Mayor Ron Sandack called the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 6:15 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Downers Grove Village Hall.
Present:Mayor Ron Sandack; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, William Waldack, Sean P. Durkin, Geoff Neustadt, Bruce Beckman; Village Manager Cara Pavlicek; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Absent:Commissioner Martin Tully
Commissioner Durkin moved to go into Executive Session pursuant to Section 2©(2) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act to consider collective bargaining matters. Commissioner Beckman seconded the Motion.
VOTE : AYE – Commissioners Durkin, Beckman, Neustadt, Waldack, Schnell, Mayor Sandack, NAY – None
The Mayor declared the Motion carried and the Council convened into Executive Session at 6:15 p.m.
Mayor Sandack reconvened the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Village Hall. The Mayor led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Visitors: Residents: Bob Long, 1864 Grant; Megan Schroeder, 6036 Ridge Ct.; George Nicholaou, 4845 Highland; Paul Varosz, 831 Claremont; Kevin O’Connor, 4600 Prince; Andy Clark, 1226 62nd S.; Bill Wrobel, 7800 Queens Court; Chick Briner, 933 Lyman Ave.; Thomas Cawthorne, 4917 Parkway; Tim Meaney, 420 Franklin; Jack Dare, 1656 Carol; Mark Thoman, 1109 61st.; Phillip Schnell, 1240 39th St. Roberta Muehlhaus, 1868 Grant; Chad Walz, 1300 Palmer; Marge Earl, 4720 Florence; G.L. Goodman, 5834 Middaugh
Staff: Dave Fieldman, Deputy Village Manager; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Robin Weaver, Interim Director, Public Works; Bob Porter, Chief of Police; Liangfu Wu, Director, Information Services; Tom Dabareiner, Director, Community Development; Douglas Haywood, Assistant Director, Finance; Phil Ruscetti, Fire Chief; Stan Popovich, Planner, Community Development; Brandon Dieter, Management Analyst; Wes Morgan, Director, Human Resources
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.
Mayor Sandack explained that with regard to the Ad Hoc Housing Committee Report, those who worked on the Committee will be given the first opportunity to comment on the report, and afterwards, anyone who wishes to speak on the report may do so. He understands that there may be strong opinions, but said suggestions and ideas are the hallmark of the thoughtful.
1. Active Agenda and Informational Items
Ad Hoc Housing Committee Report to Council . Village Manager Cara Pavlicek asked Tom Dabareiner, Director, Community Development, to address this matter.
Tom Dabareiner , Community Development Director, briefly reviewed the background of this item. He said that tonight a staff presentation will be made, with further discussion to be held by Council on April 22.
The Ad Hoc Committee was created by Resolution in August 2007, and a consultant was then hired. Meetings were held monthly for six months, and the Committee members devoted a great deal of time to this. He thanked staff members Stan Popovich and Megan Bourke for their assistance during the process. The Motion approved 6-3 was that the Committee found there was no looming shortage of attainable and middle-income housing in the Village.
There were seven questions asked by Council in the Resolution: 1) Define “attainable” and “middle income” housing as it relates to the Village. Mr. Dabareiner said the Committee used the U.S. Census approach, which identified median income as just over $82,000 per household. 2) Determine if the Village has a looming shortage of “attainable” or “middle income” housing. Mr. Dabareiner said the Committee determined by a vote of 6-3 that there is not a looming shortage of attainable housing in Downers Grove. 3) Provide specific information about the current status of housing. Mr. Dabareiner noted that the Council has received a report about 4” thick containing data obtained from a variety of sources including community analysis, staff, and the consultants. 4) Analyze Village’s affordable housing. Mr. Dabareiner said that truly affordable housing is 60%-80% of the median income and lower, and it is not an issue in the Village, as approximately 21% of the Village’s housing is considered affordable. 5) Consider a solution if there is a shortage. Mr. Dabareiner said that the determination was that there is no shortage. 6) Prepare a report and recommendations. 7) Perform additional duties as directed. Mr. Dabareiner said that at this point there are no additional duties to consider. As for the next steps, there will be additional discussion at the April 22 Workshop meeting. They intend public dialogue as part of the Comprehensive Plan and the Strategic Plan process. In the Comprehensive Plan housing is typically an element dealt with in a broader context of housing and market issues.
The Mayor thanked Mr. Dabareiner, the staff and the Committee members for their participation in the process.
Jack Dare , 1656 Carol Street, has been a resident of the Village for 25 years. He thanked Commissioner Schnell, Mr. Dabareiner and the staff for their hard work on this issue. The outcome was disappointing in some ways, but the work was rewarding and educational. If you solely consider the ultimate findings of the Committee, the intentions of the Committee will be misrepresented. Due to some procedural misunderstandings, the Committee’s discussion came to an untimely end following the vote on the question. Most of the Committee members expected to follow the vote by coming to a consensus on a list of recommended action steps to send to Council. He believes no one on the Committee was prepared to send a report to Council that proposed no further action steps recommended.
The research prepared by staff and by Anderson Economic Group clearly shows a disparity between incomes and home prices in the Village. Their work also demonstrates that the demand for moderately prices homes exceeds the stock. While there are some attainable homes for sale within the Village, in the final hour the majority of the Committee chose to discount or disbelieve the research and found that there was no looming shortage because that was the key question in the original charge to the Committee. Before the vote, several Committee members, including himself, urged the group, which had been divided, to come to a consensus on recommended action steps, and he believes they could have done so because there was a lot of agreement among the members in several areas, such as this example: “There is a supply of homes for sale in Downers Grove that middle-income families could afford, but these homes tend to be dated and less desirable.” This often leads today’s buyer to neighboring communities where land is less expensive and the housing stock is newer. There is a demand for moderately priced up-to-date housing here but often we do not capture those buyers. There is a role for Village government to play in helping the market meet this demand.
The opinion was often expressed in the meetings that the free market decides housing prices and that government intervention was not welcome. In reality, the free market determines the prices at which a given parcel might be sold on a given day, but local government has the ultimate control over land use in terms of zoning. In zoning changes, Village planners and Council members can have the most significant impact on this issue. The Committee responded favorably to several ideas for zoning changes, which are specified in the draft report, and they deserve evaluation. Personally, Mr. Dare said he is in favor of regulations that would insure that not every new home built in the Village is an expensive one, often referred to as inclusionary zoning policies. Much of the Committee was interested in the Anderson Group’s proposal to take three parcels along the tracks and rezone them from commercial to residential requiring a portion of the development to be attainably priced. Another called for the addition of “transition zones” between high density and single-family areas where moderately priced duplexes or two-flats could be interspersed, not just in the CBD but near the other two train stations as well. On average, Mr. Dare said they could find that salaries paid to the thousands of working people who commute into and out of the Village each day would not come close to purchasing a median priced home here. Commute time is increasing putting added stress on workers and the environment. Young families looking for starter homes and average working families have too few home ownership options here. The market needs an assist from strategic zoning changes, careful planning and partnering with interested developers and financial institutions. If the Village is not careful, its zoning policies will have a long-term unintended effect of excluding more and more people of average income. In addition to zoning changes, the Committee favorably viewed programs to help homeowners maintain and modernize the housing stock that currently exists in the Village. Buyers’ assistance programs have a part to play as well, and he urged the Council to use the 2008 bond cap to fund first time homebuyers’ assistance programs. Mr. Dare said the Council should not take the Committee’s vote as an indication that nothing should be done to address housing issues, because that was not really the intention for most of the Committee. Many positive and forward thinking action steps were reviewed during the Committee’s deliberation and deserve implementation.
Tim Meany , 420 Franklin,* * read an e-mail that he sent to the members of the Village Council and staff into the record. He added his thanks for the opportunity to serve on the Ad Hoc Housing Task Force, and to the staff for their work.
Mr. Meany offered several observations about the Committee and its outcome. This was a very complex process and many opinions were expressed. At the January 7 meeting, the Committee passed a Motion by 8:1 that working families earning between $65,000 and $125,000 have difficulty finding and purchasing housing in this community valued between $175,000 and $325,000. The proper maintenance and preservation of existing houses in this price range is integral to obtaining attainable housing in this community. Following this vote all members of the committee contributed ideas and suggestions on ways to address this motion, regardless of whether they believed there was a housing shortage or not. At the February 11 meeting, two resolutions were put forward with additional recommendations. However, because of the way the Committee’s mandate was constructed, any productive discussion of the members’ proposals or recommendations were cut off. Since then, several members have e-mailed the Council voicing their concerns about the process, or providing additional recommendations. The result is that these recommendations have been left unfinished and incomplete. The Committee’s sense of its role evolved well beyond any one-dimensional mandate of deciding whether there is a gap. The Committee asked to be heard on several matters concerning housing in Downers Grove. Owing to the background volume of material which the Committee needed to assimilate it did not begin to function as a deliberative working body until quite late into the process—the final two meetings. Because of the abrupt cut-off, suggestions for solutions were not considered. Work that could have and should have been done by the Committee has been pitched into the lap of the Council. This all could have been delivered in a much more thought out form as a Committee is expected to do. Mr. Meany hoped the Council would continue its interest in affordable housing. Otherwise, the residents who expressed a more balanced approach to concerns raised over the past 14 months will now feel their expectations have been thwarted over a procedural technicality. He then suggested that 1) serious attention be given to the suggestions made by the Committee for work that is unfinished and still needs to be done; 2) the Council consider voting a good-faith intention to support the concept of maintenance and preservation of attainable housing until measures to achieve this are proposed in an appropriate form; 3) the Council begin to look at programs for homeowner renovation and maintenance assistance for senior citizens and homebuyer assistance for qualifying middle-income homeowners, and homebuyer incentives; 4) the Council discuss this as part of its Strategic Plan.
Chad Walz , 1300 Palmer, said that when the Committee met the first time it was with noble intentions. They were given an enormous amount of data, maybe too much. In the end, he thinks the Committee came to a correct consensus. He noted that the Committee, he felt, failed to consider the entire Village housing options. He said if the Village researches the units of affordable housing including single-family homes, rental units, condominiums and townhomes, there would be more than enough stock for people who wish to move into Downers Grove. Mr. Walz then commented on the notion of entitlement. He said there seems to be the idea that if you are a college graduate and cannot afford to buy the family homestead, there is an affordable housing shortage. First time homebuyers today must climb a housing ladder to attain the same level their parents enjoy. He believes lending money to people who are not credit-worthy is not a smart business move for the Village or the country. He believes that the real estate market will be in flux for some time much like the stock market. The Village housing market should be well balanced for years to come. He thanked the Village Council and Mayor for the honor and privilege of serving on the Committee.
Megan Schroeder , 6036 Ridge Court, thanked Commissioner Schnell for chairing the Committee. She believes the consultant’s report to be flawed, saying that the report was ordered to show a gap, and she has a problem with that. The vote the Committee reached was based on the statistics from the Assessor’s Office. She pointed out that the Council should be aware that there were major disagreements within the Committee. She noted that 1272 units were valued at less than $350,000.
John Hazard , 1029 Blanchard, thanked the Council for addressing this. He also thanked the staff for their hard work. He said that he wanted to be sure that the consultants’ report is not taken off the table. The report was considered flawed because the supply and demand data was not the same as the MLS and Assessor’s office, and he wanted to insist that any challenges to the report be made public and explicit. To denigrate the report is an affront and insult to all involved. Many hours were spent in preparing the materials. He believes the Committee should have been able to spend more time on many of the issues, but now it is in the hands of the Council.
George Nicholaou , 4845 Highland, agreed that people buy on a step basis. The government cannot keep sticking its foot in doors where it does not belong. There are at least two dozen realtors in this town that, if given a list of people who earn between $75,000 and $125,000, will put them in housing within a day. He has a problem that between the Assessor’s office and the MLS information it was necessary to form a Committee to discuss the Village’s needs. He asked why they had to go outside for answers to the questions. He sees it as making no sense to have a study done when the information was available for free. He wanted to know why staff spent $15,000 for data that was already there.
Marge Earl , 4720 Florence Avenue, said it was a privilege to serve on the Committee. She said this is not easy. She entered with one idea and it was a hard battle to determine what she really believes. Many people had difficulty in trying to decide what the truth was. There will always be more people wanting to live here than homes are available, whether affordable or not. She does not think looking at Downers Grove as a smaller part of the affordable housing issue was shortsighted.
There being no further comments, Mayor Sandack thanked everyone who served on the Committee and who spoke. He said that the charge was singular and defined. He noted the size of the report received by the Committee. He noted that the term “Ad Hoc” means “singular” by definition, and does not refer to a standing committee. The next steps in this are the Council’s responsibility. Housing is part of the TCD III , and this is not the end of this discussion. There will be another discussion on this on April 22.
Commissioner Beckman thanked those who worked on the Committee and he hopes to get a better understanding of the report between now and April 22. He said that most of the individuals who spoke he trusts and respects and has known from many years. While there are specific differences in the application of their findings, he finds it heartening that although they came from a different perspective, they were able to work together and find consensus and that there is a need to sustain some level of the discussion for the future.
Commissioner Schnell also thanked the Committee members and staff. This was not an easy Committee on which to serve. It was emotional at times from different perspectives and often some heated exchanges. The process was a journey, and everyone on the Committee participated. They did a great job in trying to digest and understand the information provided. Some very strong feelings were expressed. The Council is also going to go through the journey. She was very proud of everyone involved. They put their hearts and souls into the Committee and she feels the product is a good product. The Council has everything that the Committee had and the work was meaningful.
Mayor Sandack thanked Commissioner Schnell for shepherding this.
Commissioner Waldack also thanked the staff for their hard work and for showing neutrality, as well as the residents, speakers and Committee members for all they gave to the process. They did not reach a consensus, and some members were disappointed to hear that there is no housing shortage and then to be sent home. He cautioned the Council to be careful as they go through the packet as it contains good and errant data, since the Committee did not discuss some of the information included. Commissioner Waldack said he hoped that the Council would consider the suggestions made, and it has nothing to do with government taking over things in which they do not belong. Government actively affects the market and the business community, and if it did not Ogden Avenue could be tattoo parlors and massage parlors.
Commissioner Durkin asked Mrs. Schroeder about the units available as supplied by the Assessor’s office.
Ms. Schroeder said that the statistics are from Assessor Cockrell’s office. The 1200 units are under $350,000. She said she would leave information with the Commissioner. This does not represent units presently on the market.
Commissioner Durkin then asked what the goal is for the April 22 meeting. The Mayor said it is to find out the consensus of the Council, with respect to the report as submitted and further action that may be necessary. Commissioner Durkin asked if staff would provide information as to what the TCD III would entail, as he has never been part of one before.
Mr. Meaney said that Commissioner Durkin is asking a good question about looking deeply and well into the numbers provided. He thinks they should look at not simply a group of available homes between a specific price range, but looking at attainable housing, rather than affordable housing.
Commissioner Durkin then asked if Mr. Meany is talking about attainable housing in terms of single-family detached housing, or also condos/duplexes, etc. Mr. Meaney responded that part of that has to come to a definition of what do we mean by a middle-income family of two people or more.
Commissioner Beckman asked whether some of the detail is included in the summary, and Commissioner Schnell said that it is in terms of attached and detached housing.
Dr. Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh, suggested that a copy of this packet be placed in the Library. The Manager responded that she would verify that the full packet was placed at the Library, as well as on the Internet.
Commissioner Neustadt said that there are 14 or 15 potential solutions to focus on at the April 22 meeting. He described himself as an attainable housing poster boy, as he and his wife waited before buying. There may not be a looming shortage, but there are things that can be done. Many people could not initially afford a home in Downers Grove. He thinks that the Council has received input, which is what they asked for from the Committee. He thanked everyone for their participation.
Ordinance Amendment: Liquor Provisions. The Manager said this ordinance limits the ability of patrons to purchase a bottle of distilled spirits for consumption on the premises. This is in response to State law amendments.
The Mayor said liquor law comes from the State and the Village as Home Rule has the right to be more restrictive than the State. The Village’s Liquor Commission voted to prohibit distilled spirits to be distributed from a bottle. This does not include beer or wine.
Thomas Cawthorne, 4917 Parkway, said he was one of the two Commissioners voting against this. He said this took the Liquor Commission members by surprise. He has researched this issue, however. He noted that this practice is a popular one in nightclubs. An establishment will charge anywhere from $250-$750 for a bottle of distilled spirits. Usually it involves upper income customers in VIP areas. Certain types of clubs want to offer this service, and often go so far as to offer a limo service. Mr. Cawthorne said that it is his recommendation not to pass this ordinance, and if the Council has concerns they can send this back to the Liquor Commission and change it from 2-4 types of spirits. This is allowed in License E classifications, and it recommended that the Village allow it in a Class E license. Those proprietors he has spoken with who have bottle service said that perhaps only 1% of their problems come from this type of service.
Commissioner Waldack said that in his opinion, we would always want the license holders to keep control of the bottle. He does not agree with allowing bottle service, especially since so much responsibility is placed on the license holders.
Commissioner Durkin also said he could not support bottle service. During his time on the Liquor Commission they discussed training a lot, but when it comes down to it he cannot fathom walking into an establishment in the Village and seeing a bottle of distilled liquor sitting on a table for anyone to drink from. If they do that in other communities, that is their decision, but he does not want to see it in Downers Grove.
Commissioner Schnell said that the Village gets grants from the State regarding DUI cases. This feeds into over indulgence, and she would like to be more restrictive than the State laws. She is in favor of staff’s proposal.
Commissioner Beckman said that he shares the Council’s views.
The Mayor also shared the Council’s concerns. He did not see this as appropriate. The Liquor Commission goes through great introspection, and he gives them deference. He noted that the Liquor Commission vote was 4-2 against permitting this practice, and the absent member at that meeting indicated she would have voted with the majority as well, making it a 5-2 vote.
Contract for Lobbyist. The Manager said this contract is recommended to be awarded to Nicoloy and Dart LLC in an amount not to exceed $36,000 for lobbying the Illinois General Assembly and appropriate State agencies for funding for the Belmont Underpass project. She provided background information on the Village’s involvement with Metra, the Burlington Northern, DuPage County and the ICC and IDOT to create a grade separation at the BNSF line at Belmont. The project is ready for construction, but for construction cost increases. Acquisition of property has occurred, and it is critical that between April and May the Village have regular presence in Springfield. This contract would allow that presence without requiring staff be in Springfield.
Commissioner Neustadt said he sees no other municipalities on Nicoloy and Dart’s list. Manager Pavlicek said that they have represented other communities such as Frankfort, Illinois.
Commissioner Neustadt asked how the Village monitors what they are doing in Springfield. The Mayor suggested that they obtain a weekly report.
Commissioner Waldack asked for major accomplishments of the lobbyist. He said that the Village should continue to make every effort to get this project done.
Commissioner Schnell agreed that there were no municipalities on the client list and that concerns her. They are trying to lobby for a specific issue. She asked whether they can represent the Village, or does the Village need someone with more expertise in dealing with municipalities appropriate to the issue.
Manager Pavlicek said this group has been in the political arena for some time and understands the challenges of municipalities. Basically, this is about meeting capital funding with the State of Illinois. This is an attempt to raise the level of dialogue to show the benefits along the entire line for the BNSF . She is comfortable that they can represent the Village well.
Commissioner Schnell said that she is concerned that if the Village hires a lobbyist the atmosphere is a charged environment attempting to sell one of the biggest projects undertaken. She knows they need a lobbyist, but is concerned about promises made that may not be kept.
Commissioner Durkin said that he read the bios for the lobbyist. He can agree with the concerns expressed about the lack of municipalities; however reading the bios changed his view. Everyone he spoke to in Springfield said the same thing, that you have to approach the leaders, and in the bios, those contacts have been made. The lobbyists have eyes and ears and will be available to get hold of the decision makers to sit down in a room with Village representatives to understand the concerns. He encouraged the Council to read the bios. If they do not get the money, it will end up costing more and more in the future.
Commissioner Beckman said he agreed with Commissioner Durkin, and said that the Village has gone through the process of going to Springfield a couple of times, and could go again; however, he highly supports this move and sees it as necessary. Lobbyists can play both sides of the aisle.
The Mayor said that the concept of the underpass was born in 1998. The Council has lobbied in Springfield since 1999. This project has not been funded and they are $8.5 million short. He indicated that this is an attempt to do something different and utilize the expertise of those who can access the leadership who can make decisions. Everything in Springfield is about access with the right people. Mayor Sandack said it is time for a capital bill and the Village’s job is to get on the list. The project is project-ready. He is in favor of waiving the one-week waiting period to start this as quickly as possible.
Commissioner Waldack asked about a bonus, and the Manager responded that State law prohibits it.
3. Consent Agenda Items
Award of Contract for Fire Station 2 Zetron Alerting System. The Manager said a resolution has been prepared to authorize the execution of a contract for the installation of the Zetron alerting system for Fire Station 2 to United Radio Communications, Inc. of Chicago, Illinois, for $24,600. She asked Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman to address this item.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman said that this is the last contract needed to complete construction. There is $15,000 in the budget; however, this cost is $24,600. He noted that the Village is under budget for Fire Station 2. The construction schedule for Fire Station 2 has not changed and they are scheduled to move in this July. The project budget spans three fiscal years at a total of $10,500,000. The original cost estimate was $9.5 million and the current estimate is $9.2 million, $1.3 million below the original project estimate.
2008 Motor Fuel Tax Resolution . The Manager said a resolution has been prepared appropriating $1,505,000 of Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds for 2008. This is the first step in fulfilling Illinois Department of Transportation requirements for the use of MFT funds.
Contract Award: Professional Engineering Design Services – Gierz, Wilson and Austin Water Main Replacement Projects. The Manager said a resolution has been prepared to authorize award of a contract for Phase I & II design work related to water main improvements for Gierz, Wilson, and Austin Streets (Linden Place – Fairview Avenue) to Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co., Inc. of Downers Grove, Illinois, in the amount of $48,984.
Contract Award: Professional Engineering Design Services – Inverness Avenue Reconstruction and Rogers Street Resurfacing Projects. The Manager said a resolution has been prepared to authorize award of a contract for the design of roadway improvements for the projects Inverness Avenue (Janes Avenue – Belmont Road) and Rogers Street (Main Street – Fairview Avenue) to GC Engineering, Inc. of Downers Grove, Illinois, in the amount of $38,393.60 and $44,732.80 respectively.
Grant Amendment: Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fueling Station Upgrade. The Manager said a resolution has been prepared authorizing the execution of Amendment 4 to a grant agreement between the Village and the City of Chicago. The Village Council approved amendment 1 of the grant agreement on February 19, 2008; language referencing Amendment 4 was left out of the approved resolution. Amendment 4 extends the time for completion of work through the end of 2008 and reallocates grant funds to Downers Grove for the installation of an additional compressor motor within the Village’s existing CNG fueling station. There are no out-of-pocket expenses related to this amendment. The Village will contribute 10% for in-kind assistance that includes the use of Village property, oversight and operation.
Commissioner Neustadt said that, as a user, this fueling station is a great thing to have in that it allows for a flexible fuel fleet.
The Manager said that the Village extends the use of this station to other political subdivisions.
Resolution to Participate in the Suburban Tree Consortium and Authorize Tree Supply and Planting Services for FY08 . The Manager said a resolution has been prepared to continue the Village’s participation in the Suburban Tree Consortium and to authorize tree supply and planting services in the amount of $189,400 for 2008.
Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, asked about the total number of trees to be planted this year. He questioned whether this covers only the small amount of trees specified. The Manager said that this is for the Suburban Tree Consortium, and staff will provide more information next week as to other tree sources.
2008 Computer Replacements. The Manager said a motion is requested to approve the purchase of computers from Dell Marketing, L.P. of Round Rock, Texas, in an amount not to exceed $108,368. Under the Village’s computer equipment replacement program, the Village purchases replacement computers each year and uses a four-year replacement cycle. This is to replace all Village Hall and Fire Department personal computers.
Commissioner Beckman asked about the disposal of the old computers. The Manager said staff is seeking an electronics waste hauler.
Commissioner Durkin asked why the Village does not donate these to those who cannot afford computers, and the Manager said that the Village has donated them in the past.
Dr. Liangfu Wu said that staff is in the process of selecting a company that can haul the computers away. As for donating them to non-profit organizations, the computers are too old and they cannot give away any software due to licensing agreements.
Commissioner Neustadt asked whether they could offer a Village-wide computer-recycling event, and asked staff to look into this. The Manager said she expected they would eventually get to that point.
h. Bid: Vehicle Purchases . The Manager said a motion is requested to approve the purchase of 11 vehicles scheduled for replacement in 2008 in the total amount of $225,097.19 as follows:
One (1) 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan SE minivan from Wright Automotive of Hillsboro, Illinois, in the amount of $18,682 using the State of Illinois Joint Purchasing Contract PSD 221924 Three (3) 2008 Chevrolet Impala sedans from Bill Jacobs Joliet LLC of Joliet, Illinois, in the amount of $59,430.19 using the State of Illinois Joint Purchasing Contract PSD 401904 Five (5) 2008 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor sedans from Packey Webb Ford of Downers Grove, Illinois, in the amount of $122,025 using the local vendor preference Two (2) 2008 Ford Ranger Supercab pickup trucks from Packey Webb Ford of Downers Grove, Illinois, in the amount of $24,960 using the local vendor preference
Commissioner Neustadt said he is pleased to see that seven of the vehicles are being purchased in Downers Grove.
Commissioner Schnell said there is a proposed bill in Springfield that municipalities can only buy natural gas vehicles.
i. Employee Request to Authorize Out-of-State Service Credit in IMRF . The Manager said a motion is requested to authorize the transfer of credit for years of service from an out-of-state public sector employer into the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) in accordance with IMRF plan documents. This motion is in response to a request from a qualifying Village employee.
Authorization to Request Road Salt from State Contract. The Manager said a motion is requested to authorize the Village Manager to request that the State of Illinois include the purchase of 6,000 tons of road salt by the Village during the 2008-09 winter season for snow and ice control via the State contract.
Authorization to Execute an Intergovernmental Agreement with DuPage County DOT for the County Bikeway Project on Jefferson Avenue. The Manager said a resolution has been prepared to authorize an intergovernmental agreement with the DuPage County Division of Transportation (DuPage DOT ) related to the County’s Southern DuPage County Regional Trail Bikeway project. The trail segment would run along Jefferson Avenue between Springside Avenue and Dunham Road and will be an on-street bicycle route.
MANAGER ’S REPORT
Monthly Statistical Report. The Manager said the monthly statistical report for February 2008 is provided.
Ogden and Lee. The Manager asked Dave Fieldman to address this item.
Mr. Fieldman provided a review of the background on this location. In 2007, the Council authorized a redevelopment agreement for the site, and it went before the Council again in August. He said that Bradford Real Estate Companies continues to work with the landowners. It is not ready to move forward at this time. When and if it becomes ready, staff will notify the property owners.
The Mayor said that the Village needs closure on this item, and the community affected by this needs closure as well. He suggested that staff be authorized to come back within 30 days. The Council agreed with the Mayor’s suggestion.
Solid Waste. The Manager asked Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager, to address this item.
Mike Baker , Assistant Village Manager, said that the transition to a new solid waste hauler continues. Allied Waste is picking up the carts and ARC is delivery carts. So far, things are going well. The Hometown Times newsletter provided detailed information and a map. He said that one issue has to do with a container for yard waste. Many people use 33 gallon drums, and a yard-waste-only sticker can be affixed to that container. He said that March 31 is the official collection date, and more information is available on the website.
Commissioner Durkin asked for clarification regarding the carts, that ARC is delivering them, and Allied Waste is picking them up. Mr. Baker said that will take place as part of the normal collection this week. If residents are out of town, they can contact Allied Waste directly.
Commissioner Durkin asked if a resident has yard waste stickers, can the yard waste stickers be used with the new hauler, and Mr. Baker said they can. Yard waste collection begins on April 1. He added, in response to Commissioner Beckman, that new stickers are currently available throughout the Village.
Marge Earl , 4720 Florence, asked whether there is a sticker for recycling that can go in a regular can, and the Mayor said that is the suggestion for the future.
4. Tornado Siren. The Manager said on Thursday, March 20, 2008, one of the seven sirens operated by the Village as part of the Outdoor Warning System for severe weather notification malfunctioned. Often referred to as the tornado sirens, this particular siren located near 55th and Main Street malfunctioned at approximately 1:00 am and continued to sound for about an hour, despite the fact the system was not “activated” by Village staff. During this hour, on duty staff solely focused their efforts on remotely turning off the system and responding to calls from the public in the Village Operations Center (VOC) where both 911 calls and non-emergency calls are received. Ultimately, Village staff disengaged the power supply at the site to deactivate the siren.
From the experience last Thursday, staff has learned that in the event of a malfunction of this duration, on duty staff must notify “up” the chain of command to allow information to be communicated to the public through avenues such as DGTV Channel 6, the Village website and local media.
The Manager said she wanted to correct any misconception that there is a correlation between our response to a malfunction and our emergency response capabilities. The Village is experienced and can respond with speed and expertise to emergency situations. There are plans, systems and trained personnel ready to meet the public safety needs of the community. The Village meets or exceeds all requirements prescribed by the National Incident Management System and the entire Village Management Team is capable and qualified to lead us through the proper response to an emergency. The Village’s emergency weather related response plan was extensively reviewed by the National Weather Service and resulted in Downers Grove being designated as a Storm Ready Community; one of only 39 in the State of Illinois.
Finally, she apologized to residents for the lack of information regarding the emergency/non-emergency status of the situation last week and the resulting inconvenience and frustration this caused to residents. It was unacceptable and corrective action to ensure better communication with the citizens of Downers Grove has already been taken.
The Mayor said that it is good to learn lessons from false alarm situations. It was an unforeseen malfunction, and they now know what to do should anything like this occur again. He added that the siren has been replaced and the vendor checked out the other six sirens.
Commissioner Neustadt thanked the responders who turned off the siren, saying staff did a great job of getting the word out the next day.
Commissioner Waldack saw this as an opportunity to learn a lesson. He said in the city these used to be known as “air raid sirens.” These sirens, however, are weather sirens for warnings, not watches.
Commissioner Schnell said that the Village owes the residents who were inconvenience an apology. The siren is used only in a weather emergency. She suggested an “At Your Service” segment to address the siren system and protocol for other emergencies.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting eight items to the Council: 1) An ordinance amending liquor sales provisions for on-premise consumption; 2) A resolution authorizing execution of Amendment Four to an agreement between Third Party Beneficiaries, Gas Technology Institute and the City of Chicago Department of Environment for the Regional Alternative Fuel Infrastructure grant program; 3) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co., Inc. of Downers Grove; 4) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and GC Engineering, Inc. of Downers Grove, Illinois; 5) A resolution authorizing execution of an intergovernmental agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the County of DuPage for the Southern DuPage County Regional Trail – 59th Street bikeway; 6) A resolution for maintenance of streets and highways by municipality under the Illinois Highway Code; 7) A resolution expressing intent to continue participation in the suburban tree consortium and to authorize certain purchases for FY 2008 ; and 8) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and United Radio Communications, Inc.
The Attorney asked the Council to consider a motion waiving the one-week waiting period to consider new business to authorize execution of a professional services agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Nicolay & Dart, LLC .
Commissioner Durkin moved to waive the one-week waiting period to consider new business as outlined by the Attorney. Commissioner Beckman seconded the motion.
VOTE : AYES : Commissioners Durkin, Beckman, Neustadt, Waldack Schnell; Mayor Sandack
NAYS : None
Mayor Sandack declared the Motion passed.
A resolution authorizing execution of a professional services agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Nicolay & Dart, LLC . This authorizes a professional governmental legal services agreement in connection with the Belmont Underpass Project.
Commissioner Durkin moved to adopt “A Resolution Authorizing Execution of a Professional Services Agreements between the Village of Downers Grove and Nicolay & Dart, LLC ,” as presented. Commissioner Beckman seconded the motion.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND NICOLAY & DART , LLC
RESOLUTION 2008 -29
VOTE : AYES : Commissioners Durkin, Beckman, Neustadt, Waldack, Schnell; Mayor Sandack
NAYS : None
Mayor Sandack declared the Motion passed.
Commissioner Durkin noted an event on Saturday, March 29 at the Tivoli sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop. Mary Pope Osborne, author of Magic Treehouse #39 and other books will be the guest speaker. Tickets are available at Anderson’s Bookshop.
Commissioner Schnell reported on the DuPage Mayors and Manager’s Conference Legislative meeting. Three representatives from the Governor’s office were there to discuss “Illinois Works,” an economic stimulus program in the amount of $25 billion for capital budget, school construction, and construction of State and local facilities. She said that the State Representatives want to see this passed. House Bill 1110, which passed the House last year, has a list of projects that were not funded last year, and she suggested that staff research this. Commissioner Schnell mentioned the fact that a commitment of money was made to the Village for a parking deck monies that the Village never saw. She also mentioned the Belmont underpass project. The Commissioner said that the Village has its work cut out for it. Apparently, the representatives want this capital budget passed badly. It was an interesting meeting and beneficial.
The Mayor said he met with Chairman Schillerstrom, as well as State Senators last week. He said that it would be great if the Belmont project was part of that capital budget.
George Nicholaou , 4845 Highland, said that whoever the officer on duty was during the siren mishap did a great job and should be commended for how he handled the situation. He was very polite. Mr. Nicholaou added that Doug Kozlowski was superb in getting the information out. He then suggested that since there may be some money left over from the Fire Station, the Village also look at reviewing the 1970 gateway signage in the community. Equally important would be a downtown gateway sign at the new Fire Station.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 9:17 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh