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, Sean P. Durkin; Village Manager Cara Pavlicek; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Visitors: Press: Kirnn Mehenhle, The Sun Residents: Catherine Loney, GCG Financial; Alice Strelau, 5611 Brookbank Rd.; Marilyn Weiher, 4808 Wallbank; Jim Rievers, SLC , Inc., 4056 Glendenning; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore; Bill Wrobel, 7800 Queen Ct.; John Schofield, 1125 Jefferson Ave.; Michael Crowley, 5614 Brookbank Rd.; Greg Kaczinsky, Clark Dietz Engineers, 1817 S. Neil, Champaign, IL; Kathryn Engel, GCG Financial, 1333 Maple;* * Mark Thoman, 1109 61st Street Staff: Greg Zimmerman, Director, Human Resources; Mary LaLonde, Benefits Coordinator, Human Resources; Jonathan Hall, Stormwater Administrator, Public Works; Mike Millette, Assistant Director, Public Works; Bob Porter, Police Chief; Jeff O’Brien, Sr. Planner; Dave Barber, Director, Public Works; Mary Scalzetti, Director, Tourism & Events; Jim Jackson, Deputy Fire Chief; Dave Fieldman, Deputy Village Manager; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Phil Ruscetti, Fire Chief; Liangfu Wu, Director, Information Services; Rita Trainor, Finance Director
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
Manager Pavlicek reviewed the items on the Consent Agenda.
Bid: Village Hall Administrative Workstation Replacement.
Commissioner Tully asked whether this apparatus can be used in other locations, and the Manager said it could.
Commissioner Waldack asked whether the Village has considered purchasing used furniture for this purpose. Based on his corporate experience, he thinks it could be purchased used and asked whether that had been considered. There is a lot of opportunity with corporate downsizing to take advantage of used workstations. He said he would like staff to look at this now, or to keep it in mind for the future.
Health Insurance Renewals. The Manager said this is for contract extensions for life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance with National Insurance Services, as well as claim administration with Professional Benefit Administrators. A contract is also being presented for stop loss coverage with Hartford Insurance.
Commissioner Tully confirmed his conversation with the Village Manager concerning items that are beyond the extension provided by the purchasing policy, specifically the renewal for life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance. Normally this would be required to go out for bid. The Manager said there was no increase in the cost. Staff is not going out for bid now in order to get back on track with the new fiscal year. We will be bidding this out next year.
Bid: Standby Generator at Fire Station #1.
Hinsdale Center for Arts Community Arts Access Grant FY2007 Application.
Agreement with Comcast Commercial Services for Upgrade of Village-Wide Area Network.
Commissioner Sandack asked whether the technology group has been involved in this. The Manager said that it was handled at the staff level, which Dr. Wu confirmed.
Christine Fregeau , 1918 Elmore Avenue, asked that the Council consider expanding the on-line storage capability. In the past residents were able to look at the archives of past Council and Workshop minutes for each year. The Manager said that she believed that is not a Comcast issue, but a server issue. She thinks that consideration has been made in the budget to upgrade, but that won’t be addressed until 2007.
Acceptance of Public Improvements – Georgian Courts.
Extension of Collection Services Contract.
Mochel Drive Plat of Dedication.
Water Line Design Services for Summit Street and Lane Place (CIP Project WA-027).
Professional Service Agreement – Fire Station 2 Low Voltage Infrastructure Design.
Commissioner Sandack said he saw in the description that the wireless connection for the Village Hall to the Public Works facility was mentioned as an example of the vendor relationship as being good, but when looking at the agreement with Comcast (Item A-5 on tonight’s agenda), it showed the wireless connection as slow and unacceptable. He asked if this was the same vendor, or was equipment related. The Manager said staff would provide that information by the next meeting.
Active Agenda and Informational Items
Stormwater Master Plan. The Village Manager asked the Public Works Director to present this information.
Dave Barber , Director, Public Works, provided some background on the preparation of the Master Plan, which began in 2003. The need for a study to update information was identified by the Village’s Stormwater Utility Exploratory Committee and Village staff. The original scope included information gathering, review of past history, etc. Then they began hydrologic and hydraulic modeling. When they got into the study they discovered a need for the information on the modeling effort on St. Joseph’s Creek, and the height of that water during flooding situations. That information is still unavailable from the County, and since the County pays for that, staff felt it unnecessary to expend further funds on this. He reported on the stormwater survey sent to residents and their responses. The survey responses indicated that many of the flooding issues were related to power outages rather than the system’s inability to handle the capacity. Mr. Barber reviewed the mapping, which has been done digitally to date. Staff evaluated the local and County ordinances, reviewed the maintenance needs in the Village, and made recommendations as to the problem areas identified and general stormwater needs.
Mr. Barber said that tonight staff is requesting acceptance of the report, but will come back to the Council with specific information regarding implementing their recommendations. The report includes discussion of modifying the fees, constructing neighborhood storage facilities, mapping the community’s storm sewers, updating the street sweeping program, developing a stream restoration/maintenance program and updating the Village’s ordinance. He indicated that it is important to improve the public information and education program as well.
Concerning operation and maintenance, Mr. Barber said mapping is important to identify the work to be done, implement a work order system and track what has been or needs to be done. There also needs to be an upgrading of the overall program and staff training. Mr. Barber then reviewed the key maintenance recommendations including increasing the length of sewers cleaned, increasing street sweeping and establishing buffer zones. He said staff estimates it is spending 10,000-11,000 hours per year, and it is recommended that 22,430 hours per year should be spent to increase the level of service. That would represent at least five staff people. At this time, the Village is spending about $1.4 million for operation and maintenance, and should be spending between $50-$75 per capita, which translates to between $2.4 and $3.7 million a year. The recommendation in the report is to approach the $3.2 million figure, which would be recommended for the 2008 budget.
Mr. Barber said the priorities agreed upon include development of a proactive program, development of the capital program and coordination with other programs. We also need to increase the maintenance staff and purchase a sewer cleaning truck.
Commissioner Tully asked the reason for doing this study rather than going with the 2003 information. He recalled that in 2003 there was a list of backlogged projects, which amounted to about $3.3-$3.5 million, and at that time, it was recommended to establish a matrix and establish priorities. Mr. Barber responded that his understanding of the process, which happened prior to his joining the Village, was that surface projects were identified, but* c* apacity projects had not been identified. They do not know the condition of the infrastructure and how much work has to be addressed in that area.
Commissioner Tully said it is a best practice to have a Stormwater Master Plan and update it every 20 years. Mr. Barber agreed with that observation. Commissioner Tully said he would like to see the last plan, and would like to see plans of another community to compare and contrast it with the Village’s.
Regarding prioritization and the matrix, Commissioner Tully asked if staff will develop a matrix. The sidewalk matrix had public input and understanding, and he asked whether the plan is to follow a similar process. Mr. Barber responded that staff envisions using the criteria identified in the report to establish the matrix. They need to look at the potential damage to the community, and staff will look at storing conditions and providing a more specific matrix, as was done for sidewalks. Commissioner Tully said that he recalled that the Village had a detailed matrix which incorporated priorities based on neighborhood flooding, basement flooding, or other issues such as compromising roadways. Mr. Barber said that in terms of moving forward from the previous list, they find new projects every year. The issue becomes funding. He said that improvements of St. Joe’s Creek could be a $4 million project on its own. There have to be discussions on funding.
Commissioner Tully then said that he thinks it has been successful in the past to have periodic public review, such as was done with the sidewalks, and he would like to see that done here as well. Mr. Barber said he would like to see this done through the Stormwater Floodplain and Oversight Committee first, and then come to the Council. Commissioner Tully inquired with respect to the NPDES Phase II and the minimum control measures required as addressed in the report, whether that refers to Village costs. Mr. Barber said that it is anticipated that the Village will piggyback with the County on some of the projects. In further response to the Commissioner, Mr. Barber said that the estimated costs reflected in the Master Plan are costs after piggybacking with the County.
With regard to funding, Commissioner Tully said that there is an unfunded mandate to comply with the Clean Water Act, Phase II requirements. He said the Village’s Stormwater Management Operation budget currently is $1.4 million, and asked if they are contemplating an increase to $2.4-$3.7 million annually. Mr. Barber said that was correct. He said that adding storm sewers is not included in the figure. The Village is not on a cycle to clean pipes, so the Village contracts out to have the pipes cleaned. Regarding infrastructure improvements, he said the costs will be over and above what has been projected. He wants to be creative in the process, including swales, underground pipes, varying pipe sizes, etc. Commissioner Tully said they will have to be creative to keep the costs down and comply with the needs and requirements for the Village, and find different means of solving the same problem. Curbs and gutters are obviously issues that fall squarely in to the storm sewer system. He then asked about the ditching program, and whether that was in terms of swales, or roadside ditching. Mr. Barber said next they want to look at neighborhood drainage, and where the water is going from people’s backyards. They need to deal with this problem in a more positive way, but they need to look at roadside ditching. The Village needs to establish standards for implementation of programs, and for the safety of the neighborhoods. He explained that drainage and watershed overall plans will help determine best solutions.
Commissioner Schnell said that the report addresses redevelopment. She asked if the Village adopts an increased fee whether that fee would be put into a fund to serve the local region, or would the fund serve the overall area. Mr. Barber responded that the monies currently go into three special areas—Lacey Creek, St. Joseph Creek and Prentiss Creek watersheds. He would prefer to stay with that system.
Commissioner Schnell then asked if the Village has sufficient resources to work on a more regional basis when blocks become 50% redeveloped with larger homes. Mr. Barber responded that if the watershed plans are completed, it would help to have staff available. Staff is spending a great amount of time right now working on individual homes and problems. People don’t have a place to drain their water. If the infrastructure was in place, that would solve many of the rear yard problems. With the right Master Plan and money in the budget, they could schedule the overtime, solve some of the problems, and alleviate the concerns.
Commissioner Schnell then referenced the education component mentioned in the report, asking what kind of plan is already in place, and what changes are necessary to educate homeowners on taking care of the facilities. Mr. Barber said that the Village needs to do a better job of educating people as to the 300-310 basins that need to be kept open and free during storms. Staff has to improve communication with the people and the instructions need to be kept simple. He sees using the website home page for this part of the program. Commissioner Schnell asked whether that can be done with the present staff, and how to phase in the five people referenced in the report. Mr. Barber said that they need bodies to run the jet truck, clean the sewers, check the overflow routes and also include more contract hours. Maintaining the ditches is more expensive than maintaining the pipes.
Commissioner Waldack said that stormwater must be maintained, and there is a lot of work and funding to be done. He noted a suggestion made to buy Localized Poor Drainage Areas (LPDAs) rather than allowing development to take place on them, and he thinks this is a very positive suggestion. The question arises as to whether allowing construction on the LPDAs only makes the situation worse. He said he likes the Stormwater Management Plan, and sees the GIS system as the common thread between the Master Plan and Management Plan. He asked the estimate for the plan. Mr. Barber said the contract is for $216,000 and they believe it may be somewhat less. Commissioner Waldack said that is a lot of money for paper. He wondered how much is actually done by the consultants, and how much is actually done by the Village’s own staff in providing information to the consultants so they can prepare the report. He then referenced a figure on one of the appendices related to the number of daytime population and its effect on the stormwater. He is leery of some of the estimates made. Commissioner Waldack agreed that the Village needs to get started on this and do some actual work. He knows staff did a good deal of the work. He would like to see the staff come up with the information on their own and use consultants sparingly. He said the report expressed concern about funding, and he is always concerned when the consultants suggest adding feasibility studies. He said he was frustrated with the report in terms of what it cost the Village, although he does recognize that problems exist.
Commissioner Sandack said he agrees with some of the comments already made and shared in the hopefulness that they will start working on projects soon, although he said that studies are needed at times to avoid unintended negative consequences. He said that he believes they need to implement hardware in the next step of the project, acknowledging the backlog. Commissioner Sandack further stated that he would like to get to the matrix as soon as possible, begin work on capital projects, balance the study by beginning projects, and discuss the funding using some creativity. This is an extremely important project.
Commissioner Urban said that the onus is on the Village. He thanked staff for their work to this point. He said that in the study, Page 3-13, Section 3 refers to Village staff identifying nearly $8 million in needs. Staff has told the Village that there is a problem, and the Council needs to tell staff to get it done and Council needs to commit to an amount to address this problem. He wants to see something done and get the process moving.
Commissioner Durkin commented on the street sweeping and the need for the jet vacs, asking about the debris found in the sewers. Mr. Barber said that the system is a combination of pipes and open ditches. There is nothing to prevent the debris from the ditches going into the pipe and going downstream, and they are not cleaning it out on a regular basis. He described catch basins, saying the basin has a sump at the bottom, and the pipe is actually about four feet above the bottom of the structure, leaving that sump area filled with all types of debris. These should be cleaned at least every two or three years. He explained that not all pipes have catch basins, but they need to maintain those existing catch basins. He noted some of the items found floating after the last storm, such as landscape timbers, railroad ties, wood chips, and small bicycles. He noted that some pipes in town are four to six feet in diameter and could plug up during a significant rain event.
Commissioner Durkin asked if there is a large percentage of leaves that have been there for years, and Mr. Barber said they are biodegradable and eventually disintegrate. The problem materials are stones, grit, sand, and other items that are not biodegradable.
The Mayor thanked Mr. Barber for his presentation, saying that the Strategic Plan emphasizes providing a top quality infrastructure, and they have been ignoring that infrastructure. He was concerned about going to an outside consultant for this report, and understands that there are concerns about the amount of money being spent on consultants. He said that there is a need to manage the consultants correctly, and this is a high priority. In regard to the County, the Mayor said that they appear to be willing to do the collecting and billing.
Alice Strelau , 5611 Brookbank, commented that the Master Plan has come from many years of work and clearly indicates a lack of maintenance of the infrastructure. She said they did not discuss that the report indicated that the Village’s water system will reach its useful life in 10-20 years, which will only compound the problem. She asked how the Village will fund this long term. She recommended that the Council look at a funding source that allocates a fixed amount each year, which must be set in stone to avoid bigger problems in the future. Ms. Strelau said that these problems have existed for a long time, and the Village needs to show true dedication to this issue. There needs to be creative solutions to drain all the backyard water into the Village system. This is difficult when the water crosses through three or more backyards. She further noted that the recommendations need completion dates and hopes the Council looks at this as an opportunity for establishing objectives and due dates. The Village needs a methodical approach to solve this problem and not just talk about it, not just create a plan for a plan. She would like to see a stormwater sewer map made as well, as she was told one does not exist.
Mr. Barber said that there is not one map. They have the old atlas sheets broken down into quarter sections with red pencil marks showing the location of the sewers. The Mayor asked if she is looking for a specific area. Ms. Strelau said that she envisioned a map that narrows the focus of the problem. The Mayor said perhaps she could be directed to the atlas for her specific area as a start.
Commissioner Tully said that he has recognized for a long time that this is as important as Village roadway projects. Work does get done, but there are far more projects than funds or the capacity to do them. The reason for considering the possibility of a Stormwater Utility is that it is one way to fund projects.
Mayor Krajewski agreed that ignoring the infrastructure costs more in the long run. He referred to the reconstruction of the entire downtown, which had been ignored for years and ended up costing a lot of money. One of the issues that will probably come up will be whether to go out for bond funding.
The Manager said that staff is aware of the priorities placed in the Strategic Plan, and that there is a short time between now and July to come forward with specific recommendations and options. Staff is committed to beginning the actual work on this project.
Discussion – FY07 Community Investment Program (Fund 220). * The Manager said that staff has prepared a report of changes included under the CIP (Fund 220) in FY07 . The changes include 1) an increase in sidewalk funding reflecting the $75,000 from developer contributions; 2) an increase in stormwater professional services by $300,000 to allow completion of studies of the multiple watersheds by July; 3) an increase for funding in the amount of $100,000 for the gateway entrance signs, $75,00 of which is from the CIP , and $25,000 from the Ogden Avenue TIF fund; 4) revenue projections for brick streets; and 5) shifting expenditures from FY 06 year end estimates to FY 07 based on findings of completion of existing projects, including the space needs study of Village Hall and the Police facility. They have not included items for funding increases for the 175th anniversary.
Mayor Krajewski said he is happy with the changes that have been made. He said that he and the Manager have had discussions attempting to find out what the actual reserves are in the General Fund. The Village has done well in the last few years in keeping expenses down, and there is now a healthy surplus. He asked about the cash amount projected for the end of the year. The Mayor said that one of the issues the Village has to deal with is that the State collects some funds and then takes three months to actually forward those funds to the Village.
Mike Baker* , Assistant Village Manager, said that the cash balance estimate is $11.3 million from the audit report. He indicated that the difference between the FY07 budget of $12,743,156 and the figure he showed on the overhead, which is $13,816,533 represents the first three months of Home Rule tax collection for the fiscal year 2006. He indicated there is an anomaly that occurs in distinguishing between the cash basis and modified accrual basis of accounting. He explained the three-month lag in the collection of Home Rule Sales Tax. The Mayor said that the gap will close between cash and the accrual audit because of the collection of the Home Rule Sales Tax. He thinks the right number is $13.8 million. The Manager said based on the Council’s last meeting there was an increase of expenditures in the General Fund that came up to approximately $1.3 million.
Mayor Krajewski suggested moving $1.2 million cash into the capital fund and then decide on the projects. That will still leave $11 million in reserve. Commissioner Sandack asked as to the range for a reserve, and the Mayor said two to four months, subtracting out some items. The Manager said that the policy is a cash policy covering a 2-3 months range, backing out some items. When the Village exceeds $12 million in cash it carries more cash than the policy requires and it is not unreasonable to spend that amount down. In further response to Commissioner Sandack, it is a surplus beyond the reserve. Staff will present the budget document next week telling specifically how many months that amount takes the Village through.
Commissioner Schnell noted that there are a lot of projects in the CIP that have not been done, and she would like a report from the staff with priorities established if they have additional funding available. She said she has no problem in transferring the money.
The Mayor said he would like to challenge staff to do more sidewalk projects and stormwater projects.
Commissioner Durkin asked whether the $200,000 mentioned for sidewalks is on top of the $175,000 and it was explained that it was an addition of $25,000. The Manager said that it would give a total funding of $635,000 for sidewalks. As to the number of feet, the Mayor responded to Commissioner Durkin that it would depend upon the area and the complexity of the project in those areas. Manager Pavlicek said that if the Council gives a monetary figure staff can provide specifics in terms of how far on the matrix they can move with those funds.
Commissioner Urban said he recalls great discussion some years back about the Council setting policy for cash reserves. He said that according to figures presenting tonight, the cash reserve is approximately $12.4 million. The Manager clarified the audit figures and the actual year-end figures. The Mayor said that there will be another $2.5 million in cash at the end of the year. Commissioner Urban said if the Council were to do mini-votes tonight he would be in favor of adding the $200,000 to the sidewalks, and would also like to bring the reserve down to $11 million. The Mayor agreed he would like the target of the reserve to be $11 million.
Commissioner Tully said that the amount of the reserve funds decreased during the recession, but that is what those funds are for. As long as the Village is within the reserve policy there is no problem with committing funds to community projects. If they can stay within the reserve policy, he is in favor of reinvesting the extra funds into the community. He said that the Village has a 2006-2021 Community Investment Program that identifies projects and their priority levels. He suggests that they begin with those listed in the 15-year program. He said that the base for new sidewalk construction was established as $360,000, and the Council talked about increasing that base by the amount received from developers for a fee in lieu of. That amount is anticipated to be $75,000 plus or minus. He also said that they should build in an escalator to account for inflation. He agrees with the $200,000 additional for sidewalks to bring the funding to $635,000. The Mayor said they can put the escalator into the budget for future years.
Commissioner Urban said he wanted to make sure it was clear that an additional $200,000 is being devoted exclusively to the construction of sidewalks. The Manager said that the $175,000 figure referred to Commissioner Schnell’s original request that funds be placed in the sidewalk fund in honor of the Village’s 175th anniversary; however, that figure has been increased by $25,000, to $200,000.
Commissioner Sandack said he agrees with everything said about staying within the reserve policy and prudently spending on capital improvement projects. He would like to increase funds for stormwater projects, not professional services. He would like to see some creative bidding and project management to coordinate projects and get some work done.
Commissioner Waldack commented that the escalator could be applied to both the Village side and the developer side.
The Manager said she would check to see if any changes need to be made to the current ordinance. She noted that there is risk involved when they double the funds for sidewalks in advance of obtaining professional services. She wants to be clear that the projects are coordinated so they will not be ripping out the new sidewalks in five years for some other project. She indicated that the staff will discuss those priorities and bring them forward to the Council.
Mark Thoman , 1109 61st Street, said that on the capital project sheets for Prairie Avenue, it references bonds for that road project. He suggested using the excess reserve on this project as the dollars match up well, and would eliminate the need to borrow the funds.
The Mayor asked that the 220 Fund be double checked and reviewed one more time.
Final Plat of Subdivision with Exceptions for Ruby Z Subdivision.
Jeff O’Brien , Senior Planner, said that Ruby Z is planning a three-lot subdivision at the northwest corner of Glendenning Road and 41st Street. The lots are 100 feet by 274 feet and the petitioner proposed to split off the west 100 feet of the lots. They are requesting four exceptions, the first two to maintain the existing 66-foot rights-of-way widths, which is less than the required 70 feet. Additionally they are requesting to omit public improvements to maintain the exiting character of the community, and they are requesting to omit the sidewalk on 41st Street. The lot sizes will comply with the Subdivision Code.
Commissioner Schnell asked how the water will be conveyed to the stormwater conveyances. This area has always had flooding problems, regionally. Mr. O’Brien said that less than three acres does not require stormwater detention. The two new lots will be required to comply with stormwater management, which will be directing the water away from the neighbors’ properties. One of the items the Village requested was a 7-1/2 foot easement to reconstruct the existing stormwater easement. Commissioner Schnell said that should have a positive effect, and Mr. O’Brien said that was correct. The properties will be ditched or swaled.
Commissioner Waldack asked if they will have to come back to the Village with a stormwater plan for Lot 3, and Mr. O’Brien said they will have to comply with the Village Code. Commissioner Waldack asked about maintenance. Mr. O’Brien said that typically the subdivisions are set so that the Village receives as-built plans to better monitor the swales. They also require an overall grading plan as a more definitive way to enforce the ordinance.
Commissioner Sandack noted that the exceptions sought are ones that the Village regularly sees. This area is a more rural area, but he thinks they are stalling what will eventually be inevitable. As for the minimum lot size, width and depth are being maintained. The stormwater can only improve, as these will be graded lots.
Commissioner Durkin said he would like the wording to be changed from “to insure” to “must,” and change wording of “confident” to expressing a demanding tone. The Manager said that the actual ordinance has mandatory formal legal language. The green sheet is for better public understanding.
Commissioner Tully thanked staff for putting up the aerial photo of the property in question. He reviewed the subdivision request and the exceptions being sought. He then reviewed Section 20.602, the criteria for exceptions. The right-of-way exception is to conform and not deviate from the existing character. He said that curb and gutter are not there now, and the request is to conform to the neighborhood. The developer will contribute the sidewalk fee in lieu of the sidewalk again to conform to the neighborhood. He then asked if there was a fee to be paid in lieu of the curb and gutter requirements.
The Manager said that the inequity comes when you have a development that was constructed under County requirements, and the area is now under the Village requirements. Commissioner Tully said that he understood the point, but he thinks, as part of the Village’s plan, they should consider establishing an “in lieu of” fee for curb and gutter.
Commissioner Schnell agreed with Commissioner Tully, saying that there is so much redevelopment in the community and this is an equitable way to get funding for curb and gutter. She believes this is a discussion that they need to have.
Commissioner Waldack added his agreement to having the discussions in a future Workshop. He said that another possibility is a Special Service Area.
Planned Development Ordinance, Special Use & Final Plat of Subdivision for Fire Station 2.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman provided a brief history regarding the Fire Station 2 project, noting that staff conducted reviews of the facility needs, location, etc. He now is requesting approval of a Planned Development, a special use and proposed plat of subdivision. The variations are for setback reductions along Main Street and 55th Street, and for an open space variation from the required 30% to 28%. The subdivision will combine the existing lots into one lot. He referred to the plans in the Council’s packets, which are similar to the schematic plans presented earlier. He said that the zoning plans include the engineering plans and landscape plans. Mr. Fieldman said that they were before the Plan Commission Monday night. The standards, which have to be met, can be brought to two basic questions: 1) is the facility needed at this location; and 2) what are the reasons for the variations requested. The need was solidified by the Council’s approval several months ago. Because of the unique needs of the fire apparatus, they have to request certain variations. He referred to the site plan overhead showing why the variations are being sought. There are several design features of the plan that will bring the development into character with the neighborhood. There will be extensive additional landscaping along the western lot lines that will screen the parking lot from the neighbors behind it. The location of the building is pushed further east toward Main Street to remain as far from the west side residents as possible. The majority of the building meets the setback requirements. The building is designed to be in character with the neighborhood with multiple rooflines to give a residential feel. He noted that the Plan Commission unanimously approved the request on November 6.
Commissioner Durkin asked whether the stoplight will be moved. Mr. Fieldman said it would be moved further south and updated and modernized to interact with 55th Street. Commissioner Durkin asked if it would be activated when equipment is leaving for a call, and Mr. Fieldman said that it would. He noted that when apparatus returns to the Station they will be able to pull forward into the apparatus bay eliminating the need to back in as they did previously on Main Street.
Commissioner Tully reviewed the questions before the Council as to whether standards have been met, and whether the variations are reasonable. He complimented the staff for the level of detail in the proposal, and wished they had the same standard of detail when other petitioners come before the Council. He believes the standards for variations have been met and appreciates the fact that alternatives were presented.
Commissioner Sandack said that clearly the Fire Station needs to be improved, the landscape plan presented is detailed, the rather minimal variations sought make sense in terms of the building location, and the plan is thoughtful and detailed, particularly taking into consideration the surrounding neighbors. He said that the Village has a duty to move forward with this.
National Ice Carving Agreement. The Manager said that staff was made aware of an opportunity to submit an application to the National Ice Carving Association (NICA) to be the host community for the 2007 National Ice Carving Championship competition. The Village has sponsored an ice carving festival annually, a portion of which is a NICA sponsored activity. This would be a sanctioned event. The Village has the opportunity to host the championship; the Village would have to pay a number of sanction fees and follow certain parameters and processes, which has a budgetary impact. There has been an alternative proposed after discussions with Commissioner Urban.
The Mayor said that there was no event in 2006, and the Village may be the only viable host community for 2007. The Manager said there was no overwhelming degree of competition, and they have an opportunity due to the prize money to attract more carvers.
Commissioner Urban said that the Village’s Ice Sculpture Festival event began ten years ago through the Tourism Board, but the goal of getting tourists didn’t happen. He provided background information. At first they had 20 carvers. He referenced a similar event in Plymouth, Michigan, which drew thousands of people. The Commissioner said that he has been involved with the National Ice Carving Championship event three years running as Community Events Director with the Village of Bensenville. Their first year was an excellent event, and because it was the year of the Olympics it brought a lot of exposure and press. He indicated that the Nationals would bring 30-35 carvers if there is time to prepare. What concerns him is that 1) they are looking to change the date. Merchants have already planned for established dates. He asked if they will be killing the event by changing the date; 2) There are a lot of charges, and he doesn’t know what they are paying for. No one bid on this last year. His suggestion would be to allocate the $20,000 for prize money and simply call this the Tournament of Champions. They would have to add additional marketing dollars for this as well, which are not included in the budget, if they want to have an economic impact.
Commissioner Tully said he appreciated Commissioner Urban’s comments. He said when this came up it was a time when the Tourism and Events Commission was looking to make the 2007 events more special, including expanded celebrations. He asked how many additional dollars they were planning to allocate to the Ice Festival regardless of this national competition.
Mary Scalzetti , Director, Tourism & Events, said there was no specific amount established. Commissioner Tully said he thinks this is an opportunity to explore further, since it fits in with the Village’s kick-off celebration. Last year there were 11 carvers who competed, but this could increase the number of competitors. Ms. Scalzetti said that the carvers are looking to qualify for nationals by scoring points, and the Village event helped them raise points for the nationals.
Commissioner Tully said that this would be the nationals and would draw in three times the number of carvers. He doesn’t know how much exposure of the Village would get from this. He said they don’t have to make a multi-year commitment, but this could be a way to make the event more special. He asked how NICA advertises this event. Commissioner Urban responded that they send out two newsletters with your name on it that invites the carvers to participate. He said there is no other advertising. Ms. Scalzetti said she would check with them on that.
Commissioner Tully said there are costs involved, but are there opportunities for revenue. Ms. Scalzetti said they are looking at sponsorship on this. Commissioner Tully said he is open to exploring this, and would want to know more about the logistics to make this work. He thinks it sounds like a good opportunity.
The Mayor said that this is $60,000 and it seems like a lot of money.
Commissioner Schnell agreed that it is a lot of money and seems like a tight timeframe to attract carvers and get people to watch the carvers. She would like to see more than the normal crowd for $60,000. She asked whether NICA would do local advertising and publicity. Commissioner Schnell asked if they would need additional personnel, and Ms. Scalzetti said that was included in the costs.
The Mayor noted the cost of $7,500 for ice and delivery, and whether that amount was different than what the Village provides. Ms. Scalzetti said that it is two days of competition versus one day. With to respect to electricity, this estimate is for the cost of the electrician. It could be less.
Commissioner Urban said the green sheet shows $12,000 being earmarked for the ice festival, and asked how much of that was prize money. Ms. Scalzetti estimated $5,000 or $6,000, but would check. Commissioner Urban then noted that every tournament held throughout the year earns points for the carvers. The 11 carvers from last year all earned points to go to nationals, and he noted that there were no nationals last year. He asked that staff call Dan Rebholz who lives in the area and ask him why carvers would come. Commissioner Urban said he doesn’t see the need for going through NICA when Ms. Scalzetti has done this for years. They just have to make it bigger and better than in the past. Commissioner Urban said when he was in Plymouth he was amazed that they were able to get sponsorship from Ford, and had team carvers who carved an Explorer out of ice. It’s the unusual that will bring people to town. He said that the carvers come for the money. He said he thought that this is a two-year contract for Nationals, and Ms. Scalzetti said it is an option.
Commissioner Sandack asked whether Community Events talked about this at all. Commissioner Tully said not as they normally would because of how quickly it came up. They did not have the luxury of the time to work on it as they normally would. Ms. Scalzetti said it will be brought up at their meeting on Thursday.
Commissioner Sandack said that NICA is located in Oak Brook. He thinks that $20,000 in prize money is good. He likes the Ice Festival as it has been presented, and doesn’t think this will draw tourists. This is a community event, and is not a big money maker. He doesn’t think that they should pay a lot of money for this.
Commissioner Waldack agreed with Commissioner Sandack, and is not sure how many people will be out in the cold weather to watch because fireworks would be added. He suggested they do something in lieu of fireworks.
Commissioner Durkin said that his younger brother lives in Plymouth, Michigan. He asked what the date would be if they do not go with NICA . Ms. Scalzetti said that they would go back to the January date, rather than February. As for national coverage, that would not be guaranteed, but the Village could try and promote that coverage.
Commissioner Tully said he hasn’t heard any suggestions for the 175th celebration.
Commissioner Urban said that the Ice Festival is a great idea, and he thinks they should invest more in it this year because of the 175th anniversary, but he doesn’t think they need NICA . If they have already committed to $12,000 and add another $20,000 it could allow staff to do a great job in expanding this event. And he also felt fireworks would be a draw. He said that Ms. Scalzetti needs direction on this tonight because of the time crunch. Ms. Scalzetti added that she thinks there are other things that come with NICA sanctioning such as criteria for judging, getting judges, etc. The Manager said staff would get Council’s direction and discuss it further.
2006 Aggregate Tax Levy for the Village of Downers Grove. The Manager said the Council has a report on this and the Finance Director is available to answer questions.
The Mayor stated that the tax levy is going down about 10% in rates and in overall dollars.
Commissioner Tully said that if the Village continues to be successful at keeping a diverse and vibrant revenue stream to reduce the property tax rate, they might consider dedicating funds for capital projects perhaps in coming years. He is not suggesting raising the tax rate, but dedicating a portion of what might otherwise be reduced to capital projects.
Commissioner Sandack said that makes prudent sense. The Village has diversified revenue sources. He suggested a discussion for dedicated funds including property taxes for capital improvements.
Commissioner Waldack said he never wants to increase the property taxes, but there are things that the Village needs to do. He asked whether the Village should continue to cut back the taxes, since these improvements have to be done. Coming to the meeting tonight and having the surplus identified and put toward capital improvements he thinks is the proper thing to do. Perhaps they can continue to reduce taxes and find additional fees to be instituted. He said that the Home Rule Sales Tax is designated for the infrastructure, and he thinks they should also do this with reserve funds.
Mayor Krajewski said that the property tax rate went up several years ago to cover the principal and interest on the TIF . Rates have gone down now because the TIF has been very successful, with more dollars coming in. That’s why the rates drop and continue to do so. He then discussed Council’s involvement in the Police and Fire pensions. The Manager said that is scheduled to be Workshopped prior to the yearend. Mayor Krajewski pointed out, however, that the Village taxes are only 8% of the total tax bill.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting 15 items to the Council: 1) A resolution authorizing execution of a letter of extension to an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and National Insurance Services of Wisconsin, Inc; 2) A resolution authorizing execution of a letter of extension to an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Professional Benefit Administration, Inc.; 3) A resolution authorizing execution of an amendatory rider extending an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company; 4) A resolution authorizing submittal of application to the Hinsdale center for the Arts for the Community Arts Access Grant FY 2007 ; 5) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Comcast Commercial Services, LLC ; 6) A resolution authorizing acceptance of public improvements – Georgian Courts and to authorize execution of a release agreement; 7) A resolution authorizing execution of an extension to the contract between the Village of Downers Grove and KCA Financial Services, Inc.; 8) An ordinance dedicating Mochel Drive from Curtiss Street to the Downers Grove Parking Deck; 9) A resolution authorizing execution of a professional services agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Sentinel Technologies, Inc.; 10) A resolution approving the final plat of subdivision for the Ruby Z subdivision with exceptions; 11) An ordinance amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois to designate Downers Grove Fire Station No. 2 as Final Planned Development Number 43; 12) An ordinance authorizing a special use for 5420 Main Street to permit construction of a fire station with variations; 1 3) A resolution approving the Fire Station #2 consolidation final plat; 14) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the National Ice Carving Association; and 15) A resolution authorizing execution of a contract extension between the Village of Downers Grove and Allied Waste, Inc.
Commissioner Sandack said he attended the 85th birthday party for the League of Women Voters. It was a nice event with great history.
Commissioner Waldack said he also attended the event and it was nice to see parties working together for democracy. He said they are the second oldest charter in Illinois and he extended his congratulations to them. He said that both men and women are invited to join their forums.
Commissioner Tully commented that one of the missions of the Strategic Plan is to honor our heritage and history, and he asked about the status of the Historic Preservation Ordinance. The Manager said that staff has received recommendations from the advisory board, and have not yet scheduled it for a Council meeting. They expect it to come forward within the next 90 days.
The Mayor congratulated Good Samaritan Hospital for being included among the top 100 hospitals for heart care. They have taken their hospital from good to great.
The Mayor thanked the second graders from Lester School for inviting him to visit and to read to them. They are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Lester School.
The Mayor asked for motion to go into Executive Session. Commissioner Tully moved to convene into Executive Session pursuant to Section 2©(2) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act to discuss collective bargaining matters, and pursuant to Section 2©(11) to discuss pending litigation. Commissioner Urban seconded the Motion.
VOTE : AYE : Commissioner Tully, Urban, Durkin, Waldack, Sandack, Schnell; Mayor Krajewski NAY : None
The Mayor declared the Motion carried. The Council convened into Executive Session at 9:55 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh