tool. Many communities, such as Oak Brook Terrace, are voting it in because it is a valuable tool that serves the local needs of the residents. If people are dissatisfied with the direction of the community, he urged them to think about changing the leadership, not taking away the power to govern your own issues. He referred those wanting more information to the Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies which has a great deal of statistical, objective evidence on the history of Home Rule in the State of Illinois throughout the last 30 years. He said people will get a straightforward, unbiased, data-supported description of the pros and cons from which they can reach their own decisions.
Mayor Krajewski asked the Village Attorney to check into the library’s policies regarding room reservations, as the library indirectly falls under the Village jurisdiction. The Mayor said he spoke with one of the attorneys regarding the library’s newsletter. He asked the Village Attorney to contact them regarding participation in referenda.
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she will contact the library’s attorney.
Barry Peckhart, 1028 61st Street, referenced information he reviewed on the Village’s web site regarding a fire and building code Power Point presentation done by the Fire Chief. It referenced amendments that Commissioner McConnell had. Today he was unable to find the original presentation or the amendments on the web site.
Attorney Petrarca said the information was removed as it is currently under review. She said she does not anticipate this being on the next workshop.
Village Manager Rick Ginex said the amendments had not been on the web site.
Mr. Peckhart said he would like to know what the amendments to the Code will be.
Attorney Petrarca said that chart had not been put on the web site, but all of the information will be made available.
The Mayor said he also has not received all of the information. He would like to receive it so he can analyze the changes and get a good understanding of what the changes mean.
Commissioner McConnell said the Public Safety Committee had a side-by-side comparison which she thought was going to be copied and passed onto the Council.
Attorney Petrarca said they are taking a closer look at it and it may be revised. The Council will then get copies. The Mayor asked for a copy of the original comparison. The Manager said he would supply a copy to the Mayor.
Edveta Wolf, 5123 Carpenter Street, said she had been a treasurer of a corporation and is concerned about the TIF money and how much money the Village owes. She said she would like to know how much money is owed, the kind of bonds being paid off, and whether the original TIF bond has been paid off.
The Mayor said the bonds are for a long period of time. The Main Street bonds are four or five years old. They all have interest rates stated on them which are different depending on the market rate when the bond was sold. He said that information can be made available to Ms. Wolf.
Ms. Wolf said she wanted the information for the people of Downers Grove, not particularly for herself. Before adding to the TIF , we should know where we are and our debt level. She said it is important to know what is within our budget. We have a lot of money that we owe and it worries her. She said that before starting another huge project people should know how much money is outstanding.
The Mayor said that at a recent Workshop a TIF report was presented which showed the total outstanding interest and principal for all the bonds. It was at a public meeting that was videotaped and rebroadcast. He said there are a few other outstanding bonds including the library, Fairview Avenue, and the water department for the meters. He said the parking deck is part of the TIF . He said the only big project on the horizon is Belmont underpass, which is approximately $36 million and involves no Village funds. Regarding Curtiss Block, the Mayor said the Council is in negotiations and does not anticipate any Village bonds or TIF monies involved. Council is not discussing any new debt for this project.
Ms. Wolf said the town needs an overhaul job. It needs to start at the ground floor, examining where to put traffic. She urged the Council to get started and to tell people the extent to which the Village is in debt.
The Mayor said the TIF information from the Workshop would be made available again.
Bea Bennett, 913 Clyde Drive, said she would like to discuss teardowns. She said people are waiting for directions, guidelines and rules that were promised during the community dialogue. She said this was a great town effort with considerable feedback from the citizens as to their concerns, but she has not seen any products yet. People are asking what is happening and homes are being torn down. People would like to know their rights and what is being done as to enforcement of the ordinances.
Manager Ginex said Code Enforcement has met twice with a number of builders as well as with the Planning Department and the Legal Department to discuss a number of issues that came out of the dialogue. He said staff plans to come back to the Council within the next month or so.
Ms. Bennett said many people would love to see the results.
The Mayor asked Ms. Bennett if there were issues she would like to see addressed. She said the dialogue covered that, although she noted that on her street an angled house has a garage facing the street which she finds to be an insulting view. She said if a property has frontage on the street, the house should face the street. She said many valid opinions were brought out at the forum.
The Mayor asked residents to give specific issues.
Ms. Bennett said she was amazed at the article in the library newsletter. She said she is not allowed to petition in any public building. She said it is illegal for the library to use a newsletter to give their view. She said she thinks they should rescind that article and make a public retraction.
The Mayor said he read the newsletter and in his opinion it gave information and did not take a position. He asked the legal department to review the matter.
Ms. Bennett disagreed and said it gave a position. She said if the legal department finds that the library overstepped, she would appreciate a retraction.
Laurel Bowen, 829 Clyde Drive, said she has opinions about teardowns and how improvements can be made. She said variations should be analyzed as too many are granted. She referenced two houses on Lyman at 59th Street and south of Blanchard that are being replaced with three houses each. There are six houses where there used to be two. One of the lots was very swampy and the Village is disregarding stormwater issues there. There is another teardown taking place in that area now. The new homes will overpower the existing homes. The contractors leave big dirt clods in the street. Further, the contractors park on both sides of the streets, sometimes closing off or blocking the street with their equipment. When she spoke with Code Enforcement about this, she was told that it would be too hard to enforce and someone would have to go to the site daily. She said on Washington Street there was traffic parked on both sides of the street such that she could not get through. She said Hinsdale requires people to maintain the existing footprint in their teardowns. She said if Downers Grove did that it would eliminate a stormwater problem. She asked why she should lose her sunlight when a house next to hers is torn down and the new house overpowers her house. Ms. Bowen said it was mentioned earlier that there are not projected expenses. She asked about the item on the agenda regarding authorizing $216,400 to Clark Dietz to develop a stormwater master plan. She said she was unfamiliar with what the stormwater master plan is, although it makes her nervous because the Council often refers to master plan as the “Bible” from which they cannot digress. She asked for an explanation of the master plan and whether there would be additional expenses.
Mayor Krajewski said this was discussed recently. Council had a number of concerns regarding this and asked that it be tabled. He said they were surprised it was on the agenda again and he thought there would be a motion made to remove it from the agenda. The Mayor said his earlier comment to Ms. Wolf was in reference to borrowing money. This expense was planned and in the capital projects fund.
Ms. Bowen said citizens are concerned about expenses. She said she was concerned about the stormwater master plan regardless of whether it is voted upon tonight because she has not seen anything explaining it in the newspaper. She referenced a stormwater meeting discussing whether citizens would be taxed.
The Mayor said staff could provide the information presented at the Workshop. In response to Ms. Bowen, he said there was information in the newspaper that this item would be discussed, material was made available on the web site and at the library. There was a lengthy discussion at the Workshop meeting.
The Manager said it was still available on the web site. Ms. Bowen said not everyone has web site access. She said stormwater is still a big issue and it impacts all the residents.
The Manager said the master plan is to address stormwater issues. The plan will identify problematic areas.
Commissioner Tully said the Council is very concerned about stormwater. He said that best practices by those who are stormwater engineers indicate that a community should update their stormwater master plan every 30 years. We are beyond that time frame. We are coming in under budget with respect to the cost. It is a big, comprehensive undertaking that involves the entire Village and mapping issues to determine where there are areas that may have stormwater concerns that need to be addressed. This will allow for prioritizing the numerous stormwater projects so that the money we have can be spent most efficiently and effectively. This has been discussed for a number of months and it was the recommendation of the Stormwater Utility Exploratory Commission that rather than pursuing a stormwater utility, the Village should first update its stormwater master plan to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the stormwater demands and needs in the entire community so they can be better addressed through whatever funding mechanism might be used. This will be a tool that will allow us to better address stormwater issues Village-wide and better allocate resources. Commissioner Tully said this is a specialized area and experts need to be hired to do this as it needs to be done properly. It is called a plan but it is really a study. The result will be a tool that Public Works can use to better address stormwater issues in our community.
The Mayor said he agrees with a number of issues Ms. Bowen raised regarding teardowns. He said he has raised the issue of parking on both sides of the street a number of times. This creates a safety hazard when there is no sidewalk on one side of the road and children are trying to walk to school. He said this could be enforced by pulling their permits. The Mayor said the potholes and ruts left by the equipment are good issues to address. He said that because of the number of issues, more resources need to be allocated to Code Enforcement to address them. He said once builders know the rules will be enforced, they will comply.
Andy Clark, 1226 62nd Street, said he attended the fiscal dialogue last month. He said one issue that was raised and with which he agrees was that too many tax dollars are used to hire outside consultants. He said he attended the Stormwater Utility Exploratory Committee meetings. Jon Hall has a list of the problems in the Village. He asked if this is leading up to another new tax in the Village. He further asked why we cannot use our own experts in-house. He said there are many residents that are quite qualified in many areas who should be used.
Commissioner Tully clarified that the discussion about the fee per resident was in regard to a stormwater utility not a stormwater master plan. A stormwater master plan is something that best practices indicate needs to be done regardless of whether there is a utility because it will give a better idea of where dollars should be spent in addressing stormwater issues, despite the funding. The Commissioner said he shared Mr. Clark’s concern about using outside consultants, but in this matter, he was satisfied that this was a project that, due to its size, scope and required expertise, was not something that could be done in-house unless we shut down the stormwater permitting department for a couple of years. He agreed that the Council should always be very diligent to scrutinize the instances in which outside consultants are necessary to be sure we are getting the best return on our investment.
Mr. Clark noted that Mr. Hall had a print-out listing the problem areas within the Village. He said this was a good part of the master plan. Commissioner Tully said that would be used as would the recent survey that was conducted to lessen the amount of work a consultant would have to do. Commissioner Tully said it was his understanding that this was only part of the equation. Mr. Clark suggested working on these problems to the extent our limited funds would allow. He said he would like to see this started.
Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh, said that with regard to the master plan for stormwater management there was a Novotny plan developed in the late 60’s. As a result of that plan, one of the basic concepts developed in the Village was to install relatively small drainage pipes and to rely on in-place detention after a storm. A Mayor’s ad hoc committee on flood plain acquisition was later appointed as it is important that the flood plains in the Village are not built upon. Otherwise big pipes are needed to drain all the water immediately after a storm. Downers Grove has had a philosophy of wanting to hold a lot of the water in the community. It is still a very important principle to not overtax the streams, to hold as much water in the community as possible and to recharge the groundwater. A systematic set of detention facilities throughout the community rather than little, individual detention areas built in subdivisions is very important. Further, if a lot is redeveloped, there are no local detention requirements provided it is a small number of homes to be constructed. The master plan should review this. He suggested that detention be maintained with redevelopment and there may even be a need to require additional detention on the property. He said perhaps there is a need to require flood plain that has been developed to be replaced with a park. He said these issue will be addressed in the new master plan for drainage management. He encouraged the Council and staff to look at the basic philosophy underlying the drainage management over the last 30 years and implement it in the new master plan. It may involve buying back some properties that were improperly developed. It may result in a lower capital expense than building storm sewers to manage the properties. He said he is fully supportive of a well-designed master plan consultancy.
Dr. Goodman said regarding redevelopments and teardowns, some of the specifics in the Community First approach to redevelopment that Naperville and some private individuals in Naperville have developed would be useful to incorporate into ordinances in Downers Grove. He said he is aware that the Council has ordered copies of the Community First workbook. He asked the Council to alert the staff that the workbook is a gold mine of ideas for how to make a development that fits into the neighborhood and community rather than one that stresses the community. Some of the ideas can be incorporated into ordinances and some are attitude changes that need to be encouraged.
5. Public Hearings
6. Consent Agenda
Commissioner Tully moved to remove Item AGR 00 -01807, a contract authorizing $216,400 to Clark Dietz, Inc. to develop a stormwater master plan from the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Urban seconded the Motion.
AYES : Commissioners Tully, Urban, Sandack, Zabloudil, McConnell, Mayor Krajewski NAYS : None Mayor Krajewski declared the Motion passed.
COR00 -01820 Claim Ordinance: No. 5563, Payroll, December 24, 2004 A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
BIL00 -01821 List of Bills Payable: No. 5556, January 4, 2005 Sponsors: Accounting Indexes: N/A
BID00 -01802 Bid: Extend 2004 Beer Garden Vendor Agreement with the Downers Grove Rotary Club for 2005 Heritage Festival Beer Garden Sponsors: Tourism and Events Commission A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Heritage Festival 2005
MOT00 -01805 Motion: Approve 2005 Heritage Festival Budget Sponsors: Tourism and Events Commission Summary of Item: This concurs in the recommendations of the Tourism & Events Commission related to the 2005 Heritage Festival budget. The projected budget includes $437,690.00 in expenses for the Heritage Festival, including fireworks and parade. A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Tourism and Events Commission Passed The Consent Agenda
The Consent Agenda as amended was passed. A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Urban, that the consent agenda be passed. The motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Zabloudil and Mayor Krajewski
7. Active Agenda
AGR00 -01807 Contract: Authorize $216,400 to Clark Dietz, Inc. to Develop Stormwater Master Plan Sponsors: Public Works Commissioner McConnell asked about the next steps and how this issue would be resolved.
Mayor Krajewski said he has questions and concerns and thinks this matter should be re-bid.
Commissioner Tully said it is being tabled because members of the Council still had questions with respect to the process. Even though some of those questions have been answered there are still some outstanding questions and this is being tabled as a matter of courtesy so Council members have additional time to work out those issues. He said it remains to be seen whether the process needs to be redone.
The Mayor said he would like to see what the scope of the project is and then bid it out on a competitive process. It sounded as if everyone was qualified but staff only looked at the financials for three of the eight companies. Staff negotiated the contract higher with Clark Dietz.
The Mayor asked about the categorization of this on the agenda. Village Clerk April Holden said she categorized this as an agreement as Mr. Millette stated previously that this was not a bid. Ms. Holden said this was the first time she had used this category with the Legistar system. Village Attorney Petrarca said this would normally be a resolution on the Active Agenda but was place on the Consent Agenda in an attempt to better utilize our Consent Agenda.
Commissioner Tully said he appreciates the Mayor’s concerns and questions. He said he has been contacted by some professionals in areas such as engineering and legal services. He said these matters are not typically “bid out.”
The Mayor said there are two companies that do a considerable amount of work in stormwater in Downers Grove. One was not asked to bid and the second one was second. There were conflicting reports as well. He said Clark Dietz has not done any work in Downers Grove since 1970 and was not currently working in DuPage County and yet the Council was told that the company needs to know the County stormwater requirement.
Commissioner McConnell said she thought there was some merit, when looking at professional services, to look at qualifications first. She said she understands this is the first attempt to do this and there may be lessons to be learned from this. However, she feels there is some benefit to looking at the process and how to make it work best for our community. She said part of the negotiation piece was also new to us and there may be ways to improve that. She said she feels there is a benefit of looking at qualifications of professionals and then figuring out how to negotiate the best deal. A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Urban, to Table Indefinitely this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Zabloudil and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Stormwater Master Plan
MOT00 -01810 Motion: Authorize $10,000 for Community Sponsorship of the Prairie State Games Sponsors: Community Events Summary of Item: This shall authorize sponsorship by the Village of Downers Grove in the amount of $10,000.00. The Prairie State Games are to be held June 24-27, 2005. Commissioner McConnell said her concerns are not about the Prairie State Games, which sound like a beneficial activity, but there were unanswered questions and information that she perceived differently during the presentation than when she received answers to questions. She said she was unclear as to what was presented by the Prairie State people as well as the DuPage Visitors Bureau. She said Mary Scalzetti, Director, Tourism and Events, has been working to get additional information. She said she is uncomfortable that the information the Council got was not as well organized and accurate as she would have preferred it to be. Her other major issue is that $20,000 is being requested that is not in the budget and Council would have to take it from somewhere else if it came out of this year’s budget. Based on feedback from the hoteliers, it sounds like the Village will get the hotel business regardless of this. Her preference would be to wait on this and put it into next year’s budget if the questions are sufficiently addressed and if the Council can see how this will benefit the Village.
In response to the Mayor, Commissioner McConnell said she has the information she needs.
Ms. Scalzetti clarified that the Prairie State Game people received some of the information on the hotels the day they appeared before the Council. She said she thinks the misinformation was an error and not done purposely. The hotel number presented was for the entire weekend. The hoteliers feel this is a great event and that some amount of hotel sponsorship is a good public relations approach. Ms. Scalzetti said she would be glad to gather any additional information if requested.
Mayor Krajewski said he does not need any additional information. He said he would not authorize $20,000 although he would like to see the Village be a sponsor at $10,000. He recommended the money come out of next year’s budget and suggested that $5,000 come from community grants, as that would be an appropriate use of those funds, and $5,000 from the general fund. He noted that the Council has approved 8% of the hotel taxes to be used for community grants. He estimated the community grants funds for next year to be at approximately $56,000. He said he felt this would be at the top of the list for funding as it is an event that brings people into our community who will stay in our hotels. He said he agreed with Commissioner Urban that some of the money awarded in community grants do not actually go toward bringing people into our hotels. The money will be in next year’s budget.
Commissioner Tully said he does not need additional information. He said he appreciated the opportunity to think about being a community sponsor for the Prairie State Games. He said his concern was with the manner and timing as the Council does not have money set aside for this in this year’s budget. He said it was appropriate to ask questions with respect to scrutinizing what the return on the investment might be for the community. He said from the information provided it did not seem as though there would be a significant enough return on the investment at this time to warrant going outside of the existing budget. In the future, it might be worth getting input from Community Grants regarding this sponsorship.
Ms. Scalzetti clarified that this is a three-year bid and we could look to fund this in future budgets. She said the Village will lose some of the benefits associated with sponsorship if the Council waits until the next fiscal year. The Village would miss out on the January through March activities, particularly with respect to printed information.
The Mayor asked about last year’s funding level for Community Grants. Ms. Scalzetti said it was approximately $56,000.00.
Commissioner Urban said he asked Maureen Moore, President and CEO of Prairie State Games, if she could wait to receive funds until May. She responded that with the commitment that the funds would come in May, she would be able to wait. He said he asked this question because this is not budgeted. He said he is comfortable going ahead with this with the commitment that the Prairie State Games would wait until this is approved out of next year’s budget. Commissioner Urban said he does not see the justification for $20,000 sponsorship. He said $20,000 is not the only sponsorship level. The range is from a few dollars to $75,000. He would support sponsorship in the 2005 Prairie State Games in the amount of $10,000 to be disbursed after May 1, 2005. He said most of the hotels here are full-service properties. The financial benefit is not just the hotel stays or tax dollars, but money spent in retail sales while people are here. He noted that the Council is pleased that the ProCriterium races are held in the Village. He said he feels the Prairie State Games is the tip of the iceberg for Downers Grove and all of DuPage County in that all of the communities can benefit from the exposure and can expect people to return to our community if they are treated well. He said he would support sending a letter of commitment outlining that we would not pay anything until our next fiscal year and that we would fund this for $10,000.00.
Mayor Krajewski said that the other communities that have committed to this will benefit as will the high school booster clubs. He noted that this event is a way to market the community.
Commissioner Urban requested that District 58 be added to the Motion’s summary as they have made a commitment to the games.
Ms. Scalzetti said the games are a good thing for Downers Grove. It will bring people to the community. For the next two years, the games will coincide with the Heritage Festival weekend. She said with advance notice, they can work out parking issues. She said this is good for DuPage County and Downers Grove. A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Urban, to Table Indefinitely this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Zabloudil and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Prairie State Games
REP00 -01822 Presentation to Village Council on the Results of the December Dialogue on Fiscal Priorities and Village Mission Statement Input Survey Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager, explained efforts taken over the last few months to engage members of the community regarding the Village’s priority areas fiscally and in consideration of the draft mission statement. Mr. Baker said one of the goals given to the Village Manager is to enhance public communication, visibility and service accountability by implementing at least two specific methods for obtaining citizen input into the fiscal year 05/06 budget process. Staff has worked through the Finance and Administrative Committee and identified two opportunities. The first is a survey made available to all residents electronically on the web site and hard copy. The results of the survey are included in a report provided to Council. The report is available on the web site and is in the library. In addition, staff conducted a December dialogue meeting held on December 4, 2004 at the Park District Recreation Center. The community was invited to participate and the purpose of the dialogue was to have discussion on matters related to the fiscal priorities and objectives. The results were encouraging although the turnout was low. He said he received 41 responses to the survey. He said he did not want to diminish the efforts of those who participated and to provide information. Mr. Baker said the information in the report will be used during the budget process. Regarding the survey, Mr. Baker said it was structured around the components of the mission statement provided at an earlier date to the Council. One of the comments from the Council was that they would like to see more input from the community on the mission statement. Mr. Baker said the process will continue. Budget reviews have been scheduled for February 5 and February 12, 2005. More information will be available shortly.
Commissioner Tully said he appreciated the report and input of residents. He noted the competing and contrasting viewpoints included in the report. By way of example, he noted that with regard to promoting and providing for cultural and community based activities, the first comment was that not enough was done to support cultural arts and the next comment was that too much is done and it should be stopped. Commissioner Tully said the Council is balancing competing interests. The struggle is to balance the interests and come up with what is in the best interests of the community. He said these are helpful tools that will be used to do that.
Mayor Krajewski said he was concerned that only 28 people participated. This represents a snapshot of 28 people rather a sample of the entire community. He thanked those who were involved. He said he hoped more residents would participate in the budget hearings.
Commissioner Zabloudil said this was presented to the Finance and Administrative Committee. The Committee recommended bringing this to the Council for review. On the financial side, there are budget meetings coming up. Regarding the mission statement, the Committee has discussed this in detail and staff tried to gather information at the dialogue session. Staff would like feedback as to where this fits in the priorities. If more needs to be done, staff would like that direction in order to understand what needs to be done.
The Mayor said the Mission Statement was only addressed for a few minutes at the end of the dialogue. He said he thinks this needs to involve the entire community in developing a strong mission statement similar to what was done by District 58 several years ago. At that time, they had residents and community leaders meet on five nights for several hours each to craft a well thought out mission statement. They will soon begin a process to see if it needs to be modified. This process provides for the community to help put it forward and adopt it rather than having only the Council and staff develop the statement. The Mayor said this would necessitate several months of work to put it together.
Commissioner McConnell said, regarding the Mission Statement, she thought it would be beneficial to get additional feedback. She said the Council needs to look at where this fits into all of the priorities in terms of the timing. If it is a high priority, they need to decide what comes down on priority list. They need to decide when this needs to be done. She said she thinks this is probably a six to nine month activity. Regarding the survey report, Commissioner McConnell agreed that opinions go back and forth on most issues. The exceptions are public safety and the basic public works activities, and she said in terms of the budget, it is important to look at how to most efficiently and effectively provide these services. The survey results provide statistical data ranging from people strongly agreeing to strongly disagreeing. She suggested that during the budget process there may be a benefit at looking at those areas where 20-25% of respondents either disagree or strongly disagree to see if there might be a better way to address those issues within the budget process and within the services provided.
Commissioner Zabloudil said he understands the Mission Statement is a priority and it may take more time and a review of priorities.
Commissioner Tully said comments from the Council have not yet been worked into the Mission Statement. Indexes: Mission Statement, Budget 2005/06
8. Mayor’s Report
Materials to be Received – Minutes
Human Service Commission – December 1, 2004 Liquor Commission – December 9, 2004 Parking & Traffic Commission – October 13, 2004 Plan Commission – October 18, 2004 Transportation Advisory Commission – October 21, 2004 & November 18, 2004 A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Urban, to Note Receipt Of this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Zabloudil and Mayor Krajewski
Materials to be Received – Monthly Reports
The Mayor asked a question about the General Fund. He said the projected surplus as discussed during the tax levy presentation was $1.67 million. The Treasurer’s report now shows $2.2 million. He asked for the current projection.
Rita Trainor, Director, Financial Services, said the tax levy presentation has not been updated. The Treasurer’s report is based on seven months of actual expenses and an estimate for five months that represents a budget figure as if the budget had been spent in exactly the same proportion as the actual of the previous fiscal year. Ms. Trainor said she had some examples where the expenses will not be in the same proportion as the last fiscal year, which will result in a different surplus amount.
The Mayor asked Ms. Trainor to highlight those items where the expenses will not meet the projections in order to better determine the surplus.
Mike Baker said the department heads have been asked to provide estimates on every account number.
The Mayor said it looks like the revenues will be higher than estimated. Sales tax has been trending very high over the last several months. He reviewed the figures for August through November. In the last four months it has been over a million dollars each month. He said $900,000 has been budgeted for each of the next few months, but he anticipates the sales taxes coming in at over a million dollars each month. He reviewed the Home Rule sales tax and compared it to last year’s amounts. He said if the revenues continue, the surplus will be higher than projected. He asked that staff to review the monthly average calculated for the Home Rule sales tax.
Commissioner Zabloudil said the expenses relative to car sales need to be included due to the incentive agreements. Cars are also exempt from the Home Rule sales tax.
The Mayor asked the Council members about the Request for Proposal (RFP) to sell the Village-owned property at Main and Maple.
Commissioner McConnell said she had questions she sent to Commissioner Tully and the Village Manager. She said she is concerned about the language in a few sections that might imply that the Village would be a potential partner.
Commissioner Tully said he had no comments.
The Mayor asked Attorney Petrarca and Mr. Baker to review Commissioner McConnell’s comments within the next week. In response to Commissioner McConnell, the RFP will be sent to everyone who has expressed interest as well as making it available through the public process.
The Mayor asked about eliminating the Rose Realty sign as it is at a gateway location. These are the signs located at the former Fannie May building at the corner of Burlington and Main Street.
Commissioner Tully said a number of residents have expressed concern about the appearance. It is a gateway into our downtown. As a Village-owned building, we are the landlord and the issue is whether we can request a change to the sign. He said he is in favor of pursuing this matter.
Commissioner McConnell said she does not find it as personally insulting as others do, but acknowledged that there has been considerable feedback about it and would recommend talking to the tenants to see if this can be resolved.
Commissioner Zabloudil said it is obtrusive. He said he would be in favor of approaching the tenants to see if it can be scaled back.
Commissioner Sandack said the business at the site is a tenant. He agreed that the Village should discuss the matter with the tenant and let them know our opinion.
9. Manager’s Report
The Manager congratulated staff member Dan Grecco on becoming a Licensed Professional Engineer. To accomplish this he had to pass two eight-hour exams and complete a four-year apprenticeship after earning a Bachelor of Science degree. The Manager congratulated Mr. Grecco on his efforts to bring more professionalism to the Public Works staff.
The Manager said a large amount of snow is expected over the next two days. Regarding snow emergency plans, the Village will declare a snow emergency when the snow falls to a depth of three or more inches within 24 hours. The Village will remain under a snow emergency status for up to 48 hours or until the snow removal operations are deemed completed by the Public Works Director. During a declared snow emergency, the parking of vehicles is prohibited on any street or within any public parking lot between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. It is unlawful to deposit snow from private property unto any Village street, sidewalk, or right-of-way. Residents with school-age children are reminded that they can check the status of school closings by call the emergency school closing hotline at 434-6800. Information on school closings will be available by 6:15 a.m. and will be updated regularly until 9:00 a.m. He said the projection is for 5 to 11 inches of snow.
Mr. Ginex said that over the Christmas holiday everyone saw the tragedy that hit Indoesia and Southern Asia. Mr. Ginex said he is exploring options for the community to help the victims of this tragedy. He has had preliminary discussions with Linda Kunze of the Downtown Management and Barb Wysocki of the Chamber of Commerce to develop an aid drive on behalf of the Village of Downers Grove.
The Mayor said he received an e-mail from a resident regarding aid organizations that are accepting donations.
10. Attorney’s Report
Future Active Agenda
11.Committee Standing Reports
Finance & Administrative Committee
Commissioner Zabloudil said the Committee met this evening and discussed the General Obligation TIF bonds with respect to refinancing. Based on the bond market, there may be an opportunity to save money through refinancing for the same term. The interest rate is 4.1% which is a savings of over $500,000 over the life of the bonds. They are looking at bank qualified bonds which offer an opportunity for savings based on the Village’s ratings. The limit is $10 million. Refinancing this year would preclude the Village from any other bank qualified bonds next year, but, in discussion, the Committee found it does not anticipated significant expenditures in 2005/06. Additional funds could be borrowed if needed, but they would not be bank qualified bonds and the Village would pay a slightly higher interest rate. Staff will work with bond counsel to develop a proposal for refinancing.
The Mayor asked about Northern Trust lowering their fees to match the low bidder.
Commissioner Zabloudil said that was not discussed.
The Mayor noted that the audit recommendations reference bank reconciliations. He asked how long it takes staff to reconcile bank statements.
Rita Trainor, Director, Financial Services, said it currently takes longer than one month due to some of the processes in the software. She explained the general ledger system and said there are hundreds of pages for cash transactions. Ms. Trainor said typically, accounting departments try to have a statement reconciled before they receive the next statement.
The Mayor said this should be run on the financial software.
Commissioner Zabloudil said there are other issues as well and the Committee has discussed the financial package and their plans to address this.
Public Safety Committee
Commissioner McConnell said no meeting has been scheduled. With respect to the Fire Code, they are waiting for additional information to come back from the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Management Corporation, etc. for another review. The other issue pending is the surveillance of the railroad crossings. She said she does not anticipate these coming forward before the end of the month.
Public Services Committee
Commissioner Tully said the next meeting is scheduled for January 18, 2005 at 5:45 p.m. in the Committee Room.
12.Council Member Reports and New Business
Commissioner Zabloudil asked for an update on the buses as he expects people to be taking them due to the weather. The Manager said they are up and running and all set to go.
The Mayor asked for a follow-up.
Commissioner Sandack reiterated that there will be opportunities for citizen input on the budget. There are two budget meetings scheduled for Saturday, February 5 and Saturday, February 12 at locations to be determined. Materials will be made available no later than January 28, 2005. He invited people to participate in the discussions of competing priorities, what Village services should be provided and in what dollar amounts.
The Mayor asked that an executive summary be made part of the budget report.
Commissioner Tully said the Council is continuing its experiment of moving Coffee with the Council around the Village to bring it to the residents. The January 15, 2005 Coffee with the Council is tentatively scheduled to be held at American Legion Post #80, 4000 Saratoga at 9:00 a.m. Commissioner Tully thanked Commission Sandack for encouraging people to attend the budget meetings. He said Mike Baker sent letter inviting those who participated in the Community Dialogue to the budget meetings. He asked if those who participated on-line in the survey could also be invited. Mr. Baker said he will look into this. Commissioner Tully said See’s Candies will have a grand opening on January 13, 2005. The president of the company will be in attendance and on Good Morning America.
Mayor Krajewski said a press release went out last week regarding the Curtiss Block Development. The Council could not come to terms with Opus Group and has begun negotiations with New England Builders.
Commissioner Tully moved to adjourn to Executive Session pursuant to Section 2©(11) of the Open Meetings Act to consider pending litigation, Section 2©(1) of the Open Meetings Act to consider personnel, and pursuant to Section 2©(2) of the Open Meetings Act to collective negotiating matters. Commissioner Urban seconded.
VOTE : YEA – Commissioners Tully, Urban, Sandack, Zabloudil, McConnell, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski
Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried and the Council convened into Executive Session at 8:28 p.m