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. The Mayor led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Present:Mayor Ron Sandack; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, Martin Tully; William Waldack, Sean P. Durkin, Geoff Neustadt, Bruce Beckman; Village Manager Dave Fieldman; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Visitors: Press: Cat Leyden, Downers Grove Reporter Residents: H.D. Mitchell, Curtiss Condominium One Association, 1132 Curtiss, #113; Fran Kubes, 5538 Lyman Avenue; Chris White, 5548 Lyman Avenue; Dave Humprhis, 5544 Lyman Avenue; Greg Bedalov and Cindy Klima, DG Economic Development Corporation; Andy Clark, DG Watch, 1226 62nd Street; Frank Green, 6724 Revere Road; Bill Wrobel, DG Watch, 7800 Queens Court; Bob Barnett, 730 Maple Avenue; Alice Strelau, 5611 Brookbank; Adrianna Rak, 823 Claremont Drive; Jaime Mahoney, 7632 Rohrer Drive; Bill Deutsch, 9S209 Cumnor Road; Jim Norris, 7249 Springside; Tam Kutzmark, DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, 1220 Oak Brook Road; Anthony Schiller, Circulator Study, 6710 Bradley Court; Frank Falesch, DG Watch, 820 Prairie Avenue; Gordon Goodman, DGHPC (1846 Blodgett House), 5834 Middaugh; Marge Earl, 4720 Florence Avenue; Jim Loan, 5536 Lyman Avenue Staff: Jamie Belongia, Intern; Liangfu Wu, Director, Information Services; Mary Scalzetti, Director, Community Events; Stan Balicki, Assistant Director, Public Works; Mike Baker, Deputy Village Manager; Judy Buttny, Director, Finance; Mike Millette, Assistant Director, Public Works; Nan Newlon, Director, Public Works
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.
Greg Bedalov, President of the Economic Development Corporation, reported that the State of Illinois and DeVry, Inc. have announced relocation of DeVry to Downers Grove. This will result in hundreds of jobs. It represents a $25.9 million commitment to the State of Illinois. He thanked the Council, staff, County and State for their involvement in this relocation.
Mr. Bedalov introduced Grady Hamilton of Opus North Corporation the “landlord” of DeVry at Highland Landmark V. Mr. Hamilton said it is more important than ever to attract new business to the Village at this time. He thanked the Council and the entire team who worked on this project.
Mayor Sandack thanked everyone for this, saying that 150,000 square feet will be rented to DeVry in 2010. This is a result of good partnership between all the parties involved. He is very proud of the EDC for generating new business during this economic time.
The Mayor then varied from the format of the meeting, acknowledging that there were residents present who wanted to discuss water issues, given the flooding over the past week. He said that their comments would be taken at the beginning of the meeting and invited them to come up and address the Council.
PUBLIC COMMENTS :
1. Dave Humprhis said he lived on the 5500 block of Lyman Avenue. They had sanitary sewer issues. There are also issues with the creek on Kenyon which is always overtaxed. Whenever there is a strong rain, the Creek begins to bubble up. He believes the problem with the Creek was the reason for the sanitary back up on Lyman Avenue.
The Mayor said that this weekend was miserable in the Village. He appreciates Mr. Humprhris bringing the issue forward.
2. Chris White of the 5500 block of Lyman said she has lived here for 50 years. She has never seen this much water and sewage come into their homes. The Sanitary District did not answer their concerns. Ms. White asked that the Village deliver dumpsters to that area so people could empty out their basements. She said that she called the Village yesterday and was told by staff to call the Sanitary District.
The Mayor said the Village will do whatever it can.
1. Active Agenda and Informational Items
Review of Solid Waste Collection Services . The Manager asked Mike Baker, Deputy Village Manager, to address this item.
Mike Baker , Deputy Village Manager, said that the Village is almost one year into its new contract with ARC . He said that the Council has a report in their packet. Staff has worked through most of the issues with ARC and feels ARC has been responsive to customer concerns.
Mayor Sandack commented that the Council has received a detailed report. He noted that the Village hired a new garbage hauler last year and it was a good transition. There were a number of calls during the first two months; however, he hasn’t had an ARC related issue brought to his attention since summer. He thanked Mike Baker for his work with ARC , and noted that ARC has purchased the previous vendor, Allied Waste.
H. T. Mitchell , a resident of the Curtiss Condo 1 Association, said he was here a year ago and asked again to be included in the Village contract with ARC . He is amazed that his issue was not included in the report. They are forced to pay commercial rates which are more than double the residential rates for the same service. He said this is a matter of justice, fairness and equity. By including the Condo Association in the contract, it would result in fewer trucks on the street, free pickup of recyclables and the elimination of surcharges. He said last year the Mayor said ARC would serve all residents, but they do not serve all residents. He asked for timely consideration of this request.
Mayor Sandack responded that the Village wants to get as many residents into the system as possible. Condominiums and apartments present unique situations. He will ask Mr. Baker and ARC to discuss the matter further. He then asked as to the current provider of Mr. Mitchell’s building. Mr. Mitchell said that they tried service with ARC and they lasted a few months in their discussion; however they were forced to make a decision and went with Groot for their particular building.
Commissioner Schnell said that there are so many condominium units in town that the Village would have to negotiate for all of those buildings. She does feel this is worth looking into; however, she said they must understand this cannot be done overnight.
Commissioner Schnell then noted that people would like to see a larger container for recyclables because they put out a lot of recyclables. ARC doesn’t seem interested in that. She suggested trying to do this to be more responsive to residents.
The Mayor said the Village always encourages recycling, and larger bins are to ARC ’s benefit. The issue is timing as there is a lot to discuss right now.
Commissioner Durkin said he thought this was something to look at and he is in support of a complete cart program. It results in a cleaner look with no garbage flying around. He feels the Village should look at this. He said he was skeptical when the contract was awarded to ARC over Allied and is happy to see ARC and Allied joined. He is pleased with the high service level, and noted that the toter program has increased.
Commissioner Waldack commented that the Recycling Extravaganza was a successful effort. The more recycling there is, the less cost it is to the hauler. With regard to the leaf pickup, he is always in favor of reducing labor involved; however, the leaf pickup did not reduce labor. The program was not free, and some were unable to take advantage of the program. The cost per household was over $9.00. The cost shifted but service didn’t improve. There are still leaves in the inlets. Commissioner Waldack said that when they shift the burden to the entire community, it philosophically gives the community a vested interested in trees on private property. He doesn’t think the Village will go back to the leaf program. Commissioner Waldack then said that it is totally unacceptable to pick up trash and recycling in the same vehicle. The ECC looked at this and was very concerned. There is no excuse to do that. With regard to a Spring Amnesty, he favors an amnesty day; however, he thinks there are a lot of households that don’t have much trash to contribute. He said he thought they should find a way to have a personal day prearranged with ARC . That would be helpful to people moving in or out of the community. As to the price of stickers increasing, he asked what happens to the existing stickers.
Mr. Baker said they would be using the same sticker.
Bond Refunding – Parameters Ordinance. The Manager said this is a cost saving measure that refunds existing bonds previously issued, and reduces the future debt service payment on those existing bonds. This ordinance establishes the parameters to move forward with the refunding. He described the refunding process that must be completed by October 1, 2009. Some of the bonds targets are downtown TIF bonds, which are not revenue bonds. The Manager said the previous parameters ordinance expired on December 31, 2008. The ordinance complies with the Village’s Debt Management Policy, and the exact savings will be determined by the market conditions.
Commissioner Tully clarified that this is similar to home mortgage refinancing to get a better interest rate.
Commissioner Waldack suggested another parameters ordinance for future possibilities. The Manager said that is a good idea and will be discussed during the financial planning discussions.
Local Circulator Study Task Force Findings. The Manager said this is a multi-year project and staff recommends not implementing the Local Circulator at this time. There will be some Village cost that is not budgeted. Much of the program depends upon grant funding. He said that this would be a service enhancement, and providing this service would mean cutting another service or creating a new revenue source.
Nan Newlon , Public Works Director, said that the DuPage Mayor and Managers Conference spearheaded this study in January 2008. The Circulator service would be mid-day and cover specific sites. In February 2008 the Council established a task force to look at the framework. She reviewed the findings of the Task Force that met six times over six months. Two buses would be leased through the Pace system for this service. She showed the proposed route using overhead pages, with the proposed schedule and cost analysis for a five-year operation.
Mayor Sandack thanked the Task Force members for their participation. He noted that many of the members had transportation experience and wanted to see if they could make this work.
Jim Loan , 5536 Lyman, asked how many people would utilize the service and the cost per trip. Mayor Sandack responded it is $2.00 per trip but is subsidized and would depend upon the number of rides. Mr. Loan then said that it would be cheaper to just give people cab fare.
Frank Green said he was a member of the Circulator Study Task Force and said they looked at the subsidized cab fare. The ridership for the Circulator service would include children, seniors, etc., to serve the entire community.
Tam Kutzmark , DuPage Mayors and Managers, said she has worked with the Village for about three years on this project. She thanked Ms. Newlon for the presentation and wanted to add some clarification. The four communities that are participating will have a total of $4.3 million in grant monies. These grants were not available when Downers Grove began the study. It was only through a strong conceptual foundation and a strong recognition on the part of the County of the importance of this program that financial support was received. Ms. Kutzmark said they obtained those dollars in the past year. She wanted to underscore the work done by communities, including Downers Grove, before the funds materialized. To have the money offered on the strength of a concept is important, and she encouraged the Council to think of the next steps.
Commissioner Neustadt said that the residents of Downers Grove stepped up to give the Council a good report as Task Force members. He agrees with staff’s recommendation at this point. He would like to look at the in-town routes beyond the commuter shuttle with the buses that the Village has. However, he can’t justify spending extra dollars at this time. This was a great work product on the part of the Task Force.
Commissioner Schnell also thanked the Task Force, especially for the work done on the cost analysis. She said the Village has finally got the deficit for its own shuttle service under control. The figures in the report from the Task Force are troubling. She understands that the grant money is available the first year, but not beyond that. The Commissioner said that the Village does not have the extra funds. The concept is good, but the timing is not appropriate. She reviewed the financial analysis again, saying she feels it is wrong to use our tax dollars to go to eat and shop in Lombard. There are opportunities to use Village buses outside the normal shuttle hours, and she would like to explore this further. She is not against the concept, but the program is very highly subsidized by the Village. She thinks they should look at this again another time.
Commissioner Waldack thanked the Task Force for their hard work as well. It was not the Task Force that was recommending or not recommending – they were neutral in this and looked at implementing the system. It is staff’s recommendation that the Village not implement the Local Circulator at this time.
Commissioner Waldack said he has a problem with the approach we take to public transportation in that we seem to compartmentalize what we have. Shuttle service, circulator service and reverse commuting have all been talked about separately in the minutes of the Task Force. Different groups study our three systems. The Transportation and Parking Commission (TAP) wanted to study the commuter shuttle but was told it was not on their agenda. There is also the Circulator Task Force and a one-man task force in the EDC regarding reverse commuting. There is a possibility of having 90 people riding the bus on a reverse commute. The yearly deficit for the shuttle is $48,000. If the reverse commute was established, he thinks the Village shuttle service would break even.
The numbers included in the Task Force’s cost analysis represent a best guess of consultants. He didn’t see the Village’s experience in the numbers reported. Funding for the Circulator Study is not in the FY09 budget, but the funding required would not be strictly for 2009. If this were started in September, the cost would run approximately $5,800 per month, or $23,200. A large amount of administrative work has to be done before this can begin. He thinks it probably would not start until 2010. He doesn’t think we need to spend $15,000 for advertising. Capital expenses of $135,000 for bus stops are not necessary. There are already stops at the hospital and train station. Shelters would not have to be built unless there are passengers, so those expenses could be put off until there has been more experience in the program.
The Commuter Shuttle is running at a $48,000 deficit, which is less than expected. If the systems were coordinated and combined, he thinks the operating expenses could be subsidized and the deficit could be lowered. The commuter shuttle and reverse commuter system could reduce the deficit. If combined with the Circulator Study, some of the operating expenses of the shuttle could be subsidized as much as 87.5%. For every dollar spent, $.875 comes back from taxpayer dollars going to the County, the federal government and to the RTA . We can decide if those dollars come back to us or we can give it to our competition. We have to be able to look to the future, at where people are and how to get them where they need to be. The American Public Transit Association has found that for every $1.00 spent on transportation, you get $6 in economic activity back. He asked whether the Village wanted to generate activity here or see it go elsewhere. The Village’s competition could get about $600,000 in grant money. He noted that each spot in a garage costs $30,000 or $4.5 million for 150 cars. Paratransit systems are substantially more costly than public transportation. They could reduce congestion with a transportation system.
Commissioner Beckman extended his thanks to those who participated in the Task Force. He supports the concept of the circulator system, however is concerned about the data and whether it has been evaluated sufficiently and accurately portrays the deficits. He asked staff about the figures provided. The first year’s revenue projections are $79,000. He understands marketing, and it is going to take a considerable amount of money to ramp up the program. In reality they are probably looking at significantly higher costs in the earlier years, with no guarantee of subsidies in future years. He likes the idea of looking at this as part of Strategic Planning. He then asked if this is not approved, would the Village lose the opportunity to use those funds.
The Manager said he was unsure, but would discuss it with DMMC and provide an answer next week.
Commissioner Beckman continued that it is difficult for him to support this endeavor. He believes in public transportation but he also thinks the uncertainty of continued revenue is a reason to say “look at this another day.”
Commissioner Tully noted that the motion before the Council is to accept the findings of the Task Force. He thanked the members for their work. There is no motion on the floor to implement anything. He thinks the concept is a great idea, and many were in favor of exploring this, understanding that it was to be at no cost to the Village. He agrees that they should always look for creative ideas, and the work product in this case will be used down the road. He noted, however, that in this environment they are struggling to figure out how to provide existing services. This would be an out-of-pocket expense. The Village has an obligation to focus on its existing services and how to continue with reduced funding sources. He does not think it prudent to support this at this time. He is in favor of supporting the findings, but would not support commitment of dollars.
Commissioner Durkin said that this is a futuristic wish, however, they only have so much money. He comes from a community where this was tried and it was not successful. He believes that the average homeowner has two cars. He noted that Oak Brook is not going to participate. The Village’s shuttle service presently operates at a deficit, and he thinks it is premature to start looking at this.
Mayor Sandack said that the Village received a good work product. The financial figures were the most difficult to plug in with so many uncertainties. When this first came to the Council there was no funding for the concept. He referenced the state of the current economy and the struggle to find funds to continue existing services. He concurs with the staff recommendation. There are simply too many unknowns. A local match is unknown but would be expected. He wishes the concept could be better developed. Commissioner Waldack is a passionate advocate for public transportation and the Mayor said he respects that. The Task Force study ought to be accepted but not implemented at this time. He thanked the Task Force for their work.
The Manager said that staff’s intent is to let the other communities know where the Village stands so the motion may be re-worked to clarify staff’s position.
Commissioner Tully noted that there was never a guarantee that the Village was obligated to commit dollars to this project. The Village did commit staff and citizens’ time.
2. Consent Agenda Items
Amendments to Village Council Policy: Appointments to Boards and Commissions. The Manager said this amendment was reviewed and discussed by the Finance and Administrative Standing Committee. It adds clarity to staff and Council roles in terms of timelines and deadlines. It also discourages appointments during election periods, unless special circumstances exist. Staff will renew its efforts to provide information to Council with respect to appointments Board and Commissions.
Commissioner Waldack said he is the Chair of the Finance and Administrative Standing Committee, and he is disappointed that the draft minutes of their meeting are not in the green sheets so Council members do not really know the discussion that took place. The green sheet is somewhat misleading because the Council asked that the Finance and Administrative Standing Committee look at this, but the impression from the green sheets is that staff was asked to create a policy for the Committee to review. That was not the case. Staff decided on their own to prepare a policy, do all the homework, and give it to the Committee for their consideration. It was not a working committee. Commissioner Schnell was present at the meeting. One of the reasons this was forwarded to the Committee was because of a previous practice or policy not to appoint members during a campaign period. Commissioner Schnell was happy with the wording of the proposed policy. Commissioner Durkin was prepared to make a Motion to approve the policy within the first five or ten minutes. There is nothing wrong with that because the policy is there, but what is lacking is that there are no minutes and for future discussion there is no legislative intent. There is no record of legislative intent as to what was meant by this policy. He feels the legislative intent is missing when you have a staff that is presenting and doing all the work and you do not have a working committee. This is something the Committee should have discussed. He voted to recommend the wording of this policy because he felt the Council should look at this and decide on their own, not necessarily because he was in favor of it. He said that one of the caveats he had with the policy is that as long as there is the current liaison system, this policy made sense. Without liaisons and with a different system of appointments that could be changed at any time by any future Mayor for any reason, he is not sure this would be a good policy. He said that in the minutes of the meeting he brought up three items of new business and asked that the Council members get back to him with their thoughts. Several did, others did not. He assumes those ideas will fall by the wayside unless Council decides differently.
Commissioner Schnell said she supports the wording in the resolution. It puts the onus on the Council. She suggested that if the materials forwarded to the Council were more succinct it might make the Council’s job easier.
Commissioner Tully said he saw no reason for the Manager to apologize as this has never been a staff problem. It is a Council issue. Regarding legislative intent, he said that is what happens at the Council level. The Standing Committee makes a recommendation. Commissioner Tully stated he made a suggestion to review this based on timing and appointments made during the period leading up to an election. With regard to language, he asked that the language be prepared and discussed by the Finance Committee. He said that he is fine with the language presented. With regard to new business, Commissioner Tully said when you are trying to bring something forward, you try to reach out to others; however, any Council member can bring up an issue under New Business.
The Mayor stated that this is a process driven organization, and this will clear up the process. It was driven by necessity and there is nothing untoward or sinister about it. The language does the two things the Council wanted accomplished.
Heritage Festival Friday Night Benefit Concert Vendor . The Manager said this is to authorize the execution of an agreement with the Downers Grove Heritage Preservation Corporation (DGHPC) for the Friday Night Benefit Concert as part of the 2009 Heritage Festival. Staff developed and distributed a competitive Request for Proposal to prospective vendors to conduct the Friday Night Benefit Concert. The Downers Grove Heritage Preservation Corporation was the only vendor to respond. The Community Events Commission unanimously recommended that the Village partner with the DGHPC as it has the ability, necessary staffing and supporting volunteers to handle the duties involved in the coordination, planning and operation of the Friday Night Benefit Concert. The Concert will be held on Friday, June 27, 2009 in the beer garden. There will be a $5.00 cover charge and proceeds will be split 60% for the Village and 40% to the DGHPC .
Commissioner Beckman said he has no problem with the proposed vendor. He asked as to the screening to be done by the DGHPC before allowing people into the Beer Garden. The Manager responded that staff will do the training and all the screeners will be over 21.
Commissioner Schnell asked for clarification that DGHPC will get the ticket sales split, but the Rotary Club will get the split from the beer sales. The Manager confirmed that.
Heritage Festival Tent Rental Vendor Agreement. The Manager said this is to authorize a second addendum to an agreement with Chicago Party Rental to provide tent rental and associated equipment at the 2009 Heritage Festival in an amount of $31,304. This represents the second of two possible renewals to the tent rental contract. Chicago Party Rental has agreed to hold their pricing for 2009 at 2008 levels.
Verizon Wireless Internet Cards Agreement. The Manager said this is to authorize approval of an agreement with Verizon Inc for wireless internet cards. These cards are used by public safety personnel to remotely access programs on the Village’s computer network such as the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System as well as other reporting programs. The Village currently has an arrangement with Verizon, but the proposed agreement via a federal contract will reduce the monthly cost and will result in a monthly savings of $510.00 or $6.120 annually. This is a product of the innovation team.
2009 Motor Fuel Tax Resolution. The Manager said a resolution has been prepared appropriating $2,190,000 of Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds for 2009. This is an annual roadway maintenance contract and is the first step in fulfilling Illinois Department of Transportation requirements for the use of MFT funds.
Authorization to Request Road Salt from State Contract. The Manager said this is to authorize the Village Manager to request that the State of Illinois include the purchase of 4,200 tons of road salt by the Village during the 2009-10 winter season for snow and ice control via the State contract. This is not a bid, but establishes our participation in the State contract. The amount of salt requested for 2009-10 is lower than in previous years due to improvement being made to the type of de-icing products resulting in a reduction in salt applications of 30% to 50%. The terms of the proposed contract will allow the Village to purchase as little as 80% (3,360 tons) or as much as 120% (5,040) tons of the requested allocation.
Change Order: Storm Sewer Replacement – Venard at Acorn (CIP Project SW-030). The Manager said this is to request authorization of a change order for the storm sewer replacement at Venard and Acorn in the amount of $34,435.18 to Everest Excavating of Gilberts, Illinois. The major items related to this change order include additional public utility work, curb and gutter removal and replacement, tie-in sump line connections, and landscaping. This project remains $227,000 under budget.
Change Order: Dunham Place Storm Sewer Improvements (CIP Project SW-032) . The Manager said this is to request authorization of a change order for the Dunham Place storm sewer improvements in the amount of $12,364.54 to Trine Construction of West Chicago, Illinois. The major items related to this change order include charges for roadway pavement patching and detectable sidewalk warning signs for the project area. This project remains $474,000 under budget.
Pre-qualified List for FY09 Surveying Services. The Manager said this is to pre-qualify a list of three firms to conduct surveying services associated with the Village’s Sidewalk Priority Matrix. A Statement of Qualifications was issued on January 23, 2009 for topographic survey services for street segments listed in the Village’s proposed 2010 Sidewalk Priority Matrix. Design work is proposed for 2009 with construction in 2010. At total of 37 firms responded to the request. Staff recommends that three firms – Midwest Technical Consultants, Inc., Professional Land Surveyors, and Intech Consultants, Inc. be pre-approved and contracted to perform survey work related to the sidewalk program as well as the preparation of easements and legal descriptions. Prior to requesting proposals for this work, staff will perform a workload evaluation of in-house staff to determine whether the work may be conducted by internal staff.
MANAGER ’S REPORT
The Manager announced that the Village received notice that the CDBG grant request for Prentiss Creek Neighborhood Resource Center was approved for just over $14,000.
The Manager then commented on the FY09 budget implementation process, noting challenges that are being encountered. He said they would also discuss responses to the challenges and some long-term challenges.
Staff anticipated the slowing economy in its preparation of the FY09 budget and reduced expenses to the 2007 level. The revenue anticipated was also reduced based on the economy. He explained the basis for staff’s responses, pointing out that the Strategic Plan guides the decisions. Staff wants to minimize service delivery impacts. He explained that the Council makes the policy decisions, while the Manager makes implementation decisions and short-term and tactical decisions. The information he is providing concerns implementation decisions.
The Manager then discussed the General Fund revenue that comes from several sources. Property taxes account for only about 22% of the budgeted revenue, and are the only predictable source of revenue. He reviewed the general fund revenue shortfall of $2 million. Sales tax is $1.25 million less than expected. Building permit fees are down $325,000 to $600,000. Interest income is also down about $200,000.
The Manager noted that staff is attempting various expense reductions with a target of $1.5 million. Most reductions relate to personnel in the form of salary freezes, benefit cuts, overtime reductions through operational efficiencies, and voluntary, unpaid furlough days. These have been positively received by employees. He said that the administration is still actively considering lay-offs. Further, staff is working with the collective bargaining units. In addition, there are anticipated changes in the fleet with a reduction of four vehicles. Additional reductions are proposed in staff training, suspension of the tuition reimbursement program through the balance of this year, contractual service reductions, extension of computer cycle replacement, and transfers and reallocations among funds, where applicable. Revenue enhancements include keeping sales tax rebates where agreement terms with respect to performance standards were not met. This is anticipated to result in revenue enhancements of $500,000.
The Manager noted that the FY07 budget had revenues of $41 million, FY08 was $41.3 million. This year $41.58 million was budgeted and revised to $39.58 million. Expenses have gone down every year since 2007. He noted that discussion of going into the reserve fund is a Council policy matter and staff will do everything possible to avoid going into reserves.
The Manager said the Capital Fund, used only for capital projects, would also be affected. The major funding resources are the $.50 Home Rule Sales Tax and .5% telecommunications tax. This fund has restricted sources and he expects a shortfall in this fund. The Manager noted that it is important to move forward with infrastructure projects. However, it is expected that Home Rule Sales Tax will drop by about $700,000. Responses to this shortfall include deferring five projects, using the facility planning funds for capital projects and using Fire Station 2 bond proceeds of about $95,000.
The Downtown TIF Fund may be impacted next year. Property values and revenue may be flat or decline. The major revenue source in this fund is generated by property taxes within this district. He indicated there might be a shortfall of $260,000 for debt service payments. Staff is looking to cutback on some expenses and has met with the Downtown Management Corporation.
Long-term planning will include a reevaluation of Village services, how those services are delivered, and the revenue sources and mix.
The Mayor noted that staff has continually adjusted expenses and budgets and has demonstrated vigilance. He said that this economy is unlike anything he has ever experienced. The Village is getting good information from staff. Staff implements and the Council sets the policy. Long-term financial planning discussions are forthcoming. He encouraged people to educate themselves and to review monthly statistical reports.
Commissioner Beckman agreed that staff has been reinforcing the need to fulfill expectations of the highest priorities of the Strategic Plan. There will be changes, but he is impressed with how well this has been handled by staff. He noted the closure of two major retailers, and asked whether those losses have been factored in. The Manager responded that they have been factored in. Staff is reasonably confident that the sales tax figure is accurate.
Commissioner Schnell said that the $2 million shortfall is based on modeling program developed by staff. She asked if they feel it is accurate. The Manager responded that they do, however, it is monitored daily. Tom Dabareiner has put together the model.
Commissioner Schnell then thanked all staff for their support. The Manager said that informational meetings have been held with staff, and staff’s participation has been outstanding.
Commissioner Durkin commented on the participation of the employees with respect to furlough days, saying that staff’s awareness and willingness is remarkable. He hopes all contracted employees will look at this in the same light as other employees.
The Mayor said that they have not yet had to dip into the reserves, which makes the Village unique. Staff has stepped up and he is sure they will continue to do so.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting seven items to the Council: 1) A resolution establishing an amended Village Council policy regarding appointments to Boards and Commissions; 2) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Downers Grove Heritage Preservation Corporation; 3) A resolution authorizing a second addendum to the contract between the Village of Downers Grove and Classic Party Rentals (f/k/a Chicago Party Rental); 4) An ordinance providing for the issuance of general obligation refunding bonds, series 2009, of the Village of Downers Grove, DuPage County, Illinois, authorizing the execution of a bond order and an escrow agreement in connection therewith, providing for the levy and collection of a direct annual tax for the payment of the principal of and interest on said bonds and furthering securing certain of said bonds with a pledge of certain incremental taxes; 5) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Verizon Inc.; 6) A resolution for maintenance of streets and highways by municipality under the Illinois Highway Code; and 7) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the County of DuPage and the Village of Downers Grove (Prentiss Creek Resource Center).
Bill Wrobel , 7800 Queens Court, suggested that the Manager do an “At Your Service” presentation regarding the budget in the Village Corner so people know what this Village is doing. It would serve the community well.
Frank Falesch , 820 Prairie, thanked the Manager and staff for the great job they are doing. He commented on TCD3 saying one of the main projects is tree preservation. He noted that about 20 mature trees will be cut down on Prairie with the stormwater retention project, and he asked that more care be given to preservation. He also referenced a retention pond which was practically dry after all the rains. Across the street from it, on the northeast corner of Prairie and Washington, property was flooded due to improper drainage where a new house was built.
Mayor Sandack responded that the current condition of Washington Park is going to change for the greater good, although some trees will have to go. This is a joint venture and will serve as a detention for the area. He said there would be a dramatic difference. There are 15 high priority areas in the Village to address regarding stormwater. It will provide significantly better situations, but will not address all areas.
Mayor Sandack commented on the federal stimulus package and the Village’s shovel ready construction projects. The Capital Fund projects are long overdue and may not be addressed due to the shortfall. He discussed with the Manager re-engaging the lobbyist who was used in the Belmont underpass project. He said in 2007 the Village invested $36,000 in a lobbyist and got $56 million in return. With respect to the stimulus package, some money will be funded out of Washington, and some will come out of Springfield. He said that the Village needs a way to get in contact with those who will be responsible for funding the projects. He would like to re-engage the lobbyist to get additional dollars. The Village needs access to the right people, especially since there are projects ready to go. The Mayor specifically pointed out that there is no guarantee that this will work, but he believes that this is necessary. He has discussed this with his colleagues and asked that this be placed on the March 24 Agenda.
Commissioner Tully said he appreciates the innovativeness and creativity shown. This is about spending a reasonable amount of money to get funding for projects that the Village will not otherwise be able to complete. We know there are dollars and there is competition for those dollars. He believes it is a reasonable investment with a potentially large return.
Commissioner Beckman said he concurs with the comments made. There will be a lot of competition for these funds. The lobbyist is highly professional. One of the criterion is that there be spade ready projects, and the Village has those. He believed it is worth taking the risk.
Commissioner Schnell commented that the Village has several shovel ready projects and what will distinguish the Village’s projects from others is a lobbyist. He was able to sell the Belmont underpass.
Village Attorney Petrarca said she would have an agreement ready for the next Workshop.
Commissioner Durkin said he also supports this, not simply because of the success of the Belmont underpass projects. The lobbyist was able to open doors. There is economic development happening in this Village and the Village needs to continue pushing for its fair share of the pie.
Commissioner Neustadt supports it reluctantly because of the risk, but he sees that it does open doors.
Commissioner Durkin commented on the recent issue of West Suburban Living magazine. They conducted a Best of the West survey. He shared the highlights, saying that out of 77 categories considered the best, 24 of those were won by Downers Grove establishments. He mentioned some of the businesses that ranked as best in the Village. He was pleased that Downers Grove rated so high even in tough times. He submitted his copy of the magazine for the record.
Commissioner Beckman thanked everyone who participated in the mini-golf event for the Public Library Foundation on Sunday. He and his wife sponsored the 12th hole. It was a very enjoyable event, and the Library Foundation made money. He also noted that a former neighbor of his and a former resident of Downers Grove – Denise Richards –is on Dancing with the Stars this season and he urged people to watch.
Commissioner Tully thanked people for attending the TCD3 meeting. More meetings are scheduled for the future. He added his appreciation to those who worked to persuade DeVry to make Downers Grove their new home. He is glad to be able to call DeVry one of the Village’s corporate citizens. This underscores the Village’s commitment to the EDC . The Village is a major funding source for the EDC and has seen a huge return on its investment.
Commissioner Neustadt thanked residents and staff for their help in clearing out grates. He asked motorists to use caution when they see personnel in the street working. The Commissioner mentioned that District 58’s Legislative Committee Breakfast was a great success, with local legislators in attendance.
Commissioner Waldack also thanked residents for attending the TCD3 . He would like to see more participation and urged people to attend future meetings. They can still take the surveys.
Commissioner Schnell commented that the Library Foundation fundraiser was a great event with great participation. She thanked Every Day’s a Sundae for providing the ice cream.
The Mayor said he attended the District 58 Legislative Breakfast. Our legislators have received his letters regarding the Village’s shovel ready projects. The legislators care about our community. He noted that the Chamber President is in Springfield now, and the he will join them tomorrow with the Village Manager and Deputy Village Manager.
The Mayor thanked people for attending the TCD3 kick-off meeting. There were 750 surveys received before the meeting. He hopes people will avail themselves of the opportunity to participate in this project.
Mayor Sandack then stressed that the DeVry project was a great collaborative effort. Greg Bedalov and his staff were relentless in their pursuit of DeVry. Staff participated in numerous ways as well. It was a competitive environment. The Village had significant help from Representative Roskam’s office; Senator Cronin; County Board Chairman Schillerstrom and his staff; and County Board members Reddick, Sheahan, and Curran. Mayor Sandack said this is evidence that if the Village deploys its assets, works hard and shows good faith, things get done. It was a great win. It brings employees and economic development to Downers Grove.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 9:36 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh