Skip to main content

July 12, 2005

Mayor Krajewski called the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Village Hall.

Present:Mayor Brian Krajewski; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, Martin Tully, Sue McConnell, Ron Sandack, William Waldack; Village Manager Riccardo Ginex; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca, Village Clerk April Holden

Absent: Commissioner Stan Urban

Mayor Krajewski asked for a Motion to move into Executive Session. Commissioner Tully moved to go into Executive Session pursuant to Section 2©(1) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act to consider personnel. Commissioner McConnell seconded the Motion.

VOTE : AYE – Commissioners Tully, McConnell, Waldack, Sandack, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski NAY – None

Mayor Krajewski declared the Motion carried and the Council convened into Executive Session at 5:31p.m.

Mayor Krajewski reconvened the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove 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; Village Manager Riccardo Ginex; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden

Absent:Commissioner Stan Urban

Visitors: Press: Kevin Stahr, Downers Grove Reporter; Mike Mitchell, Downers Grove Sun Residents: John Schofield, 1125 Jefferson Avenue; Jane Amorosi 5742 Dearborn Parkway; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore; Martha and Perry Martin, 5207 Fairview; Daniel Loftus, 4704 Main Street Staff: Mike Millette, Assistant Director, Public Works; Rita Trainor, Director, Financial Services; Lieutenant Bill Budds, Police Department; Dave Barber, Director, Public Works; Don Rosenthal, Director, Code Services; Dave Friedman, Deputy Village Manager; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Keith Sbiral, Director, Planning & Community Development; Don Scheidler, Chief Building Inspector, Code 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.


Consent Agenda Items

Bid: 2005 Sidewalk Construction Program (S-004). Village Manager Rick Ginex said bids were received for eight street segments: 1) Palmer Street, between Saratoga Avenue and Main Street; 2) Sterling Road, between Ogden Avenue and 39th Street; 3) Stonewall Avenue, between Ogden Avenue and Grant Street; 4) Adelia Street, between Saratoga Avenue and Main Street; 5) Carol Street, between Saratoga Avenue and Main Street; 6) Osage Avenue, between 60th Street and 61st Street; 7) Downers Drive, between Ogden Avenue and Grant Street; and 8) Webster Street, between 55th Street and 59th Street. Staff recommends awarding the contract to A&R Cement, Inc. of Bartlett, Illinois. The bid amount is $304,250.85 and was 17% below the engineer’s estimate.

Commissioner Tully referenced the remaining $27,750.00. He asked if these funds could be used for Gilbert Avenue.

Mike Millette , Assistant Director, Public Works, answered affirmatively.

Commissioner Tully asked if this would decrease the total costs.

Mr. Millette said it would lessen the amount needed from the contingency fund. He said the last estimate on Gilbert is in the low $300,000.00.

Commissioner Tully asked about the progress on Gilbert Avenue

Mr. Millette said some of the site surveying and conceptual design work is finished. He explained other steps that have been taken. He said the plans are to be available next week. The Park District and Forest Preserve have both given indications that they are in agreement with this.

Mr. Ginex said he spoke with Forest Preserve Commissioner Wally Brown about this matter.

The Mayor asked if he should talk to the board members. Mr. Millette said it would be a good idea.

Commissioner Waldack said he has budget questions on the next item.

Christine Fregeau , 1918 Elmore, asked if the estimate for restoration includes trees.

Mr. Millette said this is for sod. He said tree replacement will be done next year as part of the tree replacement program.

Ms. Fregeau said she does not want to rely on conversations from many years ago. She said this project may take longer than anticipated, and she urged the Council to stay on top of it.

Mayor Krajewski asked the Manager’s office to talk with the Executive Director of the Forest Preserve.

Commissioner Tully noted that items 14, 15 & 16 on the bid tab deal with trees.

Mr. Millette said A&R Cement had a contract with the Village last year and will comply with restrictions to protect parkway trees.

Commissioner Schnell asked if there have been neighborhood meetings.

Mr. Millette said meetings were held. Three design changes were made based on comments from the neighbors.

Mayor Krajewski noted that there have been comments that Chicago Avenue gets more walkers than segment #7, Downers Drive, but is further down the list.

2006 Sidewalk Survey Services. The Manager said the approved sidewalk matrix calls for seven sidewalk segments to be installed in 2006. He said $20,000 has been set aside for survey services. The Village has spent approximately $3,000 on survey work performed for completion of the 2005 Sidewalk Program, leaving approximately $17,000. Two bids were received. Staff is recommending awarding a contract to DJ Loftus & Associates, LLC for four segments in the amount of $14,370.00, and a contract to CM Lavoie & Associates, Inc. for three segments in the amount of $5,160.00.

Mayor Krajewski suggested staff look at doing the survey work for an additional seven sidewalk segments with the extra $27,000.

Mr. Millette said a large number of segments were surveyed in 2000. They could use the funds for the survey work for the additional segments.

Commissioner Waldack said that in reviewing the figures, he came up with $32,845 not $27,750.

Mr. Millette said $5,000 had to be subtracted for the materials testing services included in the previous item.

Commissioner Waldack said it would be helpful to him to have the information all on one page.

Bid: 2005 Pavement Rehabilitation (ST-004). The Manager said this project includes resurfacing eight miles of streets. Three bids were received with K-Five submitting the lowest bid of $2.3 million. The amount is 5.6% higher than the estimate, due to the volatile oil prices and transportation costs K-Five will incur. He noted that Harry Kuhn has gone out of business. Staff recommends reducing the quantities of the project by deferring a number of locations. The decision to remove some locations was based upon the condition of the roads, and their proximity to the remaining locations.

Commissioner Tully asked how the deferrals will affect staff getting back on track with the roadway maintenance program. Mr. Millette said that they have not looked at it in macro terms; they are mostly reacting to prices as they come in. They have compared prices with other communities.

In response to Commissioner Schnell, Mr. Millette said that staff has not gone out for slurry seal yet, but will do so soon, and expects the costs to be higher. In terms of the effect on the ten-year plan, Mr. Millette said that the increase in funding helped, but there is still a deficit. He thinks that 12 years is a good estimate for the plan. Commissioner Schnell said that she would appreciate the Council being kept up to date on this issue, so that they can develop a firmer understanding of where the roadway plan stands.

Christine Fregeau , 1918 Elmore, asked, in light of the information regarding the Gilbert sidewalk bids and higher prices, whether the Village would be in a position to bid on Gilbert in August. Mr. Millette said that the roadway on Gilbert has to be shifted to accommodate the sidewalk. He does not think that the added cost would be great. He indicated that it is also good to do bidding in the spring.

IEPA Water Agreement Grant Amendment – North Belmont Park. The Manager said in February 2003 an agreement was entered for construction of a watermain in North Belmont Park for $711,000. When it went out to bid, the cost was reduced to $379,000. Trine completed the work and had about $50,000 in cost overruns. The Manager said that the staff resubmitted for some work and the grant amendment for this work will be for $24,139.00, resulting in a total IEPA grant for $402,517.00.

The Mayor said that a number of the residents in that area of 800 homes did not want to be annexed to the Village and asked the status of that situation. Village Attorney Petrarca said that the Village has not contacted those 800 residents. They can voluntarily annex when their property becomes contiguous to the Village.

The Manager said through the two community groups the residents were aware that they would not be annexed. The Mayor suggested sending a note to them with their water bill.

Application to Support a Bikeway Extension Project to the Illinois Department of Transportation as part of the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program. The Manager said this is for year four of the bikeway plan. The project cost is $584,000 with the Village share at $116,800. There are three off-street paths at Highland from 31st to 39th, Doerhoeffer Park at 39th connecting to 41st Street, and 75th Street between Lemont and Dunham. An on-street route will be 67th Street between Dunham and Saratoga, and Saratoga to Main Street.

Commissioner Schnell asked how they intend to place an off-street path on Highland between 31st and 39th. Mr. Millette said that the bike plan approved in 2000 shows corridors but does not go into specifics. They will have to determine which side of the street is most appropriate. One side is Lyman Woods and the other has retaining walls.

The Mayor asked whether anyone attended the DuPage Mayors STP program and, if so, he asked if the staff would be coming to the Council with potential projects. Mr. Millette said they have not identified any projects yet. The Mayor suggested they find something since this is due August 19. Mr. Millette said a cursory review has been done, and they are working on finding something to submit. He added that the bikeway plan is not in the Capital Improvement Project (CIP) now.

Jane Amorosi , 5742 Dearborn Parkway, said the project is somewhat confusing for many because the area from 31st Street to 39th Street is Forest Preserve. She does not know why they are applying for a grant as she does not expect the Forest Preserve to approve an off-street path through the woods. She then asked what has happened with the issue of sidewalks on both sides of Highland Avenue. She said that Good Samaritan Hospital has not replaced the broken sidewalks that they created when the hospital built their addition. She then asked why they are planning sidewalks at this site.

The Mayor said that this is not just for this one area, but is part of the whole bikeway plan. Manager Ginex further responded that it is a comprehensive DuPage County plan.

The Mayor said that Commissioner Schnell also has concerns about the sidewalks planned from 39th Street to 31st Street along Highland.

Commissioner Schnell said, in line with the County’s bike plan, there are sidewalks along 31st Street, which do go through Forest Preserve land. Mr. Millette said it would be adjacent to the Forest Preserve property.

Commissioner Tully clarified that there is a bike plan for the extension of the County bike plan. This grant will support preliminary engineering costs.

Grant Agreement between the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System and the Village of Downers Grove. The Manager said that this agreement provides for the installation of four surveillance cameras at Village Hall and six surveillance cameras at the Police Department. The funding for this agreement is the 2005 Illinois Law Enforcement Homeland Security Grant in the amount of $41,770.00.

Commissioner Schnell asked whether these could be removed and transported if necessary.

Lt. Bill Budds of the Police Department said that was part of the consideration and that they are movable.

The Mayor referred to the Amnesty Day for parking tickets sponsored a few years ago. He noticed that many of the outstanding debts are for false alarm fees. He asked whether the Village has offered an amnesty program to pay a portion of those fees. He suggested that this be given consideration.

McCollum Park Building. The Manager said that the Village built the water tower at McCollum Park and at that time, agreed to construct a maintenance facility at the park. They entered into an agreement with Brown Construction, who has resubmitted their plans based on the Village’s revisions to the building code. Brown’s original cost was $489,000 and is now $563,000. Staff has attempted to have Brown detail their changes, but they have not done so. To get this project underway, the Manager said he suggested they terminate the Brown contract and work with Stevens and Company. Staff is negotiating with them, and the total anticipated cost is between $100,000 and $135,000 less than the Brown cost.

The Mayor asked what amount is in the budget.

Dave Barber , Director, Public Works, said that they added $735,000. They need to finish the interior of the building. The Mayor asked if the $735,000 is the entire cost of the building. Mr. Barber said that is what was budgeted. Mayor Krajewski asked what the anticipated cost was when this was originally agreed upon. He further asked if this was an upgrade. Mr. Barber said he would look to see the cost. He noted that the agreement was very vague, stating a 2,400 square foot building, but now it is a 3,000 square foot building. Plumbing had to be changed; they had to add a sprinkler system due to the storage aspect of the building. They are at 3,000 square feet because that is the standard size of steel buildings such as this.

Commissioner Schnell noted that this was in exchange for the park land used for the water tower. She said the Village did get something for this.

Commissioner McConnell said that she understands this agreement will put up the building frame and asked whether additional bids would be necessary for the inside. Mr. Barber said that is correct. They want to have the building completed by the end of the year.

Commissioner Tully applauded the efforts of Manager Ginex and Director Barber to get this completed and off the books. He encouraged them to continue their efforts to bring the cost in as close as possible to the amount approved two years ago.

Active Agenda and Informational Items

Change in Fiscal Year. The Manager asked Deputy Village Manager David Fieldman to address this item.

Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman said that this proposal is to change the Village’s fiscal year to a calendar year, and was discussed during the budget process and meetings of the Finance and Administrative Committee. He noted that there are several benefits associated with this change, including that the year is familiar to customers and staff, the alignment to the budgeting process and property tax levy process, and cost savings. The bidding process would take place in the first quarter, and his past experience is that this could result in savings for public works projects. Downsides include that the Village would have an eight-month audit period but pay the full year price. In addition, staff and the Council will have to spend time to prepare two budgets. They may also lose the opportunity and ability to compare previous years until the change is in place for a while.

The Mayor asked for backup on the bulleted items. The biggest issue for him is the lack of ability to compare figures to the previous years. He is not sure what the actual benefits would be and would like to see the details of cost savings. He said he thought that the on-going audit costs would be higher because they will be done at the most expensive time of year for auditors. As for the property tax, it is only $4 million of the total budget. In regard to bidding out the projects, the Village did bid them out earlier some time ago and could still do that now, no matter what the budgeting year is. He was hoping to see more discussion in the Finance Committee reports, and for more discussion regarding the historical data for comparison purposes. He would like more backup information.

Deputy Village Manager Fieldman apologized for not providing all of the information wanted. He said the Finance Committee has discussed this in detail and he could provide additional information at another Workshop meeting.

Commissioner Sandack said that the Finance Committee has discussed this concept for two years, and has had policy discussions as well. It is important to discuss the details, but they are talking about a 5/1-4/30 year versus 1/1 to 12/30 year. There may not necessarily be dollar savings, but he believes it makes sense for three reasons: 1) It is good to bid in the Spring, and the calendar year change would force the Village to do that; 2) The Village would talk about levying the property taxes before the budget, which makes sense to him; and 3) The Village will soon be getting a new financial software program, therefore, now is the time to make the change as it dovetails nicely with the computer software. He would be happy to see additional detail, but believes the policy discussions make sense.

The Mayor asked what prohibits the Village from bidding out contracts earlier, and Commissioner Sandack said the Village has not done it.

The Manager said that staff is concerned about bidding before the budget is set.

The Mayor said the Council has been concerned with a five-year plan, which should address the bid issue. He is concerned about the timing as it would pass the week before the Christmas season. That is not a good time for resident input. He asked Deputy Village Manager Fieldman how they saved money in Palatine when he was there.

Mr. Fieldman responded that it was based on the timing of the bids. He said the only impact of doing the bids in advance of the budget would be to disclose on the bids that the budget has not yet been approved. Some contractors raised their prices as a consequence.

Commissioner Schnell said that the residents have an advantage if projects are bid out in February or March. For example, sidewalks could be put in when children are not in school. She felt they could go both ways on this issue and needs the wisdom of the Finance Committee discussion and more facts. She is also concerned about doing this during the holiday season, and sees that as her biggest concern. Mr. Fieldman said he can obtain anecdotal information.

Assistant Manager Mike Baker said one of the charges of this Council was to get resident input at an earlier stage of the process. Most of the discussion and input would take place long before the holiday schedules. Staff would like to look toward advancing the discussion prior to Thanksgiving.

The Mayor said he approaches the budget in terms of where they are in the budget, as it helps determine how to approach the tax levy. He said that the General Fund has nothing to do with bidding out projects.

Commissioner Waldack asked how the staff in Palatine dealt with working on the budget over the holiday season. Mr. Fieldman said that the reality was that most of the budget hearings took place in late October and early November, with the intent of finalizing discussions before Thanksgiving, so finalization could be completed by the end of December.

Commissioner McConnell said she thinks there is an intuitive benefit of having a calendar year, as well as tangible benefits of knowing what the budget is for bidding purposes. There will be a 12-month trend regardless of when the budget is done and she does not see that as insurmountable. She would expect public input in September, October or November. An additional potential benefit would be in regard to the health plan since most are on a calendar year, while the Village’s is in the fiscal year. She would like to examine this more closely. As for historical data, there should be a way to put this together.

The Mayor said another question concerns Heritage Festival contracts that would split into two years. Finance Director Rita Trainor said that Mary Scalzetti budgets the Heritage Festival according to the fiscal year.

Commissioner Tully said this is an issue that the Finance Committee has looked at since its inception. The window of opportunity is to start the fiscal year with the new financial software. He said they would not want to start the software in one year and then change it six months later. The Committee thought it was important to have the Council give direction at this time because of the new software. However, they do not need to make this change. He noted that there has been a trend reported that many communities are changing from the 5/1-4/30 fiscal year. The Commissioner said that the Finance Committee has discussed this in detail. As to whether it makes sense to make the change, he believes there are more pros to changing due to the window of opportunity with the software, but it is not a life or death issue. There are a number of reasons to do this. Some Commissioners have said that they did not like having to decide about the levy without a budget. It is also difficult to bid out items without a budget. In addition, how this coincides with election cycles has to be considered. His opinion is that there are more pros than cons. He indicated that the Finance Committee did inquire as to the impact on Village departments, and department heads responded that once they are past the initial change there would be no impact. He asked when the financial software will be implemented.

Rita Trainor , Director, Financial Services, responded that the software implementation begins on May 6, 2006 and staff would need to know by October 5, 2005 for negotiating purposes.

Commissioner McConnell clarified that staff’s recommendation is to adopt the calendar year beginning in January 2007, and Ms. Trainor said that was correct.

Commissioner Waldack asked about the financial software starting in 2006 and whether staff could run both systems. Mr. Fieldman said they can look into that.

In response to Commissioner McConnell’s question of parallel systems, Ms. Trainor said they don’t run true parallels.

The Mayor asked if the Village needs to let the vendor know if this is a calendar year or fiscal year.

Ms. Trainor said that was correct, as they need to define the first month “bucket.” They establish and set up the system around it. She said they have to define the fiscal year in order to close out the books. They establish a chart of accounts which are unique to the fiscal year. She said the Council would adopt a twelve month budget for 5/1-4/30, and then adopt an amendment for 1/1-12/30/07.

The Mayor asked whether staff has talked with the auditor about this, and Ms. Trainor said they have. They will do this for the same price as it is not in their busy season.

Mayor Krajewski asked if there is a plan to assure that the historical data will provide what the Council would like to see. Ms. Trainor said she cannot answer that until they have the new financial software. They would load one year’s budget and one year of actual activity by “per account” numbers. Line items would be for one year only.

Mr. Baker said that information from prior years is pulled from the audit. The Mayor said his biggest concern is to compare the numbers with previous years.

Mr. Fieldman said that staff concurs with this being a major issue, and they will come back with specific information on this.

Commissioner Tully said this is an important and legitimate concern, and asked whether they can generate a report starting at any month, and Mr. Fieldman said they can. He said they had backup systems in Palatine, kept the old software license for an extended period, and preserved the information.

The Mayor asked whether he should call the GEMS system representative as he left a message for the Mayor. Manager Ginex said he does not need to respond as the representative has left messages for everyone.

Christine Fregeau , 1918 Elmore, asked if the resident survey would provide an opportunity to inquire as to the residents’ feelings. She sees this as a pro-active initiative.

Commissioner Sandack said the survey is already out.

Proposed Amendment to Chapter 7 of the Village Code regarding building permit fees for commercial building improvements. The Manager asked Mr. Fieldman to address this matter.

Mr. Fieldman said that the Economic Development Commission (EDC), Mayor and residents asked staff to review the fees for building out existing commercial spaces. The Village’s fees are high in comparison to other municipalities. The recommendation is to reduce them to a more competitive level and put the average permit fees at industry standard. The current building fees are $200 for the first 500 square feet of construction area plus $65 for each additional 100 square feet. The proposal is to reduce the fee from $65 for each additional 100 square feet to $42 for each additional 100 square feet.

The Mayor said that comments received are in regard to tenant build-outs. In regard to coordinating all permits he asked about staffing and an overall plan to coordinate the three areas of permitting. Mr. Fieldman said they have started the process and will have a recommendation for changes. He led the team in Palatine to coordinate the process.

Commissioner McConnell asked how close the actual cost comes to the reduced fees. Mr. Fieldman said the overall budget impact should be a loss of about $100,000; however, the reduction may attract more business and be close to covering costs.

The Mayor asked whether staff has to help finalize plans.

Don Rosenthal , Director, Code Services, responded that they often offer guidance on residential plans.

Commissioner Tully agreed with the importance of keeping fees competitive with neighboring communities, as long as they are covering their costs. He believes this should be revisited on a regular basis and thanked the Mayor for bringing this forward.


The Public Safety Committee will meet on July 26.

There was no report from the Finance Committee.

The Public Service Committee will meet the third Tuesday in August.

Mayor Krajewski said that the Space Needs Committee met on Friday. He asked that staff e-mail information to the Council. They discussed the expansion of Fire Station 2 and the new Village Hall. As to Fire Station 2, they determined it should be expanded where it is. They have asked Chief Ruscetti to review a study done a few years ago and then make recommendations for administrative offices and the training room.

Commissioner McConnell asked if the Village is looking at taking the rest of that block. The Mayor said they need to look at it and determine what makes sense in terms of moving the administrative offices. As to the time frame, the Mayor asked staff to have that report in the next two months.

The Mayor said with regards to Village Hall, staff will ask for updates and put together an RFP for a space planner with updated data. Commissioner McConnell asked if they are looking to combine Village Hall and the Police Department. The Mayor responded they were and it would be in the general vicinity of this campus.


Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting four items to the Council: 1) A resolution authorizing an amendment to a grant agreement with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency re: North Belmont Park Water Main Improvements Project; 2) A resolution authorizing submittal of an application to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program re: Downers Grove Bikeway Extensions Project; 3) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement with the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System; and 4) An ordinance amending the building permit fees.


Mayor Krajewski said he received a message from Sun Quest, a sponsor of a NASCAR driver. They have an issue with signs. The old Sal & Carvao sign is a monument sign and is contrary to the Village’s Ordinance. He said it is probably the smallest sign there and asked Attorney Petrarca to look into it. He also asked that she look into the Fry’s signage.

The Mayor said that Sun Quest contributed to the sponsorship of Heritage Festival and the upcoming bike race. Their business is primarily in resorts.

Mayor Krajewski then mentioned that on Saturday, the Masons Lodge 824 rededicated the cornerstone which was built in 1924. They are a strong supporter of the community and presented $1,000 to the Police Department. They previously supported the Fire Department as well.

Commissioner Tully congratulated the Masons on the rededication of the cornerstone, stating they have a long history with the Village. He pointed out that the list of some of the original members is filled with names of founding fathers and early citizens of the Village. He noted that for some time the Village Council met at the Mason’s location. He hoped they will see many more years in the Village.

Commissioner Tully then reminded everyone of the Downers Grove Library fundraiser on July 16 where they will auction off the benches seen throughout the business area. He said more information is available at the Library.

Commissioner Sandack said that Commission Urban had a medical procedure and he wished him a speedy recovery.

Commissioner Waldack echoed best wishes to Commissioner Urban, and congratulated the Mason Lodge on their rededication of the cornerstone. He then announced his weight loss program to raise money for the Southern DuPage Crop Walk. He weighed in last night at 261 pounds at Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center. He noted that this will be a major lifestyle change, but he will not do a crash diet program. He said 25% of the Crop Walk funds go to FISH , PADS, Lisle Township food pantry, Woodridge Community pantry, Northern Illinois food pantry, and other local agencies. He said that pledges can be made in whatever way residents wish and be sent to the Village Hall. The walk is October 16, and he will have the final weigh-in at that time. He said they think he can lose up to 20 pounds.

Commissioner Schnell added her best wishes for Commissioner Urban’s speedy recovery.


There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh