Mayor Krajewski called the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Village Hall.
Present:Mayor Brian Krajewski; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, Sue McConnell, Martin Tully, Ron Sandack, Stan Urban, William Waldack; Village Manager Cara Pavlicek; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Visitors: Residents: Kevin McCormick, Midwestern University, 555 31st Street; Wayne Tasic, 21W122 Butterfield, Lombard; T. Alcon; Larry & Patti Rosol, 6556 Berrywood; Dave Dahm, 6900 Camden Road; Phil Cullen, 4720 Middaugh; Shanon Tully, 4808 Cornell; Andrew Eichler, 1133 Saylor Street; Zach, David & Amanda Schneeweis, 5201 Cumnor Road; Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh; John M. Heye, 935 Curtiss, #6 Staff: Andy Matejcak, Director, Social & Health Services; Greg Zimmerman, Director, Human Resources; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Bob Porter, Police Chief; Dave Barber, Director, Public Works; Liangfu Wu, Director, Information Services; Don Rosenthal, Director, Community Development; Rita Kruse, Accounting Supervisor; Dave Fieldman, Deputy Village Manager; Phil Ruscetti, Fire Chief; Kurt Bluder, Deputy Police Chief; Jim Black, Deputy Police Chief; Don Scheidler, Deputy Director, Community Development; Mary Scalzetti, Director, Tourism & Events; Mary LaLonde, Employee Benefits Coordinator; Jeff O’Brien, Planner; Mike Millette, Assistant Director, Public Works; Rita Trainor, Director, Financial Services
Mayor Krajewski explained that Council Workshop meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are video taped live and for later cable cast over cable channel 6.
The Workshop meeting is intended to provide Council and the public with an appropriate forum for informal discussion of any items intended for future Council consideration or just for general information. No formal action is taken at Workshop meetings.
The public is invited to attend and encouraged to comment or ask questions in an informal manner on any of the items being discussed or on any other subject. The agenda is created to provide a guideline for discussion.
Consent Agenda Items
Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said she would read the items on the Consent Agenda without comment unless there were questions.
Contract for Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance with National Insurance Services. There were no questions.
Contract for Long-Term Disability Insurance Coverage with National Insurance Services. There were no questions.
Contract for Employee Benefit Plan Consulting and & Accounting Services.
Commissioner McConnell said she submitted questions to the Manager on this. Manager Pavlicek responded to questions regarding long-term planning, and said that staff met with the consultant shortly after the first of the year to research options for self-insurance and stop loss insurance that could reduce overall Village expenses in the future, or at a minimum, reduce the rate of annual cost increases. They asked the consultant to get back to staff in early May. This will be discussed in preparation for the FY 07 budget. She said that the consultant has direction from the staff.
Commissioner McConnell said she would also be interested in knowing the impact of changes in their contract.
The Manager said that staff would like to give advance notice to the Council regarding any negative impact from insurance coverage. She said she would provide the list of other bidders to the Mayor.
The Mayor said he is a bit disappointed in this group regarding their stop/loss insurance. He said they didn’t work very hard last time to get the Village a quote.
Resolution Opting Out of Provisions of the Federal and Illinois Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Acts. The Manager said this is the annual resolution they provide for new employees regarding pre-existing conditions not covered for the first 12 months of employment.
Grant Application: 2006 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The Manager said this is a resolution requesting permission to apply for a Homeland Security grant for self-contained breathing apparatus.
The Mayor asked if this is automatic. The Manager said that they need Council’s approval to submit the grant, and it is a fairly competitive grant. The Mayor recommended sending a copy of the grant to Congressman Biggert’s office as well.
Grant Application: FY 2006 Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Program. The Manager said this is a resolution for a Bureau of Justice Assistance 50% matching grant.
Bid: St. Joseph Creek Abandoned Culvert Stabilization, Project SW-009.
Commissioner Tully said he spoke to the Manager earlier about this with respect to the $15,000 that would be taken from future projects. He asked about other projects expected to come in under budget that will fund this project.
Manager Pavlicek said project updates to the FY 05 /06 budget showed a total expenditure of $60,000 for the St. Joseph Creek with completion in April 2006. The FY 06 /07 budget will need to reflect the fact that the project work will not be done until May 2006 and the project will need to be shifted out of the current fiscal year and into FY 06 /07 at the contract amount of $74,000. The difference from the $60,000 estimate in the current fiscal year and the actual contract amount will result in $14,000 coming out of the cash reserve in the capital budget. A change will be submitted in the budget. It will show a reduction in the cash reserve by about $14,000. Staff believes this will not short-change any other stormwater project.
Change Order: Gilbert Avenue Sidewalk Improvements, Project S-004. The Manager said this is to complete and finalize the project.
Commissioner Tully said he was informed, via a resident’s inquiry, that the road striping had worn away.
Dave Barber , Director, Public Works, responded that the project was done late last fall when weather was changing. The new striping will be done as part of this year’s paving program.
Dr. Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, said that the sidewalk is a good addition to that area. It’s much safer and makes a good connection to the Forest Preserve and Belmont Prairie area. He encouraged people to take that walk. He further referenced that Meadowcrest was added to the change order, but he was told this was the same company that was finishing up another job.
Contract Extension with Kale Uniform, Inc. for Police Equipment. There were no questions.
Contract Extension with Kale Uniform, Inc. for Police Uniforms. There were no questions.
Purchasing Authorization: In-Car Digital Camera.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether this would place a camera in each squad car during a shift.
Police Chief Bob Porter said it would not. These cameras would equip ten cars, with another ten needed to equip the entire fleet.
The Mayor asked if this is coming out of the Tech Fund. Chief Porter said they are comfortable doing this ten at a time. The Mayor said they should go ahead and fund all 20 of these.
Commissioner Schnell said the advantage of having cameras in all of the cars is that DUI ’s are easier to prove with the cameras in place. Chief Porter said that they have purchased other equipment out of that fund including a vehicle for traffic enforcement. The Manager said staff can put together more information before budget finalization regarding the Tech Fund. The Mayor said he would like to look at what they are going to buy over the next 2-3 years and suggested the Tech Fund reimburse the Village.
The Mayor asked if the County Clerk’s office is getting better at tracking and making payments on those cases. Chief Porter said there is still a delay after a case is processed, sometimes up to two years, but the funds are there.
Resolution Authorizing Environmental Remediation at Acadia on the Green. There were no questions.
Approval of Plan Modifications for Midwestern University Administration Building (Ord. #4724).
Commissioner Tully noted that in November 2005 the University requested a special use with respect to this new building. Revisions to the plan do not change the footprint of the building or the application of the special use. He said he appreciates having the opportunity to review this change, and this will not change his original vote. They still meet the requirements of the ordinance.
Dr. Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, said he represents Pierce Downers Heritage Alliance and supported the original request from the University. He is pleased that the Council can accommodate this small change.
Active Agenda and Informational Items
Public Hearing: FY 2006 /07 Municipal Budget.
Mayor Krajewski called the Public Hearing to order at 6:49 p.m. to consider the proposed Village Budget. Notice of this hearing was published in the Downers Grove Reporter and a certificate of publication is made a part of these proceedings. He then summarized the procedures to be followed for the Public Hearing. He asked Cara Pavlicek, Village Manager to provide an overview of the proposed budget.
Manager Pavlicek said that the proposed budget for the Village is conservative, reflecting a reduction in the property tax rate for residents of the community. Its goal is to maintain the existing services. There is no reduction or increase in services. She said that documents have been prepared taking the twelve-month equivalent numbers and applying them to the eight-month budget. The budget reflects the change in the fiscal year. Staff has made the modifications to reflect the 2/3 budget where appropriate. She said changes shown are in regard to the St. Joseph’s Creek project to reduce expenditures under the capital budget by approximately $60,000 in FY 05 /06 and increase expenditures in the capital project for FY 06 /07 by approximately $74,000. Also, at the Budget Workshop held on February 25 at the Public Works Facility, and at other meetings, Council members discussed the downtown TIF budget and whether they should technically “write-off” funds due other general fund categories. The auditor’s response is not to do that at this time, but proceed with the budget and show the amounts due other funds to the downtown TIF budget. There will be a management note about the deficit position of that fund for another year. They will work more closely with the auditors on this. She indicated that they are not clear about the remaining life of the TIF District to track those dollars.
Manager Pavlicek then said that in April they will do a downtown TIF update and long-term financial strategy. The budget proposes paying off $4.5 million of debt in the downtown fund. She said that it is a healthy district. The Mayor asked how soon after the close of the fiscal year the TIF audit is done.
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca responded that the TIF audit reports are done in October/November.
Commissioner Tully said that on February 25 an all-day meeting was held with details of the budget open to the public and televised. He explained that the Village will be changing its fiscal year from May 1/April 30 to the actual calendar year. The numbers reflect the eight-month budget through the end of 2006.
Commissioner Tully then noted that the budget reflects a decrease in the property tax rate of $.41 per $100 of equalized assessed value (EAV). Property with a market value of $300,000 (which is an EAV of $100,000) will be assessed $413 in 2006 for Village services, as compared to $439 in 2005, assuming no change in the assessed valuation.
Commissioner Tully then discussed questions brought up with respect to the Village debt, noting reference to the debt service fund on page 11. He said the current Village debt to valuation ratio, a comparison of total amount of debt to the total value of the Village’s assets, is 2.3%. The debt valuation ratio is well within industry-accepted standards for a healthy, well-managed municipality.
Commissioner Tully referred to a question raised at the February 25 meeting regarding the Ice Festival in relation to Tourism and Events, and whether this is an event or tourism function, and the appropriate sponsor. The Tourism & Events Commission looked into this. The Ice Festival originated with tourism goals. It has become a well-liked and well-attended community event, but it no longer has a tourism component. He said the question raised was whether this is something the Village can and should be doing, or if there is another organization better suited to do it. Based on inquiries, there are no organizations currently that can and want to take it over, so the unanimous recommendation was, due to its popularity, it should continue to be supported by the Village.
Commissioner Sandack said prudent planning and a good economy over the last couple of years has resulted in balancing the property tax with other revenue sources. User-based revenues have been increased. He said that the Home Rule vote being approved by the citizens allows Village services to be exactly the same as last year while reducing property taxes. He said the Village has done prudent cash planning with respect to reserves as well. There is now a cash balance of significant dollars to be used to retire Village debt.
Commissioner Waldack thanked staff for their work on this budget, saying he thought the process went well and was very open to the public, noting however that only five people attended meetings. Yet, for the Home Rule referendum 11,000 citizens voted which shows that the citizens are paying attention. He noted that about 4,200 people signed the Home Rule petition while only 2,800 voted in favor of ceasing Home Rule. He’d like to know why those who signed the petition did not vote in favor of it. He urged people to contact him.
Commissioner Waldack noted that the Village will be retiring $4.5 million of debt this year. The Home Rule Sales Tax will help to fund the infrastructure. He also noted funding for senior services and transportation system. It is a very good budget and a good plan.
Commissioner Schnell thanked the staff for the good job of providing information. One of the benefits of a healthy economy is having the ability to reduce property taxes. Shopping locally helps to keep the property taxes low. She said that staff keeps coming in under budget, and the Council and residents appreciate that. She noted that the Village has enhanced services for seniors, and fully funds the requests of the DuPage Senior Citizens Council Meal/Home Chore Programs. It is a good and reasonable budget that can continue to provide quality services to the residents and allows continued funding for capital projects.
The Mayor said that about $10 million debt doesn’t get figured into the budget because there is a revenue stream to cover it through the TIF increment. This, in his opinion, was the easiest budget process in seven years, and he believes staff did a good job of presenting it. Last year the Village finished with a $5.5 million surplus, and now they are looking at about $3.5-$5 million this year. He said it looks as though they will be under budget again this year, which is about $10 million surplus in two years.
Dr. Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, said this is a good and interesting budget. He sees one problem with the Community Development Department, in that a Senior Planner will not be hired until 2007. With all the work in Planning, it would be good to hire this person before January 2007. There is a good staff but this is a serious problem. The Senior Planner should be involved in the decisions of the next eight months. He encouraged the Village to find a way to do that hiring before January 2007. He then referred to Item 11, page 11 referencing Section 3-10, and asked for an explanation of that document.
The Manager said the document has been on file at the Library since February, and is also online. It is approximately 100 pages.
Dr. Goodman asked about the summary sheet that accompanies the proposed ordinance listing the budget amount for each of the major categories. In all of the Village budget amounts there are two numbers, one for the twelve month, and one for the eight month figures. In the Library, however, the figures are all the same in both columns, and asked if that is because the Library submitted an eight month budget in the first place. The Manager said the Library submitted a twelve month budget, and the Village left the amounts in out of respect for the Library. They have certain expenditures such as subscriptions and memberships that are due for the full twelve months. Based on Council direction, the staff can consult with the Library prior to April 4.
Mike Baker , Assistant Village Manager, said that in order to change those figures it would require approval of the Library Board, and since they had originally adopted the twelve month budget staff felt it appropriate to leave the figures in and adopt the budget as originally approved by the Board. Dr. Goodman said the actual will then reflect the eight months, and the Manager said that was correct, with the exception of annual renewals.
Commissioner McConnell said the Manager’s recommendations make sense. She also thanked staff for their hard work. She said the process was easier and less traumatic than in the past. Some of the process changes were helpful. She agreed that the Home Rule vote was a vote in confidence of the philosophy of Home Rule and the benefits it brings to the community, but she doesn’t want the Council to lose sight of why that may have come to a vote in the first place. She would like to see Council continue to increase its efforts in communication and continue to remain a transparent Council. She believes the Village has made great strides in the budget on pay-for-performance and customer service. This will have a positive impact on the budget. As for capital expenditures projects, this has improved with the five-year plan, but there is still not enough money for all the projects and it is important to continue to focus on this.
Commissioner Urban also thanked staff saying this was an easy budget process. Although he was unable to attend all the meetings, he was at ease knowing six colleagues and a staff who have served as good stewards of the money were handling it. The resounding defeat of the Home Rule showed that the people have spoken. The people believe in the staff and the Council, and that they will be good stewards of taxpayers’ money. The Council and staff must go forward and listen to the public, respecting their needs. He believes moving to the calendar year budget is a step in the right direction. Being a community with millions of dollars in surplus is phenomenal in his view. He thanked the staff and the public for believing in the Council.
Commissioner Tully said that a good budget is a product of good organization and good leadership. He thanked the Department heads and the management team for presenting a budget that keeps quality services and lowers property taxes. He charged the staff to now come in under that budget. Commissioner Tully said in the next budget he would like to see “capital improvements” referred to as a “community investment plan.” In regard to the Library’s budget, he asked whether they will make adjustments for next year. The Manager said they are on-board for next year.
Commissioner Waldack said he is encouraged that people are participating in the process. He also thanked the Finance Committee for all of their work throughout the year. He noted that the County is having a strategic planning session, and their largest source of income is the sales tax that generated 30% of their revenues. Property taxes generate about 15% of their revenue.
The Manager said that in regard to the surplus, the only way they have been able to reduce expenses is to be conservative in the general fund operations. Council is sensitive to Community Development. She feels Community Development has a competent staff and does not recommend filling that Senior Planning position at this time. She noted that she entered the organization after staff did the bulk of the work on the budget. Staff could not have done their job without Council dedicating their time to meetings and setting policy.
The Mayor pointed out that Dave Fieldman is serving as Senior Planner with staff at this time.
There being no further questions or discussion, Mayor Krajewski closed the public hearing at 7:28 p.m.
Resolution Amending Compensation Plan. The Manager said this relates to the annual budget process. There are two collective bargaining agreements for employees connected with a recognized union. The resolution identifies, recommends and proposes wage changes for employees not part of the collective bargaining agreement. Wage changes are being viewed in connection with performance related measurement standards.
Commissioner Sandack said wages for non-union employees has been the topic of much discussion. The Village needs competent, professional people. While one cannot get rich working for a municipality, the Village must be competitive with neighboring communities. He is interested in pay-for-performance as an incentive to excel. Managers have all been charged with reaching identified goals so people are rewarded for their efforts and given an incentive to excel.
Commissioner McConnell said that this proposal allows the Village to make a big leap forward, including having an average percentage pool to reward performance, but also having additional funds set aside for exceptional and high performers. The challenges will be getting an evaluation process in place so that it is fair and consistent.
Residential Zoning Regulations – Information Only. The Manager said this is an information only item, but asked the Deputy Manager to provide an overview of this item.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman gave an historical perspective of the proposed Residential Zoning Regulations going back to late 2004. There were three community dialogues held on this issue, as well as the Plan Commission review and numerous meetings with developers. The goals were to simplify regulations for the public and reduce the potential for negative aesthetic and drainage impacts of larger, new homes and additions built in established neighborhoods (i.e. the teardown issue). Mr. Fieldman said that the proposed changes are summarized in the Council’s packet, including side yard setbacks, maximum building height, lot-cover ratios, accessory structures, buildable lots, and general housekeeping items. The recommended changes come from staff and the Plan Commission.
Commissioner McConnell said that it seems as though they have come a long way from their original intent. She would like to have some specific detail on the 18” versus 24” window wells.
Don Rosenthal, Director, Community Development, said the smaller the window well the more area there will be for water management. Developers were concerned that the 18” window well would not be readily available, however, research shows that it is available.
The Manager said that currently window wells are built into side yards, and if there is a 5’ side yard setback, window wells can be up to 12” from the lot line. Now the regulations state there can be only an 18” encroachment.
Commissioner McConnell said that she understood that sometimes the window well can also be considered as an escape route and asked whether that can only be done with a 24” window well. Mr. Rosenthal said that an 18” well will work. There was some comment on the ability of some to escape through an 18” well.
Commissioner McConnell discussed the issue of impervious coverage. She wants to understand the potential impact from a stormwater perspective, and asked why they are not putting this into Round 1.
Mr. Fieldman said there are two ways of looking at impervious coverage, one of which is lot coverage ratio, and more detailed impervious coverage, which includes building plus pavement. He indicated that the Public Works Department is working on a Stormwater Master Plan, looking at the impact of the impervious area increases. They are waiting on that study to move forward.
Commissioner McConnell asked about gravel-based driveways, because she thinks the ordinance would not allow that. Mr. Fieldman said that the intention of a gravel base would be to allow for more semi-pervious area on the lot; however, the impact on drainage appeared to be minimal, and they thought it was an aesthetic issue and recommended remaining with a hard dust-free surface for parking vehicles.
Commissioner Sandack said this is the product of hard work by many people and shows thoughtfulness and meaningful discussion. Regarding the “less than 60’ lots,” he wants to make sure there are not unintended negative consequences. He tends not to get involved in the aesthetics issue and lets the market decide. In regard to the less than 60’ lots they need to do all they can regarding stormwater management. He is concerned about being overly technical in regulating window wells and air conditioners in the side yards. The Commissioner said this is a terrific starting point and he would like to hear from residents. They are on the right path to simplifying the Code.
Commissioner Schnell thanked the staff for the process, which started with the community forums and the staff listening to what was being said. She said the Village needs to be clear with the public regarding implementation, and be clear that those with permits will not be operating under these new regulations. She said they must also be clear with the builders and the public as to the timeline for implementation. She would like to see an action plan at the April 11 meeting, and to know how much of the community will be nonconforming. There is fear and apprehension on the part of the public. Commissioner Schnell then asked about “Lots of Record” and what it will mean, and how many lots would be affected. She reiterated that the key to the success of this will be communication. She again thanked the staff, the Plan Commission and the community groups involved in this process.
Commissioner Waldack expressed his appreciation to the community groups, builders, residents and staff. He had concerns about the Plan Commission’s involvement in this, and said that they did a fantastic job. It will be a living document. This is a complicated process. The Commissioner noted one concern expressed at the first Plan Commission meeting regarding the 32% footprint versus the 25% footprint. He said that he believes Mr. Sbiral said that only one or two buildings would not conform. He will be looking for more input on that issue. He considers this a great job by the entire community.
Commissioner Tully said that no one can accuse the Village of rushing into this. He noted that the trick on this issue is to balance competing interests. The Village wants an ordinance that reflects the community. This process involved a great deal of thought, hard work and community input and he believes it will serve the community well. They need to get the ordinance in place and then continue to work on it. There are areas that are worth further discussion. He commented on the discussion of the possibility of Conservation Overlay Districts, which is not in the current proposal. He said that what is in the works, though, is a Historic Preservation District. These are not the same thing. The Historic Preservation has a different set of issues, requirements and benefits tied to it with an owner consent requirement. A Conservation District is not limited to architecturally or historically significant areas or buildings.
Mr. Fieldman said that the concepts are similar. The Historic Preservation District would refer to specific homes which have an historical significance. The Architectural Review Board is discussing that in April. Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District is similar in that it has specific rules applied to a specific geographic area. It could be a neighborhood with common characteristics, and not necessarily historical homes.
Commissioner Tully said that Historic Districts would be on a voluntary basis, and there are certain State criteria that relate as well. He also referenced the addition of standards for approval of amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, Section 28-1702, saying that what is being discussed is changes to zoning classifications and not to the text itself, as he understands it.
Mayor Krajewski said that this will be on the April 11 Workshop. He agreed that lots of these issues have been identified over the course of several years.
Dr. Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, expressed the support of the Coalition of Managed Development. This is a very good first draft. He joined in requesting additional data to help understand what has been going on and the anticipated effect of the proposed changes. He suggested they might want to know the number of demolition permits granted over the last five years, each year, or the number of residential building permits granted over the same period. Breakdowns of those categories might be made available also. He said that the Council and the community need to know this information. The Mayor said that Don Rosenthal has those reports, and Dr. Goodman asked that they assemble that information in a retrospective way.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
There were none.
MAYOR ’S REPORT
The Mayor said the Village has received an application for a liquor license for beer/wine only at White Hen Pantry, 5105 Fairview Avenue. He indicated that a Public Hearing may be waived with the application placed on file for two weeks. He is placing the application on file, and after the two weeks has passed, the license shall be issued to White Hen Pantry Inc. He noted that Corporate White Hen is taking over the operations.
MANAGER ’S REPORT
Deputy Manager Fieldman reported that the foundation for Building One of Acadia on the Green is being installed. The building permit application is on file and finalized plans for the public improvements are moving forward. They are on schedule with the project. As for Building Two, sales have not been opened as yet. Building One is sold out.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting 11 items to the Council: 1) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement with National Insurance Services of Wisconsin, Inc. (Life/AD&D); 2) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement with National Insurance Services of Wisconsin, Inc. (Long-Term Disability); 3) A resolution to opt-out of compliance with the provisions of the Federal and Illinois Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Acts for the Village Health Plan year beginning May 1, 2006; 4) A resolution authorizing execution of a plan consultant & accounting administration agreement with GCG Financial; 5) A resolution authorizing execution of an extension to the contract with Kale Uniforms (Equipment); 6) A resolution authorizing execution of an extension to the contract with Kale Uniforms (Uniforms); 7) A resolution authorizing submittal of grant application to the Bureau of Justice Assistance for the FY 2006 Bullet-Proof Vest Partnership (BVP) Program; 8) A resolution authorizing submittal of application to the Department of Homeland Security for the 2006 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program; 9) An ordinance adopting the Fiscal Year 2006/07 budget in lieu of passage of an appropriation ordinance; 10) A resolution amending the Downers Grove Compensation Plan by adopting a revised plan effective May 1, 2006; 11) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement with Versar, Inc.; and 12) A resolution authorizing an agreement with the County of DuPage regarding the Autumn Grove Resource Center.
Dr. Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, congratulated the Village on preserving its Home Rule authority. He commented on the question by Commissioner Waldack regarding the number of petition signers and the number of votes to overturn Home Rule authority. Many times people sign petitions to put a matter to a vote not knowing yet how they will vote on it. They’ve been told their signature will bring this to the attention of the public. He said this was an important education by both the proponents and the opponents for Home Rule, and the public learned about the potential benefits or problems connected to Home Rule. He said there was a reason why people wanted to look more closely at the Downers Grove government because there was a feeling that although the Village is doing well financially, there are still problems, such as redevelopment, which was identified in the Citizen Survey as the major concern in the Village. There were also problems with the Plan Commission not being able to advance the proposals on rezoning changes to the Council because the Plan Commission disappeared for a few months. People are sensitive to these issues and people saw that Home Rule was not the cause for the problems. The Council has a lot of work to do to obtain the same level of confidence that public has shown it has in Home Rule.
Phil Cullen , 4720 Middaugh, identified himself as the owner of Ballydoyle saying they have done well this past year. He thanked the Council and the staff for their support. It has taken a lot of people to make this a successful endeavor. They were selected by West Suburban Living as the Best Irish Pub in the suburbs. He referenced other awards received, including last week at the Suburban Nightlife Magazine Awards Banquet. He said 380,000 votes were cast, and Ballydoyle won five of the categories including the best overall restaurant, beating out 2,700 competitors. It’s not things that he does or anyone person in particular, but a combination of everyone involved. He said 100,000 people visited his restaurant last year, and 40,000 of those were residents of Downers Grove. He thanked everyone for that support.
The Mayor congratulated them on their awards, and he referenced other articles featuring Downers Grove. The Village seems to be getting a high profile in the Chicagoland area.
John Heye , 935 Curtiss, commented on the residential zoning as an architect in the Village. He said it is a good plan going in the right direction. He complimented the Village on its good attempt.
Wayne Tasic , 21W122 Butterfield, in Lombard asked about the Rules of Order regarding line items on meeting Agendas. The Mayor said that when he calls for comments on agenda items the public may ask questions or make comments on the issue being discussed. He also noted that there is an opportunity at Council meetings for public comments on issues on the Active Agenda and for general comments.
Commissioner Sandack commented on the opening of the new Jewel on Ogden Avenue, saying it was a nice improvement along Ogden Avenue. Dominick’s recently reopened their store, and the Jewel is a stunning store. There have been some subtle and not-so-subtle changes to Ogden Avenue and it is nice to see that happening. He also commented on the Home Rule issue thanking everyone who voted on it. It was such a critical issue and he is thrilled that 75% of the voters want to keep Home Rule and the Village in control of its own future. Home Rule sales tax is critical to maintaining a balanced budget, and allowed the lowering of property taxes in the proposed budget. He intends to assure that the Council uses its Home Rule powers appropriately to the benefit of Downers Grove citizens.
The Village Attorney said that the resolution authorizing the CDBG grant from the County for Autumn Grove Resource Center will also be on next week’s Agenda. She said it is for approximately $13,000.00.
Commissioner Waldack said this past week DuPage Mayors and Managers held a business meeting and as a part of it the DuPage County Foundation discussed a number of topics including daycare and work force issues. Issues discussed at his table included transportation, affordable housing and healthcare. He indicated that last week he attended a symposium on affordable housing with Bob Schillerstrom as a main speaker. Other County Board members spoke. The Commissioner then noted that there will be a DuPage County Strategic Planning meeting tomorrow with nine focus groups. He mentioned that the population in the County is 928,000 of which 10% are elderly.
Commissioner Schnell commented on the Jewel opening. She said there was no parking due to the huge turnout, but parking has since improved. Their landscape plan and sidewalk plan show how the Ogden Avenue plan can work. She said that example can be held up for other businesses. The Commissioner then thanked voters for coming to the polls. The benefit of this referendum is that it made the community talk about the issues, and she learned that there were a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings that did not have anything to do with Home Rule. She indicated that this goes back to communication. The Village needs to reach out to the whole community to discuss issues that come forward.
Commissioner Urban extended his appreciation to the voters for taking time to come out and vote on the issue.
Commissioner Tully asked when Mochel Drive will be put into place.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman said he will find out. It will be a summer project and he’ll obtain the completion date.
Commissioner Tully then said he can barely contain his pride in this community. The voters stepped up to the plate with 11,000 people voting in what was an abysmally low turnout elsewhere. Three-quarters of those voters saw past misunderstandings, misconceptions and some histrionics to the real issue which was Home Rule. They cast their votes in favor of Home Rule. He is proud that people voted, that they were educated and made their wishes known. He is proud to be a member of this community and thanked everyone who came out.
The Mayor said, regarding Ogden Avenue, that the Village has a grant for the vision of Ogden Avenue and asked that that be moved up if possible.
Mayor Krajewski said that there will be a meeting tomorrow with the Park District, Forest Preserve and the Village regarding Lyman Woods to discuss maintaining the streambank.
The Mayor then thanked the voters for coming out as well. In talking to residents, when he is out in the community the majority of comments he hears are positive. He said 75% of the voters voted to maintain Home Rule. He predicted the outcome based on what he heard. He agreed that they need to do a better job of communicating information to the public, noting that the parking deck was a perfect example. It came under budget yet people will say it was overextended. The correct information has to be sent out to the community
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m