Skip to main content

September 12, 2006

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, Martin Tully, Ron Sandack, Stan Urban, William Waldack; Village Manager Cara Pavlicek; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden


Visitors: Residents: John Schofield, 1125 Jefferson Avenue; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore Avenue; Greg Bedalov, 4840 Seeley; G. L. Goodman, 5834 Middaugh; Mark Bushhouse, Williams Architects Staff: Fire Chief Phil Ruscetti, Deputy Fire Chief Bob Tutko; Fire Battalion Chief Bill Friedrich; Fire Lt. Matt Beyer; Police Chief Bob Porter; Stan Balicki Assistant Director, Public Works; Andy Matejcak, Director, Counseling & Social Services; Don Rosenthal, Director, Community Development; Dennis Burke, Assistant Director, Human Resources; Mary Scalzetti, Director, Tourism & Events; Rita Trainor, Director, Financial Services; Doug Kozlowski, Director, Marketing & Media Relations

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: Valley View Pond Dredging.

Bid: Large Water Meter Testing.

Village Manager Cara Pavlicek read the Consent Agenda items. There were no questions from the Council or public.

Active Agenda and Informational Items

Sale of Surplus Equipment. The Manager said an ordinance has been prepared authorizing the sale of surplus vehicles and equipment at the surplus vehicle auction held by the DuPage Mayors & Managers Conference.

Fire Station 2 Schematic Design. The Manager said there have been a number of discussions to finalize the space needs program and develop a schematic design for Fire Station 2. She noted that Mark Bushhouse of Williams Architects is in attendance at tonight’s meeting. She said staff is seeking review and discussion regarding the approval of the schematic design, including the elevations, basic concept of the floor plan, approval of a 30,522 square foot building, approval of exterior and interior materials, and layout of the site plan.

The building will be oriented toward Main Street and a public entrance will be on 55th Street. There are grade changes as well as an existing water tower. The schematic design indicates that the building would be constructed with brick, modular stone and asphalt shingles and would be of a residential scale. The doorframes are mirrored after the original fire station on Warren Avenue. The facility is designed to house specific apparatus and administrative offices.

Mayor Krajewski asked about the roof and brick colors.

Mark Bushhouse , Williams Architects, showed the actual colors. In response to Mayor Krajewski, Mr. Bushhouse said the architects came up with the initial ideas and presented them to the committee.

The Manager said there has been a public open house and an open house for firefighters.

The Mayor asked that the materials be taken to the firefighters at all three shifts.

Mr. Bushhouse said the firefighters have had a good opportunity to look at the floor plan.

The Mayor asked that they look at the exterior materials as well. As long as it is not out of place and is within reason financially, the firefighters should decide on the materials.

With respect to the color of the brick, Mr. Bushhouse said the architects and the committee think this color will look nice.

The Mayor asked if this color is typical of other firehouses. Mr. Bushhouse said it is in the range of what is seen.

Commissioner Tully asked how the Council can assure itself that this will be done right – within budget and timeframe. He said he does not want unforeseen change orders.

Mr. Bushhouse said to date their projects have come in within the designated budget. He addressed steps his firm will take to minimize risks, such as doing soil borings to determine site and soil conditions prior to construction. His office has extensive quality control measures to minimize change orders. Further, the owners’ representative will assist in guiding the process. He noted that the owners’ representatives are experienced cost estimators.

Commissioner Tully reiterated that he wants the facility to function as it should and he wants to minimize change orders.

In response to Commissioner Tully, the Manager agreed that the monument signs will conform to the Village’s sign ordinance.

With respect to contingencies, Mr. Bushhouse said there will be a contingency recommendation made by the owners’ representative.

The Mayor asked that staff look at the last several projects done by Williams Architects and review the change orders.

The Manager said this building was required to go through the same review process as external customers. The Village will have a building permit.

Commissioner Schnell referenced several Village construction projects. She noted that staff tends to under-design such that the facility is quickly outgrown. She asked if changes to the fire service have been built into this facility so there will not be problems in the future. She expressed interest that future advancements are built into this facility.

The Manager said the process was to do a space needs study, which tries to anticipate needs in terms of apparatus and staffing.

Phil Ruscetti , Fire Chief, noted that there were a number of conversations with the committee as to future needs. He noted that challenges include such issues as staffing, conduit, etc. He said they will try to keep a visionary eye as they proceed. He agreed with Commissioner Schnell’s concern and said he would like this building to wear out before it is outgrown or becomes technologically obsolete.

The Manager noted flexibility of the structure such as the ability to add more ambulances if necessary. She said that emergency medical service calls are the largest growing feature in fire services.

Commissioner Schnell reiterated that she wants to make sure this building is well thought out and future oriented.

Commissioner Schnell expressed concern about the two-level lobby in terms of energy usage. Mr. Bushhouse noted that this is a contained area.

Regarding space, Mr. Bushhouse said there is room for growth. If the Council so desires, a full basement could be built, allowing for more space on the upper floors.

Commissioner Schnell said she would like the drawings to include a full basement.

The Mayor asked as to the number of beds.

Mr. Bushhouse said there will be 12 beds, providing for growth. There will be seven people there at a minimum.

The Mayor noted that this will provide the ability to add staff.

Commissioner Sandack said improving response time and modernizing an obsolete building is critical, but must be done is in a fiscally conservative manner. He said he is concerned and wants to be cognizant of bids coming in with very tight prices, followed by many change orders.

Mr. Bushhouse said the specifications are extremely detailed. He said substitutions would not be allowed without the client’s approval.

Commissioner Sandack noted that a topnotch builder built the parking deck. Even so, issues were missed. He said communication is very important.

Commissioner Waldack agreed with the comments of the other Council members. As a municipal building, he said it is important to be concerned about energy issues. He asked that the architect and the committee consider conservation issues such as ways to cut back on water usage and to be friendlier to the environment. He noted the importance of setting an example for other citizens. He suggested that this building be designed such that it can be used by the public in emergencies. Regarding the basement, the Commissioner said it is better to include a basement rather than consider adding it at a later date.

Commissioner Urban reiterated that the Council does not want to see any change orders. He asked about specific areas of the firehouse such as the kitchen and exercise room.

Mr. Bushhouse noted that 12 people will use the kitchen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Manager said they are not building a station for one family, but for three different families; therefore, larger spaces are needed.

Commissioner Urban said he wants to be sure the space in the kitchen and exercise room is large enough for the need.

The Mayor asked the size of the exercise room. Mr. Bushhouse said it is 985 square feet.

The Mayor asked for specifics on the room dimensions.

Chief Ruscetti noted that the Fire Department has a fitness committee. He reviewed the manner in which firefighters with various levels of expertise have been brought into the discussions of the schematic design.

Commissioner Urban asked as to questions of the neighbors who were in attendance at the Open House.

The Manager said staff made a commitment to people that had questions that could not be answered at the Open House as to when they would receive answers. They were also told they may contact the Village at any time if they have other questions.

Commissioner Tully asked how much it would cost to provide a three-dimensional view of the design. Mr. Bushhouse said it would be a few thousand dollars just for the outside of the building.

The Mayor asked to review the list of equipment requirements for the exercise room. The Manager said she would provide that information.

The Mayor asked that the firefighters be kept appraised of this project. Chief Ruscetti said Brett Mowery of his staff has done an excellent job of getting information to the firefighters.

John Schofield , 1125 Jefferson, said he has three questions: The drawings are paid for with public funds. He asked that they be made available electronically on-line. He said a discussion of the site plan needs to take place. He noted that this facility will dominate the corner of Main and 55th Streets. He asked if the zoning setbacks will be met. Mr. Schofield said he is glad this project will be done; however, he has questions about the transition plan, including incentives and penalties, and said the public would be well-served by this discussion.

The Manager said with respect to the site plan and setbacks, this development will proceed as a Planned Development. As such, a public hearing will be held before the Plan Commission, after which the petition will come before the Village Council. Regarding the transition plan, the Manager said this will come to Council at a separate time. She noted that there has been considerable discussion internally about the transition plan.

McInerney Woods – Resolution Approving Final Plat; Resolution Approving Subdivision Improvement Agreement and Annexation and Rezoning Ordinances. The Manager said this is for the McInerney Woods Subdivision* * and includes a subdivision improvement agreement, ordinances annexing the properties and rezoning them to R-3, as well as a resolution for the final plat of subdivision.

Commissioner Tully noted that a preliminary plat of subdivision was previously before Council. He asked if there have been any substantive changes to the plat.

Don Rosenthal , Director, Community Development, said it is essentially the same plat.

Solid Waste Contract Renewal Process & Program Specifications . The Manager said Doug Kozlowski, Director, Marketing & Media Relations, has discussed this with the Environmental Concerns Commission and Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager, has worked on this as well. She said a motion is requested to direct staff to begin negotiations with Allied Waste, Inc. for a possible extension to the existing solid waste contract. If negotiations are unproductive, staff has the option of initiating a request for proposal process.

Commissioner Urban said he is glad to see this process started early. It appears that BFI (Allied Waste, Inc.) has different contracts with different terms in different communities. He said two refuse companies come to his business site. He would like to entertain the idea of a single refuse company. He noted that BFI does a great job. He would like a discussion of a recycling program in the downtown area.

The Mayor said he would like to look at the ability to have one vendor for businesses. He discussed some of the current issues such as trucks out earlier than they should be, truck traffic, dumpsters used in teardowns, etc. Having one vendor could drive down the costs to residents. He noted that the Village receives very few garbage related complaints.

Commissioner Sandack said the best way to keep prices down is to promote competition and not to marginalize the competition base by awarding a contract without going out to bid. He recalled that Onyx submitted a proposal that had a substantially better price, but was too late for the Council to accept. Further, Onyx had no track record of being able to accommodate the residents. He suggested that the best way to negotiate with BFI is to go out to bid. There are plenty of waste haulers that could handle Downers Grove. He cautioned against rewarding a business with exclusivity when they are marginal in terms of their prices. He said he would like this to go out to bid.

With respect to the business community, Commissioner Sandack said he does not think the Village should negotiate on behalf of businesses. He said he has a hard time with the idea of narrowing the marketplace.

The Mayor suggested talking with communities that have exclusive contracts.

In response to discussion, the Manager said staff will research the extension clause in the contract.

Commissioner Schnell suggested entering into negotiations with the attitude that the Village can get a better deal for our residents. She said she is aware of other communities that are being better served and/or have lower prices.

The Mayor said the cost of Amnesty Day was built into the garbage sticker price.

Commissioner Urban asked as to the profit BFI makes from our recycled papers, glass and plastics. He noted that people may not be aware that there are a number of refuse haulers.

Commissioner Tully said the Village needs to figure out what we need in terms of services. He is in favor of sending this out to bid to see if we can get better services and more amenities at a lower price. We need to say up front what it is we want.

The Manager referenced page 37 of the contract, which allows for extending the contract term for two additional years to March 2009. She said staff wanted authorization to approach BFI for preliminary conversations to explore opportunities. She agreed that we need to know the terms of other contracts BFI has negotiated. She also agreed that the Village does not want poor garbage collection and noted that we have a dependable service provider.

The Mayor asked staff to talk to other communities, to tell BFI what we want, and to be prepared to go with a bid.

Commissioner Tully said we need to do our homework in terms of knowing what other communities have negotiated. He said maintaining premier garbage collection is paramount. He leans in favor of competitive bidding.

Commissioner Sandack recommended that at least three staff members from the Village be part of the negotiation meetings.

The Mayor noted that there is confusion when garbage collection days are changed due to a holiday, and if the Village were to change haulers, it could be very disruptive to residents.

Commissioner Waldack recalled the discussion the last time this matter came forward. He agreed with Commissioner Sandack that the Village should look at competition. He said part of the delay last time was due to negotiations to join with neighboring communities to save money. He said he prefers to give the current garbage handler a chance, but agrees to test the waters.

Commissioner Waldack discussed efforts to encourage people to recycle and to compost. He noted that the Environmental Concerns Commission discussed composting and discouraging leaf pick-ups; however, he said leaf pick-up would help people save time and make the process easier. He said people are willing to pay for this service. He suggested considering brush pick-up twice a year. He said he would like to consider ways to build the cost of the stickers into taxes.

Commissioner Waldack noted that as the Amnesty Days have continued, there are fewer materials on the curbs. He suggested having designated days when people could donate specific goods as this could result in the need for fewer Amnesty Days. He said there are concerns about electronics recycling and proper disposition of electronic equipment. Commissioner Waldack recommended competitive bidding as well as being more environmentally friendly. Having more than one vendor may result in the Village being less reluctant to change vendors. * * He does not support having one vendor for all garbage collection throughout the Village.

Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, said he is a member of the Environmental Concerns Commission (ECC). He called attention to the ECC motion included in the materials the Council received. He said he is pleased this is being done in a timelier manner this year. He asked about the terms of the extension of the current contract.

The Manager said the contract stipulates a two-year extension.

Dr. Goodman said there is a lot of effort that goes into renegotiating a contract. If it is only for two years, he suggested that it might be more beneficial to go with a new contract that could be for five years. With respect to electronics, Dr. Goodman said that with the coming of digital TV, there may be a complete turnover of home entertainment equipment in the next five years. The motion of the ECC includes an electronics recycling event that has not been addressed. He encouraged the Council to review the motion. He further noted the need for an annual household hazardous waste disposal event. He said there are growing numbers of multifamily residences as well as small businesses.

Regarding Amnesty Days, Dr. Goodman said it is a great convenience, but a great burden on landfills. There are groups that make use of used goods and this should be part of the amnesty program. Dr. Goodman then referred to a contract provision on page 38 of the existing contract, which is stricken. He strongly recommended retaining this provision as it allows the Village to get contracts from other communities. He urged the Council to follow the recommendations of the ECC .

The Manager said she would provide more information next week.

Real Estate Signs Ordinance Amendment . The Manager said this will amend temporary off-site real estate signs. She said the Council previously approved an ordinance that made several amendments to the Sign Ordinance; however, this language was not included. This ordinance only addresses real estate or “open house” signs on the parkway.

The Mayor asked why garage sale signs are not included in this ordinance.

Commissioner Tully said this topic has been raised before. The reality is that open house and garage sale signs are placed on the parkway. He said he does not know the number of complaints received. He is in favor of changing the ordinance within parameters to provide for consistent enforcement. If there are abuses and problems, further action may need to take place. He suggested inserting language that would include garage sale and estate sales with the same limitations as “open house” signs. He does not want to include signs attached to utility poles (dating/lose weight) signs.

The Mayor asked if the back of the sign would include identification labels.

Enza Petrarca , Village Attorney, said it would.


The Manager said the next Coffee With The Council will be on Saturday, September 16, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. at the Farmers’ Market at the Main Street Train Station.


Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting six items to the Council: 1) An ordinance authorizing the sale by public auction of personal property owned by the Village of Downers Grove; 2) An ordinance annexing 1524 and 1556 61st Street to the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois; 3) An ordinance amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois, codified as Chapter 28 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code, as amended to rezone property located at 1524 & 1556 61st Street; 4) A resolution approving the final plat of subdivision for the McInerney Woods Subdivision with exceptions; 5) A resolution authorizing execution of a subdivision improvement agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and David Bradley and Bradley Land Group; and 6) An ordinance permitting open house signage.


Commissioner Sandack congratulated the Downers Grove Infant Welfare Society on their successful fundraiser at the Arlington Park racetrack.

The Mayor noted that the Grove Foundation held their annual event.

He said he attended the Fine Arts Festival on Saturday and presented awards.

The Mayor said the Public Safety Committee met last week; Council members in attendance included the Mayor, Commissioner Urban and Commissioner Schnell. He said they will have one more meeting. They discussed DUMEG and noted that the Village has historically been a participant in this organization. Other topics included the school counselors – he noted that Woodridge does not have an officer in the schools. He said District 99 has not reimbursed the Village for their share of the cost of this program. Also discussed was the DARE Program. The SWAT Team was discussed, the Committee reviewed the lieutenants’ positions, and also reviewed the cost of the parking program. The Mayor said the Committee will get more information. The Council can decide what to continue to fund.

There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

April K. Holden Village Clerk