1. Call to Order
Mayor Brian Krajewski called the regular meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Downers Grove Village Hall.
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
Mayor Krajewski led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
2. Roll Call
Present: Commissioner Ron Sandack, Commissioner Stan Urban, Commissioner Marilyn Schnell, Commissioner Martin Tully, Commissioner William Waldack, Commissioner Sean P. Durkin and Mayor Brian Krajewski Non Voting: Village Manager Cara Pavlicek, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca and Village Clerk April Holden Commissioner Urban arrived at 6:50 p.m.
The Council meeting is broadcast over the local FM radio station, WDGC . In addition, a tape recording and videotape of the meeting are being made using Village owned equipment. The videotape of the meeting will be used for later rebroadcast of the Council meeting over the Village cable television Channel 6.
The Council will follow the rules of conduct for this meeting as provided in Sec. 2.5 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code. These offer the public the opportunity to comment at several points in the meeting. First, immediately following approval of the minutes of the past meetings, an opportunity will be given for public comments and questions on the active agenda items for this evening’s meeting. Following this, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions on any subject. Finally, if a public hearing is scheduled for this meeting, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions related to the subject of the hearing.
The presiding officer will ask, at the appropriate time, if there are any comments from the public. If anyone wishes to speak, the individual should raise their hand to be recognized and, after acknowledgment from the presiding officer, approach the microphone and state their name and address. Remarks should be limited to five minutes, and asked that individuals refrain from making repetitive statements.
Mayor Krajewski said there are agendas located on either side of the Council Chambers, and he invited the audience to pick up an agenda and follow the progress of the Council meeting.
3. Minutes of Workshop and Council Meetings
Council Meeting – January 16, 2007 Workshop Meeting – January 23, 2007 There being no additions or corrections to the minutes, Mayor Krajewski said they would be filed as submitted.
Presentation of Appreciation Plaque to Tom Sleeter, Zoning Board of Appeals
Mayor Krajewski said Mr. Sleeter is unable to attend this evening’s meeting.
Fire Department Public Education Awards
Chief Ruscetti of the Downers Grove Fire Department introduced all of the firefighters who participated in public education activities, and presented awards to six members for their outstanding contributions to the Department and the community. Those awarded commendations were Lieutenant Matt Beyer, Lieutenant Dick Niedospial, Firefighter/Paramedics John Bockrath, Rob Padgett and Dale Smith and Firefighter Greg Curry.
Chief Ruscetti then expressed his condolences to the family of Fire Marshal Bill Mierzejewski who passed away recently. Fire Marshal Mierzejewski had a life devoted to duty and service to his country, his community and his family.
Affordable Housing Presentation
Susannah Levine – Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI)
Ms. Susanna Levine said she was present on behalf of the Business and Professional People for the Public Interest to discuss the shortage of affordable housing throughout the Village and DuPage County. She defined “affordable housing” as housing for which the occupant is paying no more than 30% of his or her income for gross housing costs, including utilities. She explained that this is a broad definition, going on to say that people who need affordable housing would be households of four members earning about $56,600, or 80% of the area median income level. She noted that the single-family median home price in DuPage County is $328,500. A two-income earning family in DuPage, for example a registered nurse and a bank teller, could not afford to live in DuPage county with their combined incomes. As for Downers Grove, in November of 2006, there would have been four homes listed that would have been within the income range of the registered nurse/bank teller household.
Ms. Levine addressed some common misconceptions regarding affordable housing, such as confusing it with public housing, or thinking affordable housing will drive down property values or will look like “cheap” housing. She said that affordable housing must comply with the same building standards as any other housing construction. She showed a slide of affordable housing in communities around the nation, including some affluent communities. Many cities require a percentage of housing developments to include housing within the affordable range.
The reason for the need of affordable housing, according to Ms.Levine, includes the fact that it provides stability for workers, families, children and seniors, reduces traffic congestion and air pollution, and strengthens the social fabric. She noted that in 2004, 40% of renters in DuPage County paid more than 30% of their income for rent, and 30% of homeowners were paying too much for their mortgage costs. She indicated that the figures continue to rise with as many of 60% of households earning less than $50,000 dedicating more than 30% of their income toward housing costs in Downers Grove. She noted the change of home values since 2005 in Downers Grove, saying that in 2000 the median value was $215,000 and in 2005 it rose to $362,000. The average price for a newly constructed single family house is now $791,000. It is important, according to Ms. Levine, that a community support all sectors of the community to encourage young families to return to Downers Grove and live, and to keep seniors in the Village when they choose to downsize.
Ms. Levine then addressed the question of the major shift in the economy, saying that there has been a dramatic growth in lower wage service sector jobs and a decrease in higher wage manufacturing jobs in DuPage County. She said that DuPage has become a hub for the low wage service sector industry, and has seen the highest growth of those jobs in the nine-county region. The supply of rental housing has not kept pace with the growth in lower wage jobs. A full-time worker in DuPage would have to earn $17.98 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment, which means a minimum wage worker would have to work 111 hours per week to afford a 2-bedroom apartment in DuPage County. The situation is the same on the homeowner’s side as on the renter’s side. Income growth is not matching the growth of housing costs. As a result, an incredibly complex commuter pattern has resulted with people commuting into DuPage to work, and returning to live in less-expensive communities.
Since 1970 DuPage County has seen a 478% increase in the number of commuters coming into the County to work. The impact of affordable housing shortages affects everyone. She indicated that studies show that the Chicago region as a whole is losing about $4 billion per year in wasted fuel, delayed shipments, lost work time, increased air pollution and traffic congestion costs.
As to what can be done, Ms. Levine suggested some possibilities. First would be inclusionary housing which requires that a certain percentage of all new development must be affordably priced. Developers would receive cost-offsets to make it feasible to include affordable housing in with the market-rate housing. It has become an attractive tool across the country and mirrors what is going on in the market. There are more than 200 inclusionary housing ordinances being introduced across the country. She noted that Evanston, Highland Park, Lake Forest, St. Charles, and others are working on these ordinances or already have them in place.
Another tool is to establish local housing trust funds for first-time home buyers, construction costs, etc. It helps to adjust housing costs, and there are about 3,400 housing trust funds across the country. She indicated that Highland Park has a housing trust fund based on a tear-down tax of $10,000 per tear-down that will not be occupied by the current resident, and some of those funds are used for community land trusts. She then reviewed the types of programs used in Highland Park, Arlington Heights, and other local communities.
The Mayor thanked her for her presentation, and noted that DuPage County has the highest income in the State, has a low crime rate, good schools, etc. There is a large demand for people to come to the County. He asked about the November statistics she quoted on housing and whether those figures were for single-family homes. Ms. Levine said they were for single-family detached homes. The Mayor then asked how communities determine who gets the affordable housing. Ms. Levine said that there are several options to allocate affordable homes; including a first-come, first-served basis, lotteries, pre-approved lists, etc. Mayor Krajewski asked whether anyone has dealt with the issue of single-family homes and Ms. Levine said that it depends upon the community. In communities that are built-out there may be less opportunities for single-family homes, and they have to go to condos or townhomes instead. It depends upon what the community can provide. The Mayor said that Downers Grove could possibly do this through condos and townhomes. Ms. Levine said that trust fund dollars can be used for preservation of existing single-family homes that might otherwise be torn down, and then place those properties in the land trust so they can stay affordable in perpetuity.
Commissioner Schnell commented on the land remaining with a trust, and asked how the buyer can get something back on their investment yet keep the housing affordable. Ms. Levine said that the deed restricts these homes. The homes appreciate at a given factor, and the homes are sold to another income-eligible buyer. Homes are allowed to appreciate at the CPI or whatever the 80% area median income is for that year. This allows home buyers to realize equity in their home.
Commissioner Schnell then asked about the preapproval process, saying that some people with moderate incomes may not even know the ins and outs of the mortgage process, so an education process is also necessary. Ms. Levine said that there is more and more realization that people need to be educated to the system. Some of this work is being done by nonprofit groups. She noted the Community Housing Association of DuPage (CHAD) is already doing this in the County, as well as the DuPage Home Ownership Center. Commissioner Schnell said her question relates to the amount of time and effort that has to be expended in the process on the part of staff.
Commissioner Sandack said Ms. Levine touched on three basic ideas for affordable housing, and asked if any other private/public partnerships have been implemented that have worked for towns like Downers Grove. Ms. Levine said many communities are using employer assisted housing wherein employers get a dollar-for-dollar match from the State. She said she could also put together a list of organizations in DuPage working in this area. Commissioner Sandack then asked whether there were any examples of programs already in DuPage. Ms. Levine said the best examples would be the land trusts of the Community Housing Association of DuPage. She said that is a system whereby the homeowner maintains 60% of the value and CHAD maintains 40%, which allows the property to remain affordable for the next purchaser. She said she would provide information on the housing stock available in the County.
Commissioner Tully asked, with respect to moderate income housing, if there are any national or state standards or benchmarks on the amount of affordable housing that should be in a community. Ms. Levine said the Illinois Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act was passed in 2003 and said if there is less than 10% affordable housing in a community there has to be an affordable housing plan submitted to the State. There is also a provision for creation of an Appeal Board. Forty-nine communities were under the 10% threshold. Downers Grove’s percentage was about 21% with the first calculation. There will be another calculation done in 2010. In 2006, Downers Grove slipped from 21% to 15% affordable housing, and it is conceivable that by 2010 Downers Grove may be under the 10% threshold and subject to the state law.
Commissioner Tully said that the Village has received anecdotal information that in this community there tends to be a longer term of residence than in other communities. He wanted to know whether that longevity is considered in the affordable housing issue. Ms. Levine said that a number of homes that were affordable when purchased ten years ago would not be affordable now.
Commissioner Tully asked for clarification if moderate income includes rental, single-family, attached or detached housing, and she said it does include all those types of housing. Commissioner Tully then asked what it is that they are really trying to preserve. Is it to make housing available for municipal employees, seniors, external workforce, societal equity? Ms. Levine said that the Village could begin with conducting a needs assessment and look at the demographics to determine what the needs are. Commissioner Tully then said that Ms. Levine’s presentation of solutions has been helpful. He pointed out that Downers Grove is landlocked and doesn’t have some of the opportunities that other communities may have. He is intrigued by the land trust concept of CHAD . Ms. Levine said she thinks CHAD is working with Wheaton to create a dedicated funding stream to preserve homes in Wheaton. CHAD has the capability to work with DuPage municipalities. Highland Park created their non-profit in the Ordinance when they created their Land Trust. In DuPage, CHAD is already up and running.
Commissioner Urban said that the Village needed this meeting put into place. He said tonight he heard potential successes stories, and asked whether any plans have failed anywhere. Ms. Levine said that the answer is probably yes, or at least some plans have been slow to produce housing. She indicated that this is new to the Chicago region, and what she has seen has been successful. She believes Highland Park is the farthest along of local municipalities.
Commissioner Urban then asked what the impact has been or would be on school districts and Ms. Levine said that there is a very nominal impact. This program may provide for greater density, but she hasn’t seen any negative impact on schools to date. Commissioner Urban asked about students entering the schools, and Ms. Levine responded that a study out of MIT showed that the numbers were lower than in single-family homes, because they were producing a number of one and two bedroom units which did not increase the number of children in the school districts.
Mayor Krajewski noted for the public that copies of Ms. Levine’s presentation were available.
Commissioner Waldack thanked Ms. Levine for a thoughtful and thought-provoking presentation. He referenced a community in Massachusetts that was losing its family population, which accelerated the loss of taxes, workers and major employers. He said that the Village needs to have a long-term plan on this issue, noting that DuPage County has been studying the issue for a while. He said it is important for the Village to consider what type of community it wants to be and what the future of Downers Grove will be.
Commissioner Durkin said he was overwhelmed by some of the statistics presented. He was pleased to hear about the CHAD program and its work in this area. He referenced Ms. Levine’s statement regarding a 478% increase in jobs in DuPage County from 1970 to 2000. He asked as to the types of jobs. Ms. Levine said lower wage sector jobs increased. She cannot quantify the exact jobs for people who are commuting into the area. Commissioner Durkin said he would not want to see Downers Grove fall to the 10% attainable housing figure. Ms. Levine said she would try to find a breakdown of the job types represented by the lower wage sector. People working in these positions cannot financially afford to live in this community so they must commute. Their wages do not support the housing prices.
Mayor Krajewski said that the Village spent two years recruiting Fry’s into the community and they have trouble recruiting workers because the workers cannot afford to live in this area.
4. Public Comments and Questions
A. Comments and Questions on Active Agenda
There were none.
B. Comments and Questions on General Matters
Bruce Beckman, 4629 Middaugh, said that in September there was a discussion regarding construction of Fire Station 2 and ambulance coverage. At that time the Manager referenced having a plan in that regard. He asked as to the status of that discussion.
Manager Pavlicek said that staff presented its report to Council in one of the public budget meetings. Since that time opportunities have presented themselves to house the firefighters in cooperation with the Darien/Woodridge Fire Protection District. The first concern was the response time and working conditions. She said further information will be presented to the Council in March at which time staff will provide a copy of the report.
Bonnie Piersall, 4910 Washington, said she is looking for tax relief and went to the Assessor’s Office. Her taxes are $4,100 for a five-room house, which is a much smaller house than her neighbors’ homes. The owners of the larger homes with larger lots are paying less in taxes than she is. The Assessor’s office said she could have tax relief in the amount of $140. She has lived in the Village 42 years and cannot afford to retire. The Manager said that the Village only controls a small portion of the tax and the Village’s ability to impact the taxing is limited. Ms. Piersall said when she moved here she never had a problem voting for a school referendum because the education of the children is important, but she doesn’t see why she has to pay for the DuPage Airport.
Commissioner Sandack suggested to Ms. Piersall that she may get relief if she consults a local attorney, particularly if she is paying more than comparable properties.
5. Public Hearings
6. Consent Agenda
COR00 -02660 A. Claim Ordinance: No. 5675, Payroll, January 19, 2007 Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
BIL00 -02661 B. List of Bills Payable: No. 5660, February 6, 2007 Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
RES00 -02664 C. Resolution: Authorize a Letter of Extension to an Agreement with Advocate Health Partners Sponsors: Human Resources Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF A LETTER OF EXTENSION TO AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND ADVOCATE HEALTH PARTNERS
RESOLUTION 2007 -06 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Insurance – Health, Employee
RES00 -02666 D. Resolution: Authorize a License Agreement with T-Mobile Central, LLC to Install, Maintain and Operate an Antenna on Village Property (Highland Avenue Water Tank) Sponsors: Village Attorney Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A LICENSE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND T -MOBILE CENTRAL , LLC TO INSTALL , MAINTAIN AND OPERATE AN ANTENNA ON VILLAGE PROPERTY (HIGHLAND AVENUE WATER TANK )
RESOLUTION 2007 -07 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Antenna Equipment
RES00 -02667 E. Resolution: Support Recent Actions by the DuPage Water Commission re: Water Rate Reduction Sponsors: Deputy Village Manager Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING RECENT ACTIONS BY THE DUPAGE WATER COMMISSION AND URGING THE COMMISSION TO IMPLEMENT THE RECENT ACTIONS BY PASSING A BUDGET THAT INCLUDES A WATER RATE REDUCTION
RESOLUTION 2007 -08 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: DuPage Water Commission
MOT00 -02670 F. Motion: Note Receipt of Minutes of Village Boards and Commissions Summary of Item: * Architectural Design Review Board – 9/28/06 Library Board – 1/10/07 Transportation Advisory Commission – 11/16/06 Zoning Board of Appeals – 11/29/06 Zoning Board of Appeals – 12/13/06 *A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Passed The Consent Agenda
A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Urban, that the consent agenda be passed. The motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin and Mayor Krajewski
7. Active Agenda
RES00 -02663 A. Resolution: Authorize 2007 Addendum to the Astro Amusement Contract Sponsors: Community Events Summary of Item: This will authorize execution of the 2007 addendum to the Astro Amusement Company for the 2007 Heritage Festival.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF THE 2007 ADDENDUM TO THE ASTRO AMUSEMENT CONTRACT BETWEEN ASTRO AMUSEMENT CO . AND THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE
RESOLUTION 2007 -09 Commissioner Waldack said that this was originally on the Consent Agenda and he requested that it be moved. He was concerned about a report regarding carnival operators which was troubling. He said he spoke with reporter Dave Savini who said that Astro is considered a “good” group in the industry. It is a troubled industry. He said that Astro tests and trains their people and they are trying to clean up the industry and are pushing for legislation at the State level, so Commissioner Waldack now wholeheartedly supports this resolution.
The Mayor said that he is concerned about carnivals that come into town close to Heritage Festival that are not sponsored by the Village. He is concerned about groups that come into town and set up in the parking lots. A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Schnell, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Heritage Festival 2007
ORD00 -02668 B. Ordinance: Approve a Planned Development Amendment to Planned Development #31 for an Addition to an Existing Office Facility Sponsors: Community Development Summary of Item: At their meeting of January 8, 2007, the Plan Commission recommended approving planned development amendments to Planned Development #31.
AN ORDINANCE APROVING A PLANNED DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT TO PLANNED DEVELOPMENT #31 FOR AN ADDITION TO AN EXISTING OFFICE FACILITY
ORDINANCE NO . 4850 A motion was made by Commissioner Urban, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Planned Development #31 – Esplanade at Locust Point
ORD00 -02669 C. Ordinance: Amend the Tourism and Events Commission Sponsors: Community Events Summary of Item: This will amend the Tourism and Events Commission and re-establish it as the Community Events Commission.
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE TOURISM AND EVENTS COMMISSION
ORDINANCE NO . 4851 A motion was made by Commissioner Durkin, seconded by Commissioner Schnell, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Community Events
RES00 -02657 D. Resolution: Authorize a Professional Services Agreement for Consulting Services with Clark Dietz, Inc. Sponsors: Public Works Summary of Item: This will authorize an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Clark Dietz, Inc. for consulting services related to Stormwater Sewer Watershed Improvement Plans.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT FOR CONSULTING SERVICES BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND CLARK DIETZ , INC.
RESOLUTION 2007 -10 Commissioner Schnell said that there are several agreements on the Agenda, and the work these agreements cover is vital to concluding the storm sewer watershed improvement plan and future improvements for the Village’s stormwater system. Four firms have been recommended to do this work. Today, it has been brought to her attention that three of the firms have chosen to politicize this process by making political contributions to local campaigns. This information has shocked and disgusted her and has brought up ethical questions that should not be part of the process of choosing engineering firms. This information has tainted her ability to decide on the merits of each firm based on their qualifications. She said that she would be voting no on all of the votes on this issue this evening because she cannot in good conscience vote for any of these firms because of ethical questions this politicization has caused. Contracts should be awarded on their merits and should not be tainted by perceived political gain. Because of this she asked and encouraged the Council to direct the Village Attorney to draft an addendum to the Council policy which would make this practice illegal.
Commissioner Waldack thanked the staff for the abundance of information on the companies. He still wants to ask how they get from Point A to Point B, and thanked the Village Manager for providing the state statute that explains why the Village does not have to bid professional contracts. He said he is still not sure about the process. The tradition in this country goes back to the days of Andy Jackson when it was said that “to the victors belong the spoils.” That can generate mistrust in how issues are handled so laws were established to restore confidence in the government system. A number of residents have raised concerns about how the Village handles certain kinds of contracts. Some years ago, a situation developed where the Council members expressed the necessity for a high degree of trust in the Village Council. None of the four engineering firms on tonight’s agenda are located in Downers Grove, so there are serious questions as to why companies like Christopher Burke have contributed $4,700 to a Mayoral campaign; Engineering Associates, $800; Clark Dietz, $750. None of these companies are in Downers Grove. These contracts are not the only contracts they have with the Village. Given the situation, and since the Mayor is apparently the only recipient of the funds, he respectfully requested that the Mayor abstain from voting on these contracts because he has a personal interest in these companies. He also requested that any other Council members who received contributions to their campaigns abstain from voting on this contract for the same reason. He said he asked this not in an accusatory manner, but in a manner which will restore confidence in the way that the Village handles these no-bid contracts.
Commissioner Tully said that this has been politicized. He doesn’t understand why. The Village has a community screaming for stormwater improvement and he believes this should move forward and get done. Two weeks ago they talked about how the Village should move forward quickly. He personally asked why it took two weeks for the Council to wring its hands over this and now he knows why – so there could be some mudslinging. He knows nothing about any contributions and it is news to him, and it certainly wasn’t shared with any members of the Council before today, so the fact that it was first revealed tonight on television as a surprise tells him that it was done by design and for a purpose. If there was a legitimate concern about this, they all have telephones and they all have e-mails and could have been notified about this earlier. To bring this up right here and right now is gamesmanship, and he is disappointed in his colleagues.
Commissioner Tully said the issue is that four engineering firms have done work all over DuPage County long before any of the Council was in office except for Commissioner Schnell. Unless these firms have contributed to the Public Works campaign fund, he doesn’t believe that the Mayor proposed any of these firms. He believes the Mayor spoke against one of them loudly. He said they should remember how the process works. He doesn’t want to see the dais politicized every week. It is only February, and if this is what it is going to be like, the Council members are doing a disservice to the community.
Commissioner Tully said the Council could discuss the rules with regard to abstentions at another time. Council members should not be throwing out such broad requests or suggestions. They could talk all night about other people who should abstain from their own pet projects, or because somebody lives next door to them, or because they are buddies with someone else. There are rules on this and unless a rule has been violated, these allegations are improper. He said matters such as these should be brought to the Council’s attention before something needs to be voted upon. In his opinion, to make the request that has just been made is ridiculous.
Commissioner Tully said that the four firms were recommended to get the job done more effectively and quicker. This is a way to break up the work for the three different watersheds. Clark Dietz is most familiar, due to their prior experience, with the Prentiss Creek watershed. They are a logical choice. No one has complained about the other three firms either. He said the Council should focus on the issues and pointed out that no one has contended that Clark Dietz cannot do the work. He thinks this is the wrong way to point out an impropriety. He will vote in favor of all four agreements.
Commissioner Durkin echoed Commissioner Tully’s comments, saying he wished that this had been mentioned earlier. He has heard about flooding since he came on in October, and asked why the Council members didn’t call with this information. He also said that he does not take campaign contributions and will not solicit campaign contributions.
Commissioner Urban said that he seconded the Motion for good reason. He has heard about stormwater for three years. Earlier this evening he spoke with a reporter who wanted to discuss issues. Stormwater is an issue and must move forward. By legal right this is a no-bid contract. Staff is recommending this, Council has asked questions, and it is time to vote on this. He will vote yes on all of the recommendations. He then asked if the Village should return the money Christopher Burke gave two years ago as a sponsor for the Bike Race. He thinks the comments are ludicrous.
Commissioner Sandack said that they are voting on four stormwater engineers. The community needs stormwater relief and the Village needs to move forward on this. This is for engineering, surveys and other jobs to get the Village into a place so the project can move forward in 2008. No bid does not mean that it isn’t competitive. He has concerns, not in this instance, about being as open and transparent as possible, while also getting responsible low bids. He said that one of his colleagues commented indignantly on allegations of impropriety, and he heard nothing of that. He heard of the “potential” appearance of impropriety, and the “potential” for gray areas, distinctions which have a great difference in his mind. While it might not have been the most opportune time to bring these items to the forefront, he is not sure when would be appropriate and in what manner. Having a discussion about vendors who make contributions and what effect, if any, it has on the process is fair game and shouldn’t be something that is taboo just because it is brought up in a manner that doesn’t taste good to one member of the dais. They can quiz each other all they want, but there are clear rules and there are items open to interpretation. There should be no fear about discussions on how bids are handled.
Commissioner Sandack said he would be voting yes on this and on the three subsequent agreements because when he balances out the issues, it is more important to move forward right now. The discussions being broached are entirely appropriate, entirely fair game and should not raise someone’s blood pressure, but should cause quite the opposite reaction. Having a fair and open discussion about who gets what work shouldn’t cause anyone any pain.
The Mayor said he had questions with regard to Clark Dietz last week and thinks there was some confusion about the stormwater master plan. He still has some concerns re Clark Dietz, but staff has recommended this and he will vote for this based on their recommendations.
Commissioner Schnell said she has served on this Council for 18 years. She is a firm supporter of the stormwater plan, and takes offense in the comment that this is only about stormwater. When she received the e-mail today about contributions, she purposely did not mention names because she wanted to try to keep this professional. The e-mail concerned her because she had to weigh the ethical question versus the need for this program to move forward. It will move forward and has to move forward. In thinking through what she believed she had to do, it was not an easy decision for her to say what she said. She supports this stormwater program. Throughout her parenting years she always told her children to do what they feel is right, ethical and appropriate. She feels this situation is unethical and there is a hint, or an appearance of impropriety. She thinks the Council needs to discuss whether or not they need to limit contributions from vendors. She discussed this with the Manager earlier today and told her what she was going to do. The Manager knew about this. Commissioner Schnell said she does not do things behind people’s backs. She said she has done what she thinks is ethically right. She responded to an e-mail that showed $20,000 worth of political contributions were made by firms they were voting on tonight. She cannot vote on this. She thinks the Council needs to address this. She did not name names. This is an ethical question that needs to be addressed.
Commissioner Tully said that he is not suggesting that these issues should not be brought up when there is basis for them. He said that Commissioner Waldack identified who the person was. What is not fair was that this was not brought to their attention, and to make reference to “unethical conduct.” He also heard “impropriety” and he considers those terms serious accusations and he thinks it would be only fair to advise someone of an accusation of unethical conduct. An open discussion refers to whether or not the firms can do the work. He asked if the suggestion is that they delay this for another period of time. There has been no substantive evidence to suggest this be done, and he thinks it is not fair and open to accuse someone of unethical conduct and then say you’re not sure if it is or is not. If it is unethical it should be brought to the attention of their colleagues, and that is why his blood pressure may be higher. As for openness, anyone can get a list of campaign contributions on-line. No one has pointed out that this is unethical. Someone has found out that information and sent it on in an e-mail to Commissioner Schnell. He has heard nothing from the Village Attorney that any law has been violated. It is a serious accusation to make about any member. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but he doesn’t find it being fair or open by only hearing about this five minutes ago by two of the members.
Commissioner Waldack clarified that there is no accusation on his part. The evidence is there. He said that there might be an appearance of impropriety. As this body met 3 1/2 years ago, they talked about a high degree of responsibility and ethics that is owed to the community, so his request was that given the circumstances, that one member of the body, the Mayor, abstain from the vote to give the rest of the Council the essential go-ahead to make the proper decision without having these questions hanging over the Village Council. As for the stormwater, he respects Commissioner Schnell and agrees that this is an issue that needs to be looked into further. As far as these contracts, he prefaced his comments by saying that they don’t have a solid identifiable process and they don’t have to go out for bidding, but they should have a process that takes away any cloud of suspicion. He said that he also indicated that Director Barber provided a great deal of information to review over the past week, and he is comfortable voting for these four vendors; but he would prefer it if the appearance of the impropriety is addressed. It is simply a request to remove that cloud.
The Mayor responded that he has an ethical obligation to vote on every matter that comes before him unless he has a conflict of interest. He has no conflict of interest in this matter, and has an obligation to vote on these agreements. A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Urban, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin and Mayor Krajewski Nay: Commissioner Schnell Indexes: Storm Sewers, Stormwater Sewer Watershed Improvement Plans
RES00 -02655 E. Resolution: Authorize a Professional Services Agreement for Consulting Services with V3 Companies of Illinois Sponsors: Public Works Summary of Item: This will authorize an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and V3 Companies of Illinois for consulting services related to Stormwater Sewer Watershed Improvement Plans.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT FOR CONSULTING SERVICES BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND V3 COMPANIES OF ILLINOIS
RESOLUTION 2007 -11 A motion was made by Commissioner Sandack, seconded by Commissioner Tully, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin and Mayor Krajewski Nay: Commissioner Schnell Indexes: Storm Sewers, Stormwater Sewer Watershed Improvement Plans
RES00 -02656 F. Resolution: Authorize A Professional Services Agreement for Consulting Services with Engineering Resource Associates, Inc. Sponsors: Public Works Summary of Item: This will authorize an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Engineering Resource Associates, Inc. for consulting services related to Stormwater Sewer Watershed Improvement Plans.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT FOR CONSULTING SERVICES BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND ENGINEERING RESOURCE ASSOCIATES , INC.
RESOLUTION 2007 -12 A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Urban, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin and Mayor Krajewski Nay: Commissioner Schnell Indexes: Storm Sewers, Stormwater Sewer Watershed Improvement Plans
RES00 -02654 G. Resolution: Authorize a Professional Services Agreement for Consulting Services with Christopher B. Burke, Engineering, Ltd. Sponsors: Public Works Summary of Item: This will authorize an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Christopher B. Burke, Engineering, Ltd. for consulting services related to Stormwater Sewer Watershed Improvement Plans.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT FOR CONSULTING SERVICES BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND CHRISTOPHER B . BURKE, ENGINEERING , LTD.
RESOLUTION 2007 -13 A motion was made by Commissioner Urban, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin and Mayor Krajewski Nay: Commissioner Schnell Indexes: Storm Sewers, Stormwater Sewer Watershed Improvement Plans
RES00 -02635 H. Resolution: Authorize Execution of an Agreement for Prosecution Services with Dolci & McMahon Sponsors: Village Attorney Summary of Item: This will authorize execution of an agreement with Dolci & McMahon for the prosecution of DUI violations for the Village in the courts of DuPage County, Illinois
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN AGREEMENT FOR PROSECUTION SERVICES WITH DOLCI & MCMAHON
RESOLUTION 2007 -14 Commissioner Schnell said that the last time the Village went out to bid on this item was in 2001, and she feels it is not appropriate to approve this because she believes this is something that should go out to bid. She will vote no.
Commissioner Waldack said this is a service contract and the Village is not required to go out to bid. There are no market comparisons for these services. This firm has provided these services in the past and the Council has been told that they have a great relationship with the Police Department and can prosecute satisfactorily. Commissioner Waldack does not feel they have adequately tested the market for costs. This contract is for $56,000. Commissioner Waldack said there has been an enormous amount of money passed in campaign contributions, most recently $5,600 which is 10% of the contract, to a Mayoral campaign. He thinks they would do better to test the market and at the very least can go back to the same vendor and get a10% discount returning the money to the people of Downers Grove rather than to a campaign. He will not vote in favor of this contract. He believes this should go out to bid or renegotiation.
Commissioner Durkin said he thought staff went out and polled to determine whether this was a good deal for the Village. Attorney Petrarca said staff did conduct a poll this and the cost is definitely within the market range.
Commissioner Tully explained that this is a professional services contract, and the bid procedures do not need to be followed. This concerns a firm that will prosecute DUI ’s for the Village. In 2001 an RFP was put out and 12 people responded, with Dolci & McMahon being the most competitive bidder. He said he did not believe the Village Attorney had a campaign fund. A prosecutor was brought in for a time but had to leave for personal reasons. Dolci and McMahon picked up the cases entering into a one-year contract in 2005, which was renewed in 2006. He said that the firm was willing to continue prosecuting DUI ’s at the same terms and conditions that the Council agreed to in 2005. He does not understand the relevance of the campaign contribution to this agreement. He said that there is an issue of having a good attorney/client relationship, and the Village Attorney checked with other communities to see if the terms were competitive. They are. He is fine with continuing to enter into this agreement.
The Village has received good service. It is based on the Village Attorney’s recommendation, not Commissioner Waldack’s or the Mayor’s. The Council has asked questions and they have been answered. He asked if the Village Attorney received any objections to this recommendation and she said she only received one phone call which was from Commissioner Schnell. Commissioner Tully then asked whether it is the position of some members of the Council that they go back in time and check everyone’s campaign contributions, that everyone should abstain from voting on anything to do with those individuals because it may create an appearance of impropriety because he has a lot of research he can give. He asked if that is what is being proposed. He said he would vote in favor of the agreement.
Commissioner Sandack said some of the history was glossed over. This went out to a comprehensive bid process in 2001. If the Village conducted it’s garbage contract like that the people would be understandably mad at the Council. He said that Commissioner Durkin said that he was satisfied that the Village Attorney said it was good for the Village. But she is not an elected official who has to respond to the citizens and make sure that bids are transparent. Relying on the Village Manager or Village Attorney would be great, but would give the Council nothing to do except accept what the staff says. The service they are discussing is a commodity driven service, and there are many good former prosecutors in DuPage County who are now in the defense attorneys. Last year they went out for an RFP for outside legal services, and they had several respondents and the lowest most responsible bid won. He thinks it is hard pressed to defend a process that is processless. No one knows when it is the best deal until it is put into the competitive process in the marketplace. Otherwise it is pure speculation. He is voting no because it is bad process, bad form and bad for the Village.
Mayor Krajewski asked what the Village takes in with respect to fines. The Manager said she would provide that information. The Mayor said he thought it was about $250,000. Prior to 2001 the County did prosecutions and the Village received nothing for that. The other issue was that various attorneys from the County were fresh out of law school against experienced attorneys dealing with serious offenses. He said that the Village is having more convictions now. He suggested in 2003 that this be brought in-house and they did. He will vote for this. A number of other communities have followed the Village’s lead and are doing their prosecutions in-house. Village Attorney Petrarca said that there are about five or six neighboring communities who do this in-house now.
A motion was made by Commissioner Durkin, seconded by Commissioner Urban, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Durkin and Mayor Krajewski Nay: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Schnell and Commissioner Waldack Indexes: DUI Prosecutions
8. Mayor’s Report
Village Clerk Holden announced that early voting began on February 5 and continues through February 22, at which time absentee voting begins. The Mayor said that early voting is from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday , Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Saturday voting is available from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., and on Tuesday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. He said that anyone in DuPage County can vote early. Materials to be Received
Materials to be Placed on File
9.Manager’s and Directors’ Reports
The Manager apologized for not reporting out on the conversation with Commissioner Schnell on the stormwater consulting engineering issue. She said she tries to make judgment calls on brief interactions and conversations but felt it would be inappropriate for staff to participate in this matter.
She then introduced Wesley Morgan, the new Director of Human Resources, and welcomed him to the Village. Mr. Morgan said it was an honor to be in the Village. He has had over 20 years experience in Human Resources, and previously worked for the Chicago Park District Human Resources Department. He also was the Director of Recruitment for the City of Chicago with 40,000 employees. His responsibilities were recruiting, examining and testing for the Police and Fire Departments. He said he is looking forward to the opportunity of working with the Village team.
Dave Barber, Director, Public Works, said crews are still out in responce to the snow fall. The salt is not working very well due to the extreme cold temperatures, so they are working with some additional chemicals. He reported on the water line breaks caused by the cold weather. They discovered severe corrosion problems on the Barneswood line, and have to address that situation. Earlier this morning there was a break along Ogden Avenue in a 12-inch line, as well as other breaks throughout the day. There have also been several calls in the past few days on frozen private lines. The Department has been very active, and hopefully there will be a break in the temperature soon.
Commissioner Durkin asked if there is a way to test the pipes to prevent breaks, and Mr. Barber said there is no way to prevent the breaks, but they do keep track of the materials involved and trying to record the history for future projects. Commissioner Durkin said that in his previous life they did look into working with companies who can evaluated the status of the water pipes to determine their strength. The Manager said she thought that pertained to sanitary sewer lines. Director Barber said he was not aware of information on testing the lines and asked the Commissioner to provide that information to him. Commissioner Durkin asked if they have a total as to the amount of leaves that were picked up from the street sweeping to compare it to previous years. The Manager said they will provide whatever information they have to the Council.
Mary Scalzetti, Director, Community Events, said the 10th Annual Ice Sculpture Festival and National Ice Carving Championship competition will be held this weekend. There are about 42 sculptures that will be scattered throughout Main Street in front of various businesses. There will be ice sculpting demonstrations on Friday night for the public, as well as on Saturday at Pocket Park. She described the plans for the weekend including fireworks, and the national competition on Saturday and Sunday. Each carver will have three blocks of ice to carve and will have 5 hours carving time. There will be 34 carvers in attendance, including the #2 carver in the world from Alaska. She recommended people check the website for a detailed description of the weekend events
10. Attorney’s Report
Waive One-Week Waiting Period
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca asked the Council to consider waiving the one-week waiting period to consider new business due to the time-sensitive nature of the matters.
Commissioner Tully moved to waive the one-week waiting period to consider new business. Commissioner Urban seconded the Motion.
VOTE : YEA : Commissioners Tully, Urban, Durkin, Waldack, Sandack, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski
NAY : None
Mayor Krajewski declared the Motion carried.
RES00 -02659 A. Resolution: Appoint an Authorized Agent for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Sponsors: Village Attorney Summary of Item: This will designate Judy Buttny as the Village’s authorized agent concerning IMRF matters.
A RESOLUTION APPOINTING AN AUTHORIZED AGENT FOR THE ILLINOIS MUNICIPAL RETIREMENT FUND (IMRF)
RESOLUTION 2007 -15 A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Urban, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: IMRF
RES00 -02671 B. Resolution: Appoint an ICMA Authorized Agent Sponsors: Village Attorney Summary of Item: This will designate Wesley Morgan as the Village’s authorized agent concerning ICMA matters.
A RESOLUTION APPOINTING AN ICMA AUTHORIZED AGENT
RESOLUTION 2007 -16 A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Urban, to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Urban, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: ICMA
11.Council Member Reports and New Business
Reports from National League of Cities Conference
Commissioner Tully presented a report on the National League of Cities Congress of Cities Conference held December 5-9 in Reno, Nevada. There were 350 booths with about 5,000 attendees. He said that he attended with Commissioners Schnell and Durkin. The 2006 conference included Henry Cisneros as keynote speaker and numerous opportunities for networking. Commissioner Tully said that the Commissioners attempted to cover as many different seminars as possible. One seminar he attended focused on future fiscal policy, including discussion of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR), and the new GASB requirements. The Village is far ahead of many communities in dealing with the GASB requirements. He said that one seminar dealt with Tax Reform and the Federal System, and he presented data from that seminar. He indicated how Villages like Downers Grove can be negatively impacted by decisions made at the federal level. Commissioner Tully said it is important that communities have a strong voice in Washington. He added that the seminar noted three unsettling trends in federal fiscal policy: 1) there has been a marked decline in federal aid to cities; 2) there is nearly a 100-fold increase in unfunded federal mandates; and 3) there is an increase in federal preemption activity. Over the past several decades, the federal government has gone from funding cities to regulating them. Action plans of the NLC for the 2006-2008 period include 1) advocacy, and 2) effective communications. Downers Grove is dong very well compared to other communities. There were many other presentations that Commissioners Schnell and Durkin will report on at a future date.
Council Member Reports and New Business
Commissioner Sandack welcomed Wesley Morgan to the Village and said he hoped to see a lot of people at the Ice Festival.
Commissioner Waldack welcomed Mr. Morgan as well. He said that in recent weeks he has tried to introduce changes that might effect the ethics policies of the Village, and to achieve this goal he thinks knowledge and information must be more available to the residents, Council and staff. He noted that elected officials must complete a Statement of Economic Interest form. He said that the candidates must also complete this form. The Village Attorney has copies of the forms completed by the present Council. He would like to see copies on file from the Council candidates as well, and make this information available to the residents, Council and staff. Commissioner Waldack then mentioned campaign committees and D-2 Campaign Disclosure forms. He said that those which are filed electronically are available at the County or State Board of Elections websites. The information is readily available and paper copies are also available in Wheaton. He suggested that paper copies be filed and made available through the Village Clerk’s office. He then said that he believes companies should have a political interest form to show contributions, just as elected officials need to report their information. This again can be kept and maintained by the Village Clerk. He also believes staff should include background as to political contributions, including a summary total of all payments or contracts for a particular vendor or company. He then referred to Williams Architects which was under consideration for Fire Station 2 and research he did on them which showed him that they were a good firm. He thinks that having the D-2 more readily available, economic interest forms and political interest forms makes everything more upfront for the public.
Commissioner Schnell welcomed Mr. Morgan, saying he will have a great staff to work with and should enjoy working with them. She then thanked Dave Barber and asked him to thank the staff for fixing the water mains. She said it was a thankless job in this kind of freezing weather, and she wanted them to know how thankful she was for their work. She said she hopes it warms up for the Ice Festival.
Commissioner Durkin welcomed Mr. Morgan to the Village, and welcomed the residents to the Ice Festival. He thanked the staff for the attainable housing presentation and expressed his condolences to Fire Marshal Bill Mierzejewski’s family.
Commissioner Urban invited everyone to enjoy the Ice Festival. He asked staff to provide additional information about ComEd’s response to concerns expressed by the Village of Hinsdale. The Manager said that staff is monitoring this with Hinsdale and other municipalities as well. Commissioner Urban then asked for further information about the Fire District in an unincorporated portion of Oak Brook to which the Village furnishes equipment and manpower. He asked about the money that they are supposed to be paying. The Manager said she will give him that report.
Commissioner Tully invited all residents to attend the Ice Festival whose theme is “Let’s Get the Party Started.” The number of carvers has exceeded what was expected for this event. He congratulated Community Events and thanked the Council for their support of this event.
Commissioner Tully then asked about looking at the ethics ordinances of other communities. He suggested that it not be done piecemeal. More than once there have been issues raised with respect to the review of professional contracts. He would be happy to coordinate a collection of documents from other communities and hoped the Village would pursue this issue.
Mayor Krajewski welcomed Mr. Morgan to the staff and thanked Greg Zimmerman for his service to the Village.
The Mayor said he talked with the Village Manager about workshopping the issue of professional service agreements. In terms of the stormwater engineering, he suggested a project manager be established. The Manager said that they are looking to have the newly hired engineer lead the process with Christopher Burke as the lead organization. She said staff will provide regular updates.
The Mayor said that the Village is one of the last communities to pass the DuPage Water Commission rate reduction resolution. He said that they think about $3 million could be rebated back to the Village. This money could be used for water main related work.
Mayor Krajewski then thanked Pierce Downer’s 4th graders for inviting him to speak. He also congratulated the Grove Foundation for their program last week.
The Mayor then noted that about a year ago a number of residents complained about repeated power outages and he called the elected State officials to contact ComEd for discussions. ComEd did some work, and was to talk about two-year plans and five-year plans. There is another meeting scheduled for March 5 by Representative Bellock at which time there will reportedly be more information provided by ComEd with respect to their improvement plans.
Commissioner Tully moved to adjourn. Commissioner Urban seconded.
VOTE : YEA – Commissioners Tully, Urban, Durkin, Waldack, Sandack, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski
Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 9:34 p.m