Mayor Sandack called the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Village Hall. Present: Mayor Ron Sandack; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, Martin Tully, William Waldack, Sean P. Durkin, Geoff Neustadt, Bruce Beckman; Village Manager Cara Pavlicek; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Visitors: Residents: Eugene Guszkowski, AG Architecture, 1414 Underwood Avenue, Waukasha, Wisconsin; William Myers, Fairview Ministries, 210 Village Drive; John Gray, New Life Management, Mount Leonard, New Jersey; John Martin, Fairview Village, 1755 S. Naperville Road, Wheaton; Stephen Stewart, Fairview Ministries, 210 Village Drive; Michael Sheake, Gewalt Hamilton Associates, 820 Lakside Drive; Joy and Ron Detmer, 6580 Davane Lane; George Swimmer, DuPage Railroad Safety Council, 4905 Main; Mark Prescott, 704 Summit; Fred Zimmerman & Freddy, 5401 Park Avenue; Cheryl and Robby Prescott, 704 Summit; Grant Steele, 5224 Fairmount Avenue; Pat & Liam Ninneman, 5317 Grand Avenue; Louis & Scott Jensen, 5328 Florence Avenue; Mark & Joshua Spohn, 239 7th Street; Alex Lucek, 5351 Washington Street; Kimberley W. Steele, 5224 Fairmount; Gina Vaci, 6572 Davane Lane; Dan Gross, 6407 Davane Court; Mark Thoman, 1109 61st Street; Chad Walz, 1300 Palmer Street; Greg Bedalov, EDC , 2001 Butterfield; Fred Foss, 6579 Davane Lane; Brinsley and Betty Lewis, 6431 Davane Court; Shez Bandukwala, 6330 Davane Court; Andrea Van Buren, 6576 Fairview Avenue; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore Avenue; Judy Sidrys, 5223 Lee Avenue; Pat McMahon, 4908 Puffer; Frank Falesch, 820 Prairie; Bill Wrobel, 7800 Queens Court; John Schofield, 1125 Jefferson Avenue; Clara & Simon Liu, 6436 Davane Court; Kerry & Peggy Richmond, 6575 Davane Lane; Mary Sobut, 404 66th Street; Catherine Loney, GCG Financial, 3000 Lakeside Drive, Bannockburn; Robert & Carol Nield, 6326 Fairview Avenue; Jeannette & Richard Howard, 6443 Davane Court; Theresa Stewart, 6413 Davane Court; Char Brar, 6437 Davane Court
Staff: Liangfu Wu, Director, Information Services; Bob Porter, Police Chief ; Doug Kozlowski, Director, Communications; Phil Ruscetti, Fire Chief; Andy Matejcak, Director, Counseling and Social Services; Dave Fieldman, Deputy Village Manager; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Brandon Dieter, Management Analyst; Robin Weaver, Interim Director, Public Works; Mary Scalzetti, Director, Community Events; Tom Dabareiner, Director, Community Development; Judy Buttny, Finance Director; Mike Millette, Assistant Director, Public Works; Stan Balicki, Assistant Director, Public Works; Wes Morgan, Director, Human Resources; Mary Lalonde, Benefits Coordinator, Human Resources
Mayor Sandack asked Boy Scout Pack 85 to help lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Mayor Sandack explained that Council Workshop meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays at 7:00 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.
1. Active Agenda and Informational Items Manager Pavlicek reviewed the Active Agenda, Informational Items and Consent Agenda for comments and discussion by the Council, staff and public.
a. Implementation of State Legislation Relating to Cable and Video Competition (aka Project Lightspeed). The Manager said this is in response to new State legislation referred to as Project Lightspeed.
Commissioner Beckman noted that one of the Assistant Superintendents of District 99 was present, and asked the Manager if educational institutions are included in this.
Doug Kozlowski , Communications Director, said that in the past the Village has within its franchise agreement with Comcast the ability to request Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) access fees. The last time there was an $80,000 pass-through request, with a percentage ($30,000) apportioned to District 99’s cable channel. Mr. Kozlowski said that the Village has no details worked out at this time with regard to the Lightspeed project. He said that the Village’s agreement with Comcast provides one more opportunity for the Village to request another amount of money. That depends on Comcast’s standing with the new legislation, and they have not informed the Village what they will do. He said the Village would have to work out some type of disbursement arrangement; however, they do not have that information at this time, and there is also no specified timeframe.
b. Belmont Underpass Rezoning, Variation and Plats of Subdivision. The Manager asked Tom Dabareiner, Director, Community Development, to address this item.
Tom Dabareiner , Director, Community Development, said the first item regarding the Belmont underpass will be two ordinances, one rezoning seven residential properties, and the second reducing the setback along Belmont Avenue and consolidating properties. He then showed an aerial map of the area zoning, pointing out the area for which they are seeking approval on November 6. Two commuter parking lots are to be constructed at the locations noted. He provided a brief history of the Belmont underpass timeline extending back to 1998, through the proposed construction Phase 2 in 2009-2013. He indicated that demolition is scheduled for October to December 2007, and gave some examples of the phasing of the construction. Mr. Dabareiner then displayed photos of the existing site, and drawings of how the area will look post-construction. He indicated that the focus for this discussion in on the parking lots for the northwest lot and the southeast lot. He described the proposed landscaping and berm for the northwest lot. They plan to build the southeast lot in two phases, with 112 spaces provided in Phase 1, and another 40 added after completion of the actual underpass. He indicated that the property doesn’t need rezoning but requires a property consolidation. He noted that there is a front yard setback of 2’3” to provide a buffer on the east side of the site for residents, and landscaping will include a line of trees as well as a fence. Mr. Dabareiner said that two public hearings have been held, one on August 6, and one on October 1. Concerns have been expressed regarding traffic at Puffer and switching to a B-2 use. The Plan Commission made a unanimous recommendation with conditions, and staff concurs with that recommendation.
Mayor Sandack reviewed that this is for a rezoning and lot consolidation. This is a multi-party project involving the State of Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Commerce Commission, Metra, Burlington Northern, and the County of DuPage as well as federal dollars. The Village is also a part of this, however, not in a financial way.
George Swimmer , 4905 Main Street, asked if the Walnut Street station concept is still under consideration. The Mayor said he did not think it is a dead issue, but is still a conceptual plan. There is nothing definitive with regard to that concept. Mr. Swimmer urged the Council and Metra to start building the underpass without delay. He understood that the construction would begin sooner and would be completed much sooner than 2013. He referenced the Fox River Grove train accident where a train hit a school bus and school children were killed in that accident. He indicated that Metra runs a dangerous railroad, and he considers Belmont to be one of the most dangerous crossings in Illinois and in the United States. Mr. Swimmer said that there is a sight obstruction problem. He reviewed the fatalities at that location and elsewhere. He believes that delaying the construction is not good common sense, and would like the Council to urge Metra to begin the work sooner. He also feels that this will not be funded and they will end up only with parking lots.
Mayor Sandack said that the Council will continue to support the underpass.
Pat McMahon , 4908 Puffer, said he supports the underpass and has attended meetings in that regard. He lives in the area and noted the traffic problems, and doesn’t understand why this has to be rezoned. He said it should be located on the other side of the street because a residential area is being zoned commercial.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the starting dates for Phase 1 and Phase 2. Mr. Dabareiner responded that he does not have starting dates. Commissioner Schnell said that she agrees with Mr. Swimmer regarding the actual completion of the underpass, and then asked about the ingress/egress onto Haddow. She said traffic going north on Belmont and west on Haddow will have a difficult turn, and asked about the traffic light as this turn will cause a traffic backup and other possible issues, including the safety of school children. She asked how safety will be addressed. Mr. Dabareiner said that the curb winds and angles, with the orientation from Belmont.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman spoke to the stacking issue on Haddow, saying changes have been made to add several feet to the stacking area on Haddow. The entrance and exit will be closer to the school
Commissioner Schnell said that she has concerns about the parking lot, and not the underpass. She feels it compromises the safety of school children and drivers, and would feel better with a traffic light going in, but that is not proposed at this time. She has serious doubts and reservations about safety and would like to know starting dates for Phase 2.
Mr. Fieldman said construction for Phase 2 is scheduled for 2009. Staff has review authority over the plan and her comment regarding installation of the traffic signal will be included.
Commissioner Neustadt asked if there is a proposed sidewalk on the southeast parking. Mr. Dabareiner said he would look into that and provide the information. Commissioner Beckman asked about discussions concerning a right turn lane from the north, and likewise to a left turn lane heading northbound. Mr. Fieldman said there is a left turn lane northbound. He indicated that traffic was not determined to be heavy enough to warrant a southbound lane. He indicated that Belmont is under the jurisdiction of DuPage County.
Commissioner Tully said that everyone wants to see this underpass happen. He noted that the Village does not have any purse strings on this project, and the agencies that are funding this chose these specific sites for the parking lots. There are three items before the Council for consideration, one of which is rezoning of the parcel north of the tracks, secondly reducing the front yard setback, and then consolidating the properties. He reviewed the requirements of the Zoning Code, saying that the actual setback variation they are requesting is less than 2.5 feet. Commissioner Tully then asked about the need for an independent traffic study. He said that the traffic light discussed is not proposed, but the County is willing to put one in. He asked if that can be done if traffic does not meet the warrants.
Mr. Fieldman said that the light can be put in without the warrant for safety concerns. They already know the traffic timing and the volume, and said that this is probably the most exact land use they have. These are not shoppers, but commuters who will be leaving their cars there all day.
Commissioner Tully stated that the underpass itself has tremendous value to the community. The parking lot can support this as ancillary to the underpass, but only if the project goes forward. Everyone wants to see this as part of a bigger project, and no one wants to see parking lots with no underpass. He said it is critical that the Village has the ability to protect itself by making sure that, if the underpass does not happen, the land can be used for other purposes. He also asked that the building permits be tied to a commitment to build the underpass.
Commissioner Waldack referenced the report that said the proposed parking lots will increase the Village’s spaces from 583 to 855. He would not want to see parking lots without a grade separation project, particularly as applicable to property values. He cannot see how living near a parking lot would increase home values, and would like the Village to get as much control over the property as possible.
Mayor Sandack said he believed the Council ought to do everything possible to assure that the Village is not duped. The Village is a logistical partner in this, and not a financial partner. Belmont is a County road, and the Village can only make review comments. He said that the Village has the authority to rezone. He believes the Village has been a good partner and will advocate moving this project along. He shares the concerns expressed not to be duped or be an unwitting victim, and is convinced that the staff will find the mechanisms to protect the Village. He agrees that the underpass will benefit everyone.
Final Planned Development Amendment, Preliminary Planned Development Amendment and Rezoning. The Manager asked Mr. Dabareiner to address this item. Mr. Dabareiner stated that these ordinances are for Fairview Village, east of Fairview Avenue, to change the zoning of seven residential parcels from R-3 to R-5A, and to approve a preliminary planned development amendment for those parcels. He showed plans for the demolition of the Red Barn, which would be relocated, and what the independent living structures would look like as well as the assisted living facility. Mr. Dabareiner then reviewed the property on the west side of Fairview, saying that the existing house would remain as a clubhouse, with four rental apartment buildings. He displayed preliminary elevation drawings and the preliminary site plan. He noted that Fairview Village is seeking to acquire the property on the west side of Fairview, and that is the site plan which would have to come before the Council again once final plans are established. As to the final plan, it relates to the east side of Fairview. The Plan Commission recommended approval 8-0 for the request for the east side, and 6-2 in favor of the west side request.
Steve Stewart , Executive Vice President of Fairview Village, said that Fairview is a 100-year-old organization. They have about 500 units on campus and propose 175 more units. They are a not-for-profit religiously-sponsored organizations and participate actively in the community. He said that the seniors funded the Red Barn themselves. The facility cares for seniors and has a wait list right now representing 60 units. The turnover is about 20 units per year. He noted that this becomes the last move that a senior makes. Fairview is excited about the opportunity to expand their campus. Mr. Stewart said this is a logical progression. Questions were raised at the public meetings, and he said Fairview Village has little impact on the local traffic. They have addressed the water retention issues, and they also pay into both the Park District and School Districts.
John Gray of New Life Management, a consulting firm, said that Fairview Village is not a rental program. The program requires a payment of a refundable entrance fee. Residents have the right to live in the facility for the rest of their life. The benefits of the auxiliary campus are that it would be an attractive element for those who are ready to downsize but do not need full services yet. Those services would be provided when needed by the main campus facilities. He explained that the program is restricted to a senior-living community with age restrictions. It is funded with tax-exempt bond financing, and they are restricted in the use of the finances provided for senior living. Mr. Gray said that Zieglar Securities will underwrite this tax-exempt issue, and they have never had a default. Fairview will provide what they say they are going to provide. As to the affect on resale housing values, Mr. Gray referenced a study showing that housing values are not negatively impacted but increased in value. He stressed that Fairview was committed to high property maintenance and will continue to enhance their value to the Village.
Shez Bandukwala , 6330 Davane Court, said that there are 17 residents present from the surrounding area, three of whom will speak on behalf of all of them. They have nothing against Fairview Village, and think that they have done an amazing job on the east side of Fairview. They are present in relation to the west side of Fairview because a speculative developer has behaved financially imprudently. By doing this project, the developer will recoup some of his losses quickly. The question is what is in the greater good of the community. There are 35 households against this for reasons including lower home values which should not be the deciding factor. He said that you can have a study to support any argument, and isolating a single study on increased property values has flaws. They propose taking residential zones and changing them to multi-family zoning. He said that from an economic standpoint they are creating non-tax-generating structures versus 14 tax generating homes. He referenced the safety and density issues, and said that people expect the Village to maintain the zoning.
Andrea Van Buren , 6576 Fairview, is not opposed to Fairview on the east side of the road. The proposal for the west side impacts the character of the neighborhood. She indicated that they are currently zoned as single-family residential, with homes valued over $500,000. She said that the chances of the resale of a single home are dismal. It is an area in which people seek to live. However, there are safety concerns including traffic, as well as heavy fire and safety demands. It will also present a light nuisance. Ms. Van Buren said that there is a water problem in their area, and the residents feel this will increase the problem. This is expansion of business into a residential area. She then referenced the clubhouse, the garages, and the bus service, stating that in the past other attempts to rezone the west side of Fairview were denied. This will set a precedent for other rezoning and local residents are opposed to this. She asked that their concerns be taken into consideration. She gave a signed petition to the Council.
Brinsley Lewis , 6431 Davane Court, said there is no argument with Fairview Village, but they are opposed to them crossing over to the west side as it becomes invasive. He asked that the Council stick with the established land use plan. Having this housing cross to the west side will increase fire and police traffic. Fairview Village revenues to support services will not offset the use of the services. He referenced that there are undeveloped and unincorporated lots on the west side. He thanked the Council for listening and giving consideration to their concerns.
Dr. Richard Howard , 6443 Davane, Assistant Superintendent of District 99, said he will be impacted by this as much as anyone else. The property has been sitting in an unattractive condition for a long time; however, he does not see this as the right plan for the property. Because there is an economic situation for the developer, that is not a good reason to put this through. He prefers single-family residences, saying this is very personal, as the change will affect the value of his property.
Mr. Bandukwala said if the property is left status quo, there will be single family homes built before 2012 providing a tax base for the Village.
Commissioner Schnell said she has no problem with what Fairview is doing on the east side of the street. She thinks this is a rezoning issue, and feels it is inappropriate to bring R-5A zoning this far down on Fairview. She feels the line should be held at Sievers’ development, and it should not be expanded at the expense of the residents. She understands that the property is in a unique situation; however, she cannot work through constructing townhomes this far on Fairview and creating this type of density this close to single-family residential areas. She cannot support this and it has nothing to do with Fairview or the services they provide.
Commissioner Beckman said that his views are similar to Commissioner Schnell’s. He has problems with the preliminary plans. He has respect for many individuals who have lived there, but he sees multiple variances being requested and he has difficulty supporting this request.
Commissioner Durkin asked for renderings of the buildings proposed for the west side. Mr. Dabareiner said they are two-story structures with eight units per building and four buildings.
Mr. Stewart said that the building would not be higher than single-family homes, and would be designed to fit into the community. Parking would be underground, with an elevator in the building, and the site would be heavily bermed. He explained that there are 14 lots, one of which was sold and that the family who purchased that lot supports this proposal. He said that they believe this will be complimentary to the area.
Commissioner Durkin said he is familiar with the development of Fairview on the south side of their property, saying they heard the same concerns expressed previously by other residents adjacent to the facility in Darien. He asked about the willingness of the applicant to work on the plans.
Mr. Stewart said they are willing to work with the staff in any way possible to fit into the community. He said that the requirement by staff is for 40%; they are providing 56% open space. He sees this as being attractive to younger seniors who would be under 70 years of age. He referenced the clubhouse and open houses for the residents to tour the facility. He reiterated that they would be willing to make modifications.
Commissioner Durkin asked what the zoning of this property was prior to the creation of the Green Acres subdivision. The Manager said she would find that information and provide it.
Commissioner Durkin said that he grew up in this area. There is multi-family housing in this area. He asked if the building size could be reduced.
Theresa Stewart , 6413 Davane Court, said that the residents only heard of this in the past week. She isn’t sure by what means neighbors were invited to attend an open house, as the people were unaware of this.
The Mayor referenced the published notice and the public hearings. He suggested that the residents can contact Mr. Stewart to find out more about the proposal. He further noted that they are talking about a preliminary plan and this is in the preliminary stages.
Commissioner Tully said that there are many issues here deserving careful attention and analysis. He supports what Fairview Village has done, but the piece that crosses Fairview is the issue. He is pleased to hear from the residents on Davane Court, and said it would be helpful to see some history of the Sievers’ property and Green Acres Subdivision. In regard to the main campus, there is no reason to speak against it. This concerns the applicant’s request to develop an auxiliary campus on the west side of Fairview which impacts Section 28.1702 of the Zoning Ordinance. He reviewed the criteria of the Ordinance. Commissioner Tully said he would like to see more information to support comments made regarding property values. He sees this as a very unique and unusual situation. The Commissioner then reviewed the standards for approval of a Planned Development under Section 28-1607, saying that there are a number of factors regarding approval of a Planned Development. He assumes that traffic and stormwater concerns will be addressed, and is intrigued by the fact that the Council gets another opportunity to look at this as it is only a preliminary plan at this time. He would like to see information as to the impact on property values if they are available.
Mayor Sandack noted that there is no meeting of the Council next week. As to the manner in which this opportunity for development came about, he thinks it doesn’t matter. Fairview Village is asking for a departure from their PUD . The criteria are both objective and subjective, and the Council will go through an analysis. He stated that Fairview Village is an outstanding neighbor. He explained that stormwater issues will have to meet the County Stormwater Ordinance. Traffic counts and safety issues are always studied. As to whether this is a meaningful departure from the density issue of the Zoning Ordinance, the Council will listen to the citizens’ concerns. He added that the history of the property is very important.
Char Brar , 6437 Davane Court, said that she thinks there is a departure from the zoning. She doesn’t want to live 24 hours with sirens and lights, and is concerned about the resale of the properties.
Commissioner Waldack asked what the requirements would be if this were a single-family development.
Mr. Gray said he has listened to everything said by the residents, and suggested tabling the preliminary plat, allowing them to consider options and then meet with the Council or the Plan Commission after they have been able to determine the impact of the issues raised.
The Mayor said he thought that was a good offer on the part of the applicant and suggested that the applicant meet again with staff to determine their direction.
d. Parking Permit Late Fees. The Manager said this ordinance would create a process by which the quarterly permits issued by the Village will include a process to enforce a late fee to create a feasible timetable for renewals.
Commissioner Neustadt said that it seems as though this also will eliminate staff time and assist the administrative process. He said he wants to make sure the process works. Commissioner Waldack said that staff expends a lot of time and effort and he supports a means of recouping some of the expenses.
e. Technical Amendments Ordinance. The Manager said this was prepared by the Village Attorney making certain non-substantive technical amendments to the Municipal Code.
2. Consent Agenda Items
a. Contract with Unimerica Insurance Company for Stop Loss Coverage. The Manager said the Village is self-insured for Village employee health insurance coverage. The Village purchases stop loss coverage for claims over $100,000. She indicated that the vendor has renamed the business. b. Sewer Inspection Hardware/Software Modernization. The Manager said staff recommends awarding the contract on this item to WinCam America. c. Amending Official Village Policy on Employee Administrative Rules. The Manager said this will be Workshopped on November 13, giving Council more time to review the document. They will seek approval on November 20. She said it is a comprehensive update of the employee manual.
The Mayor said that this is an item which is only being introduced tonight, and will not be debated tonight.
In response to Commissioner Tully, the Manager said staff is following past practices in bringing this policy before the Council.
d. Network Connection Upgrade: A Fiber Connection to New Fire Station 2. The Manager said this connection would run between the parking deck and the new Fire Station. She said there were comments asking why staff doesn’t just consider a wireless connection, and she said that staff said due to the bandwidth and backup needs it is recommended to use this connection system.
The Mayor said that if the Technology Commission agrees with this he supports it. He would like a summary of the reasons for this.
Commissioners Schnell and Beckman both mentioned that a summary would be helpful. Commissioner Tully asked if there was any possibility that AT&T could provide this.
MANAGER ’S AND DIRECTORS ’ REPORTS
a. Monthly Statistical Report – September 2007. The Manager said that the monthly statistical report is in the Council’s packet, adding that it is being updated on the website. Changes will be put on the website. b. Ogden and Lee Development – Mr. Fieldman said that the Village Council considered this in February. Staff will have its second meeting with the neighborhood residents on October 29. The Plan Commission will consider zoning aspects at its November 5 meeting, and the item will come to the Council in mid-November.
Mayor Sandack said that this is the second neighborhood meeting, and he asked that the information be placed on the website. Mr. Fieldman said that staff intends to put the information in writing.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting 11 items to the Council: 1) A resolution adopting the Village of Downers Grove standards for the construction of facilities on the public rights-of-way; 2) An ordinance imposing a cable/video service provider fee and PEG access support fee; 3) An ordinance providing for cable/video consumer protection; 4) An ordinance amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois, codified as Chapter 28 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code, as amended to rezone property located at 4900-4940 Belmont Road; 5) A resolution approving the final plat of consolidation for Belmont Road and Haddow Avenue; 6) An ordinance authorizing a front yard setback variation for the property located at 5005-5009 Belmont Road; 7) A resolution approving the final plat of consolidation for Belmont Road and Hitchcock Avenue; 8) An ordinance amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois codified as Chapter 28 of the Downers Grove Municipal code, as amended to rezone property located at 401-406 Lynn Gremer Court and 6568 Fairview Avenue; 9) An ordinance approving a final planned development amendment to Planned Development #32 to permit an interconnecting four-story skilled nursing building & assisted living building and a four-story independent living building; 10) An ordinance providing for permit parking late fees; and 11) An ordinance making certain technical amendments to the Village Code.
John Schofield , 1125 Jefferson Avenue, said he was unable to attend the budget meeting on Saturday, and extended his appreciation for having the information on-line, and for the tape-delayed videocast. He appreciated the format to make this open to the public, and complimented the Mayor for allowing the people in attendance to talk.
Commissioner Beckman asked about the monthly statistical reports for fires, with regard to the “other” category.
Fire Chief Phil Ruscetti responded that there are things such as appliance fires, a room fire, and other various categories.
Commissioner Durkin complimented staff for the true snapshot provided regarding various departments. He referred to the Community Events report and asked what the inventory of 175th Anniversary items is at this time. He also asked about the definition of “own the streets.”
Commissioner Schnell said that at the DuPage Mayors and Manager’s Legislative Committee meeting they discussed the sales tax issue. She indicated that this will become a priority and they should Workshop this or discuss it in terms of what affect it can have on the community.
Commissioner Schnell said that another initiative that is becoming a DMMC priority has to do with ethical procedures.
Commissioner Schnell then announced that the Helping Girls Navigate Adolescence Pancake Breakfast is on Saturday, October 27 from 8:00-11:00 a.m. at Ballydoyle’s, and is an all-you-can-eat event. She encouraged people to attend.
The Mayor recommended that the public review the statistical reports. He mentioned that he met with Pack 85 tonight who asked some good questions. On Sunday, the Mayor attended the Eagle Scout ceremony for two talented young men, Connor Ozog and Michael Weiler, who achieved Eagle status. Two percent of Boy Scouts achieve the Eagle Scout honor and he congratulated them for their work. The Mayor then announced that Heritage House Florist had their grand re-opening of the renovated business. They are a good corporate citizen and they fit well into the downtown vision. He also attended a ceremony proclaiming Pierce Downer School as a Blue Ribbon School.
The Mayor called for a short break at 9:25 p.m., saying the Council would return for continuation of the budget discussion.
Council returned at 9:30 p.m. to resume the budget discussion of October 20, 2007.
2008 RECOMMENDED BUDGET
The Mayor said they are starting from Page 8 of the budget.
The Manager referred to Page 8 of the unfunded items. To add any items, they would subtract from the cash reserves. The Mayor said he recalls re-setting the reserve a couple of years to reflect the needs of an organization the size of the Village. He thinks that is still relevant at this time.
Commissioner Schnell said at the end of the meeting on Saturday they discussed sidewalks. She said that the consensus was to add money. For item 341 the amount has the escalator and fee in lieu of contributions.
Commissioner Neustadt suggested holding off on community events signs until they know about grant funding.
Commissioner Schnell said she would like some information from staff about the branding concept.
Commissioner Beckman questioned the $250,000 budgeted for ash trees. Manager Pavlicek said that this would cover removing trees and replanting. The projected costs will be $2.3 million in replacing ash trees in the public parkway. She indicated that where trees are affected they usually die within 3-5 years.
Robin Weaver, Interim Public Works Director , added that the trees die quickly after being infected. They have to be removed quickly due to the shallow roots and for safety concerns. If they wait to remove the trees, further problems will develop.
Commissioner Beckman asked whether there are any plans to assist private property owners and Ms. Weaver said they would provide education. The Forester would make recommendations.
Commissioner Schnell asked if there is a benefit in keeping infestation to a minimum by taking out healthy trees, and Ms. Weaver said it would be minor. Taking out trees would allow new trees to grow a little by starting early. Commissioner Schnell agreed that there would have to be an education component to this for the public so they understand why this is being done.
The Mayor asked whether the Village Forester has taken a firm stand on this. Ms. Weaver responded that she absolutely has. The Village Forester is a leader in her field and has been involved in educational efforts by working with other affected communities. There will be only very minor pruning of ash trees, and she said that the Village’s website shows the location of ash trees in the Village. The Manager said that staff has suggested starting out on a volunteer basis from the homeowners.
Mayor Sandack said that the point is that parkway trees are everyone’s trees, and the Village should not be elective. If the Forester has taken a firm position on this he would like to see the costs of doing this and the ratios. He’d like to know the likelihood of this infestation happening. If this is inevitable, that is one thing, but if not, then it has to be studied.
Ms. Weaver noted that this would be a multi-year program, so they could stop if new information became available.
Commissioner Waldack said that he trusts the Forester’s opinion on this. If you do not keep up with the maintenance, you will pay for it. He said that the Public Services Committee went from a 5-year forestry plan to an 8-year plan, with the intention of returning to a 5-year plan. He thinks they are still on the 8-year plan. Ms. Weaver said technically it is an 8-year plan; however, they are getting closer to the 5-year plan due to less ash pruning.
Commissioner Neustadt asked that if any new information becomes available from the Forester, it would be appreciated, especially if it will help in keeping the healthy trees. The Mayor asked whether there are any additions sought for the “unfunded wish list.” Commissioner Waldack said he would like to see Council combine the Transportation and the Parking fund so they would talk about them as a complete system. There is also the discussion about combining the Transportation Advisory Committee and the Parking & Traffic Commission. The Manager responded that these are not both enterprise funds and that causes complications. Staff will provide further information on that to the Council.
Commissioner Beckman noted that there has been extensive discussion regarding the use of bonds for stormwater projects. He said he is having some philosophical difficulty funding a rock concert when the Village is contemplating borrowing against its future. Commissioner Tully responded that the Blodgett House on the Move is making a one-time request of $25,000. He fully supports this. He believes the Village has a moral obligation to maintain the historical infrastructure, and he views this differently than the Thursday night concert. He is primarily concerned with getting the building moved. He would support continuing the Thursday night concert as a Heritage event, but not necessarily for Blodgett House. He suggested that other groups could apply for this and bid on it. If no one applies for it, the Village would get the revenue from the concert. He sees the concert as having a lot of different benefits, for example, a project to preserve Pierce Downer’s home. The funds for the concert would come from different sources, both residents and non-residents. The dollar amounts can be discussed.
Mayor Sandack said they have to give staff direction and identify which items should be part of the next budget discussion. They can take the excess reserve fund and put it toward stormwater or road projects, which is a legitimate concept. They have to prioritize, however. He supports a new Village Hall and Police Station as a legitimate infrastructure improvement; however, it has been deferred in the past and he doesn’t think it meets the needs of the residents now in terms of being a pressing need. He recommends revisiting this in 2010. He is strongly revisiting his concerns about the ash trees, and though he was thinking negatively previously, he wants to hear more from the Village Forester. He sees this as a potentially tough problem and it is important that they get ahead of the problem. As for the branding concept, he also supports that.
As for Community Events, the Mayor recommended reviewing the idea of the Thursday night concert on an annual basis. He does not support a dual function of both the concert and a contribution to the Blodgett House as the Village has already supported the Blodgett House. He supports Lyman Woods funding payment, as the Village is one of three owners of the property. The Park District has made its investment, and the Forest Preserve said it will continue investing. He suggested they discuss the Village’s role as an owner in Lyman Woods. Regarding the Wi-Fi, he will not support this, and would like to see private business back this. He said he would ask Council to do more in 2008-2009 for the stormwater project. If they choose to add Village Hall for consideration later, they need a financial analyst to look at the funding. He also supports the TCD III funding request.
Commissioner Schnell said she agrees with the Mayor’s stand on the Wi-Fi and agrees that private business should support that.
The Mayor said Commissioner Durkin suggested a straw poll. The Mayor asked for comments on the TCD III , and everyone on the Council supports it. Commissioner
Waldack asked for a tentative schedule.
Village Hall/Police Station – Commissioners Neustadt, Schnell and Tully support it for the 2008 budget, and the remaining four were opposed.
The ash borer Public Works project – all seven Commissioners agreed with a recommendation not to exceed $250,000, with a position paper from the Village Forester.
Communication branding – Commissioners Neustadt, Schnell, Tully, Beckman, Mayor Sandack support this, with the remaining two Commissioners opposing.
Digital Media Archiving Software – Commissioners Waldack and Beckman were in favor with the remaining Council members opposed.
Community Events funding for entertainment costs of $10,000 – Commissioners Neustadt and Waldack support this, with the majority opposed.
Thursday night concert for $50,000 – The Mayor supports the Blodgett House on the Move one time only. This would be for the 2008 Thursday night concert. Commissioner Tully said this could be set up whereby it would not cost the Village anything. He thinks they can set an amount to establish the concert. The Mayor said they need to designate dollars for events, and Commissioner Tully said there was no opportunity to talk with the Directors about this on Saturday. He can’t give a yes or no at this time. The Mayor said that they have to fix a number in some way. Staff has fixed it at $50,000, or they can establish another amount. Mayor Sandack said he is suggesting an amount up to $50,000.
The Manager said at this point staff is seeking direction as to whether the funding should be set aside. There would be an agreement approved subsequently outlining how the expenses/revenues would be shared.
Mary Scalzetti , Director, Community Events, indicated that the actual concert cost was about $35,000; however, there are numerous other costs in equipment and other necessities.
Council agreed to set aside up to $50,000 to cover both the funding increase for entertainment costs of contract vendors and institutionalizing the Thursday night concert at Heritage Festival.
Lyman Woods – This refers to $250,000 for the Village’s funding participation for Lyman Woods. All Commissioners were in favor this, with the caveat by Commissioner Tully that this amount is paid and then the Village gets out of the relationship. The Mayor said this would be part of the 2008 budget, and they can discuss the tri-party relationship in the future.
1846 Blodgett House on the Move one-time payment of $25,000 – Commissioners Waldack, Beckman and Tully support this, with the majority opposed. WiFi – Commissioner Waldack supports this, with the majority opposed. The Manager said that staff will provide information on Friday regarding questions raised on the budget. She said that staff has spoken with a financial advisor with regard to future budget considerations. There will be an ordinance approving the financial analyst on the November 6 Council agenda.
Manager Pavlicek noted that on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. the budget meeting will be rebroadcast on the cable network, and a podcast will be available as well. The Mayor asked that Mr. Kozlowski try to include this portion of the budget discussion onto the rebroadcast.
Commissioner Durkin said he discussed with the Village Manager earlier the allocation of an additional $100,000 for traffic calming devices for residential neighborhoods. He would like to see 80% of that amount allocated toward equipment, and 20% for overtime enforcement activities.
Commissioner Tully commented on the architectural design services for Village Hall and the Police Station. He feels that the Village will pay for this down the road with inaction at this time. He supports doing more sooner and suggested looking at this in light of a bonding opportunity. The Mayor responded that they will ask the financial analyst to run the numbers on this issue. The Manager said it was included as part of their conversation today with the analyst.
Commissioner Tully then addressed the digital media archiving, saying he felt that this could be done more for less than $16,000 or $8,000 annually. In regard to Lyman Woods, he asked if it is consistent with the mission of the Village. He doesn’t want to see the Village do this again.
Commissioner Schnell said that she supported this, as it is a capital expenditure and not maintenance. Maintenance is the responsibility of the Park District. Commissioner Beckman said he thinks that Wi-Fi would be a poor investment because technology is evolving rapidly. He would, however, like to have more information about the financial arrangements of Lyman Woods.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m. April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh