1. Call to Order
Mayor Ron Sandack called the regular meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Downers Grove Village Hall.
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
Mayor Sandack led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
2. Roll Call
Present: Commissioner Marilyn Schnell, Commissioner Martin Tully, Commissioner William Waldack, Commissioner Sean P. Durkin, Commissioner Bruce E. Beckman, Commissioner Geoff Neustadt and Mayor Ron Sandack Non Voting: Village Manager David Fieldman, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca and Village Clerk April Holden 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 Sandack 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 – December 16, 2008 Executive Session Minutes for Approval Only – December 16, 2008 There being no additions or corrections to the minutes, Mayor Sandack said they would be filed as submitted.
4. Public Comments and Questions
A. Comments and Questions on Active Agenda
B. Comments and Questions on General Matters
Noreen Kratz, 4008 Elm Street, said she was present to discuss the flooding issue on her property. She brought photographs of the swale and flooding on her property on Saturday, December 27. Ms. Kratz described the situation on her site, saying she has pumps and hoses working to pump the water out of her house. She referred to the house located at 4001 Washington Street. She noted that she has extension cords throughout the backyard, and had nine pumps working to keep the water levels low. Ms. Kratz noted to the Council that she called the Village and never received a callback, nor did anyone come to her house. She ran six hoses out of her house. The Fire Department sent a truck to her home due to the smell of gas outside her house and her neighbor’s house. On New Year’s Eve day, someone came by to speak with her about the house next door to her that is vacant. Ms. Kraft said she does not appreciate that no one responded to her call or came to her house. She lives in constant fear of the pumps going out, or the electricity going out, freezing pipes or temperatures, etc.
The Mayor responded that the Council and staff know there is a problem. He said that staff has been out to look at the property in question, and noted that many people suffered as a result of the last storm. He told her that they will try to improve the situation.
The Manager noted that the property in question is an LPDA , a depressional area with groundwater issues. He explained that this area will be studied this year, with expected design in 2009 and possible improvements in 2010.
Mayor Sandack explained that the Village has a bond issuance to address stormwater infrastructure issues. It looks as though Ms. Kratz’s area might be on a shorter timeline in terms of being addressed. He noted that staff has heard from other residents as well.
Ms. Kratz said she cannot deal with this any longer. She has been made to feel as if this were something she’s done. The Mayor responded that no one has suggested it was her doing or assessed blame in the situation. Ms. Kratz replied that she’s embarrassed to say that she lives in Downers Grove. Mayor Sandack assured Ms. Kraft that the Village will do whatever it can to assist her.
5. Public Hearings
6. Consent Agenda
COR00 -03632 A. Claim Ordinance: No. 5775, Payroll, December 19, 2008 Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
BIL00 -03633 B. List of Bills Payable: No. 5752, January 6, 2009 Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
MOT00 -03583 C. Motion: Note Receipt of Minutes of Boards and Commissions Summary of Item: Circulator Ad Hoc Task Force – November 19, 2008 Library Board – November 12, 2008 Technology Commission – December 4, 2008 A motion was made to Note Receipt Of this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Boards and Commissions Minutes Passed The Consent Agenda
A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, that the consent agenda be passed. The motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Beckman, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Sandack
7. Active Agenda
8. Mayor’s Report
RES00 -03631 Resolution: Appoint Members to Boards and Commissions Sponsors: Mayor Summary of Item: This appoints James Speta to the Environmental Concerns Commission for a three-year term expiring August 31, 2011.
A RESOLUTION APPOINTING JAMES SPETA TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS COMMISSION
RESOLUTION 2009 -01 Commissioner Waldack said he has spoken with James Speta over a long period of time, saying he is very active in the community and church.
Commissioner Schnell said she thought Mr. Speta was more than qualified to sit on the ECC . Under other circumstances, she would be happy to vote for him. She believes that during an election season she should not vote on appointments to boards and commissions. She knows this issue is going before the Finance and Administrative Committee and asked that other communities be polled as well.
The Mayor thanked Mr. Speta for his service to the Village. A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Adopt this file. Mayor Sandack declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Beckman, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Sandack Nay: Commissioner Schnell Indexes: Boards and Commissions Materials to be Placed on File
9. Manager’s Report
Manager Fieldman announced the hiring of a new Public Works Director, Naneil Newlon, who has 17 years of experience in Public Works, including working in Naperville and Woodridge.
The Manager then reported on weather related events and snow and ice control events. He announced that there will be a change order for the purchase of additional salt before the Council next week. Manager Fieldman said that on Saturday, December 27, there was rainfall and snowfall that resulted in runoff and severe flooding in the area. Fourteen street segments were closed, 834 calls were fielded, 25 public works members were on call, and the Police and Fire Departments were also on the streets. He indicated that the website was updated several times and a command center was established. He was pleased with the staff response.
Commissioner Beckman commented that his back yard is in an LPDA and receded quickly.
The Manager noted that this was the experience in many parts of the Village.
Commissioner Schnell pointed out that this was a total team effort from the top down. She credited the Manager for his leadership ability.
INF00 -03634 Total Community Development 3 – Update Sponsors: Deputy Village Manager Deputy Village Manager Mike Baker presented an overview to the Council on TCD -3, saying it is an extensive community engagement process that is held community-wide with stakeholder-based participation. He said that face-to-face interaction and on-line participation is available. Mr. Baker then gave a background report of the program and a schedule of events beginning on January 16 with the launch of the TCD -3 website. March 4 will be the date of Community Workshop 1, followed by Community Workshop 2 in July, and other meetings held in between. He explained that the online features promote the events and provides updates. There will be an online questionnaire for resident participation, as well as a message board.
Commissioner Schnell commented that the Strategic Planning process allows the Village to look forward one or two years, while the TCD -3 provides a 20-year view, and is a vision for the future.
Mr. Baker said that they will make sure that the publicity heavily emphasizes this point.
Commissioner Neustadt noted that the schedule calls for student workshops sometime in May or June. He urged Mr. Baker to consider a May timeframe. Indexes: Total Community Development III (TCD)
INF00 -03635 Strategic Plan Implementation Sponsors: Manager’s Office The Manager reviewed the Strategic Plan implementation, which started with discussions at the Workshops in November. Again he noted that information will be on the website and updated quarterly to the Council. He reviewed the identified projects and highlighted the Village Facilities Plan. The FY 09 budget includes $400,000 for design development plans. He said $50,000 is for schematic design plans. He identified key issues which include an update of the facility needs study, public outreach, deciding which facility or facilities, deciding what site or sites, and funding sources. He recommended that the schedule be revised with an update on facility needs taking place in February 2009. A decision with respect to the facilities and sites would be made by June, funding sources discussed and identified by August 2009. A schematic design would be planned for December 2009, with public outreach an ongoing element.
The Mayor responded that this appeared to be good conservative planning in consideration of the current conditions.
Commissioner Schnell said she believed they need to do a better job to provide the public with opportunities for education. The potential for new facilities will never happen unless the public is convinced that it is needed, and there have to be specific opportunities made available for people to learn about the project.
Commission Waldack said that the Village facilities plan will overlap the TCD -3 process. He thinks the projects should be incorporated into the TCD process, as it is part of education and a good opportunity to make the public aware.
Commissioner Beckman asked if staff will be seeking approval of a facility in December 2009. Mr. Fieldman said staff would like decisions regarding needs, buildings and funding by August 2009. Commissioner Beckman responded that they need to formulate firm plans for the future.
Commissioner Tully said he believed the timeline is much too long, as this is grossly overdue. He has voiced his opinion on this in the past. He thinks it has been studied far too much. There are many issues regarding funding but he believes many decisions can be made in the meantime. There is uncertainty about funding and the economic conditions, but it is clear that this needs to be done. He thinks the schedule needs to move forward.
Commissioner Tully added that services are being hampered by decrepit buildings. He would like to move forward and make decisions, as there may also be opportunities regarding funding to save money. He does not want to see this become a political issue, but would like to see the schedule reduced by at least half.
Mayor Sandack agreed that this issue has been discussed for many years. He suggested that this requires the community’s buy-in. There are ancillary costs by having this facility in the condition in which it exists. Staff has a heavy workload, but if there is a way to condense the timeline and get community buy-in, it should be accelerated. He referenced the problems with the Police Department building as well.
Commissioner Durkin stated that public tours were done in Darien prior to the new city hall and police department being approved. He suggested that this approach be used. The Village could save significant money by moving forward. There are many contractors looking for work.
Commissioner Beckman asked for input from staff about other issues that would expedite this.
Mr. Fieldman said he understands that the Council would like to see the process accelerated, and have staff schedule public input. Staff will talk about the funding next.
Commissioner Tully said he is not suggesting work needs to be done immediately, but they should start the public outreach now. He is not trying to downplay public input, but believes the decision must be made and they must move forward.
Commissioner Schnell noted that in her opinion public education must go beyond the Council discussions. There are opportunities through Cable TV and Communications Department to put this on Cable and on the website. There are many opportunities for public information campaigns. She said that many people are unaware of all the studies that have been done and what they are about. She thinks the timeline can be compressed but not at the expense of public education.
Commissioner Neustadt asked about the facilities needs report. The Manager said it is a very good report. They would like to look at rehab possibilities. Indexes: Strategic Plan
INF00 -03636 Long Range Financial Planing and Budgeting Report Sponsors: Manager’s Office The Manager presented the Calendar for 2009:
January – Year end report February – Treasurer’s report April – FY 09 1st quarter report May – August – Long Range Financial Plan discussions June-July – FY 09 2nd quarter report August – Long Range Financial Plan final report September – Proposed FY10 budget October – FY 09 3rd quarter report November – Budget
Mayor Sandack said that the schedule makes sense and reflects a heavy workload. A long-term financial plan is long overdue and will help future Councils.
Commissioner Schnell said that schedule allows the Village to educate the public, particularly in these economic times. She is happy to see this going forward. She thanked staff for bringing it to Council.
Commissioner Tully stated that it is a good idea and needs to be done. They need to budget with an outcome in mind. If the Strategic Plan is done properly, the budget almost writes itself. Potential revenues and expenses over the next 25-30 years need to be studied. He believes this goes together with the TCD 3 .
Indexes: Long Range Financial Plan
10. Attorney’s Report
Future Active Agenda
11.Council Member Reports and New Business
Commissioner Beckman discussed the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), saying there is concern about whether this is relevant to today’s environment. He would like to see the Council look at whether funds can be redeployed.
The Mayor responded that to the extent we had the bond authorization to cede, the Village can move forward.
Commissioner Beckman asked, if there are excess funds, whether they can be used in some way with respect to foreclosures.
The Manager said staff will prepare a report prior to March as to the uses of bond cap authority.
Commissioner Waldack said that the Morgage Credit Certificate went into effect on December 10, 2008. He asked staff to look at the success of ceding bond cap authority. He referenced an article about Aurora with regard to ceding.
Commissioner Tully said that there are issues of appointments to Boards and Commissions during the period when petitions are filed and the election of new Council members. He asked that the issue be broadened to review making appointments in a more timely manner, and Mayoral appointments if timeframes are not met.
The Mayor said that the Finance and Administrative Committee is planning to meet in January.
Commissioner Durkin thanked Robin Weaver for her service to the Village and for bringing the Village to the next level. He also thanked Megan Bourke for her services. Commissioner Durkin then thanked everyone who supported him. He said that he and his wife are the proud parents of Gavin, born on December 18.
Commissioner Tully also thanked Robin Weaver for her service to the Village and welcomed Naneil Newlon to Public Works. He congratulated the Durkins and the Bakers on their new additions and wished everyone a Happy New Year.
Commissioner Schnell congratulated Commissioners Durkin and Neustadt, and Deputy Village Manager Baker. She also expressed thanks to Robin Weaver for doing a great job and thanked Public Works for what has been a difficult year. She wished everyone a Happy New Year.
Commissioner Waldack added his congratulations to the new parents. He said that the Village was very well run during the period that the Council did not meet. Staff worked very hard over the holidays, and he thanked them for their work. He also welcomed Naneil Newlon to the Village and recognized Robin Weaver for her marvelous management skills.
Commissioner Neustadt concurred in congratulating Commissioner Durkin and Mr. Baker. He thanked the residents for their help during the storms and added that Public Works did an outstanding job.
Mayor Sandack said that December 16 was the last Council meeting, and since that time there were several events that happened which were professionally handled. He said he received only one e-mail regarding plowing and salting of roads. Public Works was out in force. He noted that someone suggested a Citizens Involvement Brigade, in which trained residents in neighborhoods would assist their neighbors. This might be a model that could work in Downers Grove. The Mayor also thanked Robin Weaver, saying she was the perfect person for the Public Works position. She will be missed. He noted that Ms. Newlon understands that the Village has many projects. He also added his welcome to the new babies.
Commissioner Tully moved to adjourn. Commissioner Durkin seconded the Motion.
Mayor Sandack declared the motion carried by voice vote and the meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m