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 Marilyn Schnell, Commissioner Martin Tully, Commissioner William Waldack and Mayor Brian Krajewski Non Voting: Village Manager Cara Pavlicek, 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
Council Meeting – February 20, 2006 Budget Review Session – February 25, 2006 Workshop Meeting – February 28, 2006 Commissioner Tully said he had two minor corrections to the Workshop minutes of February 28, 2006 that he provided to the Clerk.
Mayor Krajewski said he received comments from a resident. He said he would forward them to the Council for their review.
4. Public Comments and Questions
The Mayor noted that guests present from the Information Technology Department of the Inner Mongolia District who are here taking classes at Northern Illinois University. He said Dr. Wu is taking the group on a tour of the Village.
The Mayor also acknowledged Boy Scouts present in the audience. He invited them to introduce themselves. The Scouts are in 5th and 7th grades working on their Communication merit badges and Citizenship in Community badges.
A. Comments and Questions on Active Agenda
1. Bill Wrobel, 7800 Queens Court, commented on the ordinance to amend the Home Rule Sales Tax, and asked how the tax is being amended. He referred to a forum held in 2004 sponsored by the Downers Grove Watch in which Commissioner Schnell mentioned that there would be a sunset clause in 2006. He interpreted this as meaning that it would be gone, and it would take an action by the Council to levy ½ cent tax to reinstate it. He believes this would be voting to replace a tax that expired in 2006.
Manager Pavlicek said this is an amendment to an existing ordinance which strikes some language and adds new language. It adds language to amend the date and language regarding the use of the tax for capital improvement projects. If it is not amended then the tax expires. She explained that this action is the amendment.
Mr. Wrobel said he understood that this tax came to an end, but does not understand how this is an amendment. He asked how you can extend something that has ended, and he thinks the Village is installing a new tax. He asked if the Village could revisit the data regarding the 75% collected from non-residents. He understands that other communities average about 60%.
The Mayor said that is probably an average. Downers Gove is unusual in that we have a higher daytime population which probably exceeds 100,000 people and we have retail that attracts people from outside the area.
Commissioner Tully commented on the sunset clause, stating it was viewed to be important to include a sunset clause when the tax was instituted. That did not mean it would not be continued, but action would have to be taken formally. This has been discussed by the Council for about six months. It is being continued and redirected to capital improvement projects. Whether it is a continuation or new tax is a matter of semantics. He noted that this is at the same rate as originally instituted. In regard to taxes being paid by non-residents, Commissioner Tully said that the Home Rule Sales Tax excludes groceries, pharmaceuticals, and automobiles. He noted the importance of distinguishing between Sales Tax and the Home Rule Sales Tax.
B. Comments and Questions on General Matters
1. Laurel Bowen, 829 Clyde Drive, said that the Council has Home Rule power and used it to take on debt, for a total of $64.4 million since the Mayor took office. She said the debt currently stands at $48 million. She indicated that at last week’s meeting the Mayor did not allow public comments. Ms. Bowen said that the residents did not get a vote on that debt but the taxpayers are responsible for paying it. The largest portion of the debt is for a $24 million parking deck. She said that the Mayor and Council went to Springfield for another taxpayer funded trip, and the Mayor complains that the State owes money to the Village for the parking deck. She stated that taxpayers do not get power to vote on expenditures agreed upon at a meeting by the Council, yet the Council has Home Rule power to spend taxpayers funds. The Council, in closed session, approved the purchase of real estate at inflated prices and sold it to select developers at below market prices. She questioned developments such as Station Crossing and agreements made between the Village and developers, as well as auto dealerships. She also questioned how bidding was conducted. Ms. Bowen said that they are tired of the many layer of taxes in the Village. Home Rule provides unlimited power to tax, regulate and incur debt. The Village should not be planning its indebtedness on sales tax revenues. There are other communities surrounding the Village without Home Rule who are doing well and whose citizens have a vote.
The Mayor said he asks her every time where she gets her information. The environmental cleanup was closer to $600,000. Before he became Mayor he went to a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and he listened to the three companies who were bidding on the downtown infrastructure project.
Commissioner Tully said it is unfortunate that Ms. Bowen was not at the recent budget meetings. He noted that 2.5% is the Village’s ratio of debt to valuation. That would be comparable to having a $12,500 mortgage on a $500,000 house, and most of that would be paid by other people. He said he would like to be in that situation.
The Mayor said that the TIF increment last year was $1 million from the developer.
2. Dr. Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh, asked about the correction to the minutes. The Mayor said that the Village Manager will forward the correction to the rest of the Council. Dr. Goodman reviewed the correction, saying the minutes should reflect that the Village is a co-owner of the Lyman Woods, with the Park District and the Forest Preserve. The Mayor mentioned that he has scheduled a meeting at the end of March with the Park District and the Forest Preserve to discuss the responsibilities of the owners of Lyman Woods.
3. Bill Wrobel, 7800 Queens Court, commented about last week’s meeting which he attended. The meeting adjourned at 9:50 p.m. Public comments were on the agenda at the end of the meeting, and the meeting went long and public comment was dispensed with. Mr. Wrobel said that the Downers Grove Reporter published a document from the DuPage County Election Board showing various referenda and making it accessible for anyone who wants to see how other communities are handling their sales tax issues. He said that on January 1 the State Legislature, under HR 272 , allowed non-home rule communities to raise sales taxes by referendum. He referred to communities that have referenda for this on their ballots as well as library taxes. He said this is a terrific example of democracy in action.
The Mayor said that last week the Council had to adjourn to Executive Session. They allow people to address issues on the Workshop Agenda. They try to get the Council meetings done by 9:30 p.m. Non-Home Rule communities can impose a Non-Home Rule Sales Tax. It used to be a ½% sales tax; however, Springfield changed this and now they have the ability to go to 1%. Home Rule communities lobbied strongly for this.
Commissioner Schnell said that non-Home Rule communities are attempting to change several rules including the hotel sales tax, and in some cases it has taken as long as 5-8 yeas to effect that change.
4. Frank Falesch, 820 Prairie, asked about the give-aways to developers. He stated that Ms. Bowen’s questions were not answered.
Mayor Krajewski said they try to maximize the benefit to the taxpayers in all projects. Station Crossing, Acadia on the Green, Georgian Courts will provide income to the community. He doesn’t answer questions when the majority of the facts are wrong. Regarding Georgian Courts they had appraisals and went with the highest bidder on the property and got the appraised price. He said all of the information is on public record. He reiterated that he does not answer questions when the facts are wrong.
Mr. Falesch then asked about improvements to the infrastructure for Acadia on the Green, and the Mayor said that the return on that site will be over 14% on their investment. The Mayor asked staff to meet with Mr. Falesch and explain the process to him. Mr. Falesch then said that the Johnson Printing property was bought for $4 million. Mayor Krajewski said that staff can get that information for him. Mr. Falesch said the attitude of the Council is a problem. He asked if the Village got full value for the property and the Mayor said yes, they will over the life of the TIF . Mr. Falesch said it depends upon who juggles the numbers and how they arrive at them. They are projecting these out 15 years into the future. Mayor Krajewski said that the Council has been very conservative in its projections. Mr. Falesch said he is also concerned about the TIF . Manager Pavlicek said staff can meet with Mr. Falesch to discuss the TIF as well. The Village follows State regulations in regard to TIF districts.
The Mayor said he wished some of the neighboring communities would participate a bit more in District 99. Downers Grove spends a lot in support of the schools including providing police personnel.
5. Tim McJoynt, 1423 Grant Street, commented on Home Rule, saying he has repeatedly heard that taxes will go down if Home Rule goes away, and that is false. He further said that to suggest that this Village can run by referendum is ridiculous. Anyone who has a problem with the rules or decisions being made by the Council knows that the solution is in the ballot box. To suggest that discontinuing Home Rule will remove the problem is ridiculous. He does not want to abdicate responsibility to Governor Blagojevich.
6. Michael Gilbert, 4625 Highland, said that Ms. Bowen does not speak for the people he has spoken with. The success of the projects in the downtown is pretty obvious to most people to whom he’s spoken. A plan for downtown was created 10 or 11 years ago because no one was shopping there. Since that reconstruction began, all have enjoyed an increase in their property values. They planned out for a growth rate that was about half of what has been seen. He is certain, based on history, that facts are not important to a certain group of people within this Village. It will not make any difference. The key is to get the facts out in front of the people so they know the real figures. He indicated that it is not Home Rule that this group is after. They are after the seven Council members, and he understands the frustration. But everyone does not always agree. In the Village, Home Rule has worked and he hopes it will continue to work. He hopes the Council takes notice of this and addresses it from all issues, including communication with the public and with themselves as Council.
5. Public Hearings
6. Consent Agenda
COR00 -02256 Claim Ordinance: No. 5625, Payroll, February 17, 2006 Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
BIL00 -02257 List of Bills Payable: No. 5614, March 7, 2006 Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
BID00 -02258 Bid: Award $209,683.95 to Tri-Tech Electric, Inc. of Romeoville to Construct the Fairview & Maple Traffic Signal Modernization Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Fairview Signals, Traffic Signal – Fairview & Maple
BID00 -02259 Bid: Award $203,096 to TransChicago Truck Group of Elmhurst, Illinois for the Purchase of Two (2) 2007 Freightliner M2 106V Trucks Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Vehicle Purchases
RES00 -02261 Resolution: Authorize an Extension to the Contract with Warehouse Direct Sponsors: Finance Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN EXTENSION TO THE CONTRACT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND WAREHOUSE DIRECT
RESOLUTION 2006 -23 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Office Supplies
RES00 -02262 Resolution: Authorize an Addendum to an Agreement with the Commuter Rail Division of the Regional Transportation Authority Sponsors: Village Attorney Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN ADDENDUM TO AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND THE COMMUTER RAIL DIVISION OF THE REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY
RESOLUTION 2006 -24 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Metra
RES00 -02276 Resolution: Authorize Attendance and Participation in a Meeting of Charter Customers – DuPage Water Commission Sponsors: Village Attorney Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION IN A MEETING OF CHARTER CUSTOMERS TO COMMENCE SECTION 12 (C) PROCEDURES SCHEDULED BY THE DUPAGE WATER COMMISSION FOR MARCH 15 , 2006
RESOLUTION 2006 -25 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: DuPage Water Commission Passed The Consent Agenda
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 Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski
7. Active Agenda
ORD00 -02244 Ordinance: Amend Home Rule Sales Tax Sponsors: Manager’s Office Summary of Item: This will continue the collection of Home Rule Municipal Service Occupation Tax and Home Rule Municipal Retailer’s Occupation Tax.
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING HOME RULE SALES TAX
ORDINANCE NO . 4756 Commissioner Schnell said she gave a talk at the Library in 2004 of the benefits of Home Rule. She said the intent was to have it sunset in 2006. Since January 2005, there was considerable discussion among the Council and throughout the community about the fact that utility taxes were going down, and there was no steady stream of income to meet capital project needs. There was also discussion as to how to meet those needs. Discussion ensued regarding raising property taxes and utility taxes, or maintaining the Home Rule Sales Tax. There was consensus that it would be beneficial to look at whether the Home Rule Sales Tax should be maintained. There is an aging infrastructure in this Village that needs to be taken care of and the Village needs the Home Rule Sales Tax to maintain it. The Home Rule sales tax is more appetizing because at least 60% is being paid by non-residents. There is no increase to property taxes or to those who don’t buy products that will have additional sales tax. It is on products that are not necessary to support your lifestyle. This seems to be fair and equitable. The decision to continue the Home Rule Sales tax is a rethinking of how we pay for capital projects.
Commissioner Tully said adoption of this Ordinance re-establishes ½% of Home Rule Sales Tax. It is the same amount as it was previously. Funds will be dedicated to capital improvements.
The Mayor said that property values are increasing, and if property is ignored the values go down. The Village needs to maintain the infrastructure to support the value. That includes streets, sewers, sidewalks. He would not have supported keeping the Home Rule Sales Tax in the general fund. He supports keeping the property taxes as low as possible. The majority of property values are homes, and not businesses. To pay for the infrastructure, he would like to see non-residents paying as much as possible. He fully supports using the funds for the infrastructure projects. Staff has done a great job of holding the line on expenses. A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Urban, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Home Rule Municipal Retailers Occupation Tax, Home Rule Municipal Service Occupation Tax
ORD00 -02265 Ordinance: Authorize the Recapture of Certain Expenditures – Farrar Court Sponsors: Public Works Summary of Item: This will authorize the recapture of costs for certain public improvements.
AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE RECAPTURE OF CERTAIN EXPENDITURES
ORDINANCE NO . 4757 A motion was made by Commissioner Urban to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Recapture Agreement
RES00 -02266 Resolution: Authorize an Agreement for Recapture of Cost Related to the Construction of a Water Service Extension Known as the Farrar Court Water Service Improvement Sponsors: Public Works Summary of Item: This will authorize an agreement for the recapture of costs for public improvements on Farrar Court.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN AGREEMENT FOR RECAPTURE OF COST RELATED TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF A WATER SERVICE EXTENSION KNOWN AS THE FARRAR COURT WATER SERVICE IMPROVEMENT
RESOLUTION 2006 -26 A motion was made, seconded by Commissioner Schnell, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Recapture Agreement
ORD00 -02267 Ordinance: Rezone 5334 Main Street from R-4, Single Family Residence, to DT, Downtown Transition District Sponsors: Community Development Summary of Item: This will rezone the property commonly known as 5334 Main Street from Village, R-4 Single Family Residential, to Village DT, Downtown Transition District.
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE COMPREHENSIVE ZONING ORDINANCE OF THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE , ILLINOIS, PASSED AND APPROVED APRIL 19 , 1965, AS AMENDED , TO REZONE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 5334 MAIN STREET
ORDINANCE NO . 4758 Commissioner McConnell commented on this item and the next regarding protection of using the alleyway as access. She hoped the alleyway will continue to be a priority for the owners.
Commissioner Tully said this rezoning is consistent with the Village’s Future Land Use Plan Map which was previously adopted and published.
The Mayor said that this is an amendment to an ordinance and not a new ordinance. A motion was made by Commissioner Schnell, seconded by Commissioner Waldack, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Rezone 5334 Main Street – R-4 to DT Downtown Transition District
ORD00 -02268 Ordinance: Rezone 5338 Main Street from R-4, Single Family Residence, to DT, Downtown Transition District Sponsors: Community Development Summary of Item: This will rezone the property commonly known as 5338 Main Street from Village R-4, Single Family Residential, to Village DT, Downtown Transition District.
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE COMPREHENSIVE ZONING ORDINANCE OF THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE , ILLINOIS, PASSED AND APPROVED APRIL 19 , 1965, AS AMENDED , TO REZONE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 5338 MAIN STREET
ORDINANCE NO . 4759 A motion was made by Commissioner Waldack, seconded by Commissioner Sandack, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Rezone 5338 Main Street – R-4 to DT Downtown Transition District
ORD00 -02274 Ordinance: Authorize a Special Use for Forest Avenue Condominiums with Variations Sponsors: Community Development Summary of Item: At their meeting of February 6, 2006, the Plan Commission recommended that a Special Use be granted for the property located at 4929, 4933 and 4937 Forest Avenue for a 28-unit condominium complex with variations.
AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING A SPECIAL USE FOR FOREST AVENUE CONDOMINIUMS WITH VARIATIONS
ORDINANCE NO . 4760 Deputy Manager Fieldman said there were questions from last week’s meeting left open. He showed an aerial photo of the subject property and the alley behind the property. The property has frontage on Forest Avenue and access to the public right-of-way behind it. He noted that one portion of the property is deeper than the remainder. Mr. Fieldman then showed a corrected table which shows four additional units which are smaller. Parking has increased from 37 to 42 spaces. Setbacks will not change and will remain at 12 feet. He showed the plan approved in 2005 and discussed the changes to that plan. In the bumped out area on the plan, there will be five parking spaces from the six originally proposed. He noted that staff supports the plan as proposed.
Commissioner Schell said she appreciates the front yard greenspace which is being provided. The developer needs to have 40 spaces to meet the Code. Mr. Fieldman said there are 36 interior spaces proposed, and four are in the rear alley and one is for guest parking. In 2005, discussion concerned the alley and ingress/egress through the alley to the underground parking. There were concerns that the alley would not be safe for access. She asked whether they are creating safety issues here.
Mr. Fieldman responded that the alley is narrow in portions. There are several parking areas served by this alley. Staff supports the primary access off of Forest Avenue. However, with only five spaces off the alley, it is a minimal amount of traffic and not a measurable impact on safety issues.
Commissioner Schnell asked if there are any stormwater issues connected with the additional parking spaces in the alley. Mr. Fieldman said that there is no change to the impervious area. Additional stormsewers are required on the north and south sides to improve drainage issues.
Commissioner Urban indicated he would not be participating in the discussion or voting in this matter as he has a lease-hold agreement within the TIF district in which these two properties are located.
Commissioner Waldack said there was a lot of discussion on this in 2005, and neighbors were concerned about stormwater. He was told that the stormwater situation should improve with the added drainage There are concerns about the parking and adding parking. He is willing to go along with the changes, but still has concerns about density and parking in the downtown district. He hopes they develop a good plan to address parking.
Commissioner Tully asked staff if the ordinance includes staff’s requirement to replace six 8.5 foot parking stalls with five 9 foot parking stalls. Mr. Fieldman said that is correct. Commissioner Tully clarified that this development will have to meet all stormwater requirements of the Village and County, and Mr. Fieldman further acknowledged that the stormwater requirements will be met.
Commissioner Sandack said that this property is in the downtown area where the density should go. This is the highest and best use of the downtown area. The development proposal was in full compliance when it was first presented. It has improved since it was first presented to the Village. He noted that the alleyway is a well-traveled. He will support this project. A motion was made by Commissioner Sandack, seconded by Commissioner Tully, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski Nay: Commissioner Schnell Abstain: Commissioner Urban Indexes: Special Use – 4929 Forest Avenue
MOT00 -02275 Motion: Authorize Agreement with Versar, Inc. for Environmental Remediation for the Acadia on the Green Planned Development Sponsors: Deputy Village Manager Summary of Item: This will authorize the Village Manager to execute a remediation agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Versar, Inc. for environmental remediation for the Acadia on the Green Planned Development. A motion was made by Commissioner Tully to Authorize this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski Abstain: Commissioner Urban Indexes: Versar, Inc., Planned Development #37-Acadia on the Green
8. Mayor’s Report
Materials to be Received – Minutes
Environmental Concerns Commission – January 12, 2006 Events Subcommittee – February 9, 2006 Human Services Commission – February 1, 2006 Library Board – February 8, 2006 Liquor Commission – February 9, 2006 Transportation Advisory Commission – January 19, 2006 Zoning Board of Appeals – January 25, 2006 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 Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski
Materials to be Received – Monthly Reports
Materials to be Placed on File
9. Manager’s Report
Manager Pavlicek said that the Downers Grove Cable TV will rebroadcast the Budget Workshop on March 8 from 6 p.m. to midnight. She said that agendas for that meeting are on the website.
On Saturday from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m., Coffee with the Council will be held at El Sierra School discussing the budget.
The next Workshop meeting on Tuesday at March 14 will have a start time of 6:00 p.m. to accommodate a Strategic Planning Session. She also recommended not including public comments at that meeting and asked the Council’s feelings.
Commissioner Schnell said she would like to watch the time and if necessary they could limit public comments to two minutes and adjourn at a reasonable hour.
Manager Pavlicek said her concern was more about the comments, not time.
The Mayor said residents will have an opportunity to speak at El Sierra as well.
Commissioner Schnell said perhaps Attorney Petrarca could announce prior to the meeting what are and are not appropriate discussion items during comments.
Commissioner Tully said that public comment on the Agenda items will not be cut off, but might be limited a bit more due to the time constraints. The question relates to Illinois Statutes. He said when there is a referendum item, the Village facilities are not to be used to advocate for or against pending referendum. It is illegal to do that according to State law.
Manager Pavlicek said that staff will work with the Village Attorney to ask for information as to what the public wants to discuss. They are not required to have public comments at public meetings. She does not advocate eliminating public comment.
The Manager said that staff will update the Council as to the State of the Economy in the summer. She noted that if a municipality is a non-home rule community, they can sell land by sealed bid for any price. If there is a sale at auction, the minimum opening bid must be at 80% of the appraised value.
The Manager said that the DuPage Senor Citizens Council requested $38,000, and the Village’s budget showed the same funding as last year which was $17,000. The majority of the Council has given direction to fund the full request for $38,000. Manager Pavlicek said that the additional $21,000 will be in the budget.
Mayor Krajewski said that the budget hasn’t been finalized yet, and some of the numbers will change. The Manager said that the update to the public will be at the Public Hearing on March 28. People can call staff for additional information.
10. Attorney’s Report
Future Active Agenda
11.Committee Standing Reports
There were none.
12.Council Member Reports and New Business
The Mayor said that the Council has discussed holding a strategic planning session since January. He noted that the the Standing Committees have not needed to meet for some time.
Commissioner Sandack said there has been discussion about what’s going on downtown. He encouraged reading the West Suburban Living 10th Annual Best of the West issue. Downers Grove is mentioned several times, including restaurants, shopping, activities, pizzerias, etc. He guessed that it wasn’t this way in the first issue. He feels that the Village has come a very long way. Downers Grove came in third as the area people would most like to live in other than their own town. And he further noted that the issue showed the favorite Chicago team as the Chicago White Sox!
Commissioner Waldack commented on last week’s meeting when it got late and there were citizens who waited patiently to speak. He asked the Council to consider allowing 10-15 minutes of public comment at the beginning of the meeting, and at the end if the meeting adjourned before 9:30 p.m. That way people could comment before the meeting begins. He then reminded everyone that the budget session of Coffee With the Council is on March 11 and encouraged everyone to attend. He said there is a fiscal policy which was passed several months ago, and he is sure the proposed budget matches that fiscal policy. He added that he did call the Governor’s office inviting the Governor to attend, and it is unlikely that the Governor will attend the meeting on March 11.
Commissioner Schnell encouraged residents to come to the Coffee with the Council on Saturday. This is the residents’ budget. The Council likes people to be present. Regarding Mr. Gilbert’s presence, she read the minutes of the Environmental Concerns meeting and said she did not know that it is illegal to put electronic equipment in the garbage. She said the minutes reflect a discussion regarding arranging a pick-up of electronic items and she encouraged the Committee to pursue this. She asked the Manager to advertise the restrictions. She added that people can be very creative in how they dispose of these items. She thanked former Commissioner Gilbert for his work on the Committee.
The Mayor said he thinks that is why the Environmental Concerns Committee requested funds, to allow them to communicate the information.
Commissioner McConnell said that in the past she has given her old computers to charitable organizations. The Commissioner commented on the DuPage Senior Citizens funding, clarifying that the Village would take the $20,000 received from the sale of the bond cap and earmark it toward that funding request. She is fine with doing that, but said it is not a guarantee that it will be done next year.
The Mayor clarified that there were two $20,000 checks.
Manager Pavlicek said that there is $20,000 in the general fund and the intent was to put in the full amount to reach the $38,000 in the DuPage Senior Citizens funding. The budget is done on an annual basis.
Commissioner McConnell said it is a good program, and noted that there are a lot of competing demands every year.
Commissioner McConnell said that in two weeks the Mayor will give out eight awards in recognition of the Foundation for Life Essay Contest sponsored by the Character Counts Coalition. There will be a small recognition beforehand to which the Council is invited on March 21.
Commissioner Tully said regarding the additional public comment that historically, the Council used to have only two meetings a month. The Mayor corrected that there were four meetings a month with a one-hour Workshop before the Council meetings.
Commissioner Tully said that there has been an increase in the opportunity for public comment. He said it is important to remember that they must conduct business in a reasonable manner, and they need to balance competing interests as well. He’d be more than happy to discuss ways to improve or alter public communication opportunities.
With respect to the DuPage Senor Citizens request. Commissioner Tully said one of the things that drove his decision to fund this at 100% was information received about what that organization does for citizens in Downers Grove. In the last quarter, 29,000 home delivered meals were brought to Downers Grove residents. He thinks it is important that the Village come in line with other communities who contribute more for a fewer number of meals. He believes it is appropriate to carry more of the weight.
Commissioner Tully then addressed the issue of voting. The discussion earlier under public comment only underscores the needs of residents to educate themselves to the facts of the important public referendum question on the ballot. And it is very important that they vote. This year residents can legally vote early in DuPage County. Early voting began in February and will continue through March 16 at the Village Hall Committee Room. Early voting is Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30; Tuesday from 8:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Saturday from 8:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. He encouraged people to vote, saying that people do not need to declare a party to vote on the referendum.
The Mayor said he agrees with Commissioner Tully in terms of supporting the DuPage Senor Citizens request. He said that Downers Grove is the #1 user. Regarding the West Suburban Living magazine, he referred to another magazine he saw with Ballydoyle on the cover for an award they had just won. This Council and previous Council’s as well as the staff have done a good job in raising the profile of Downers Gove and promoting the Village. In regard to ComEd, the Mayor said that Representative Bellock and Representative Pehoes met with ComEd yesterday for an hour, and will meet again in April to discuss specifics of fixing their infrastructure.
Commissioner Tully moved to adjourn. Commissioner Urban seconded.
VOTE : YEA – Commissioners Tully, Urban, Waldack, Sandack, McConnell, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski
Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 8:18 p.m