Skip to main content

December 08, 2009

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 asked the Cub Scouts from Pack 80 to help lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

Present:Mayor Ron Sandack; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, William Waldack, Sean P. Durkin, Geoff Neustadt, Bruce Beckman, Bob Barnett; Village Manager Dave Fieldman; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden


Visitors: Residents: Wesley Upton, 5203 Fairview; Marge Earl, 4720 Florence; Catherine Loney, GCG ; Bill Wrobel, DG Watch, 7800 Queens Court; Frank Falesch, DG Watch, 820 Prairie; Alice Cagney, Cub Scout Pack 80, 4121 Longmeadow; Victor Benoit, 132 Tower Road Staff: Mike Baker, Deputy Village Manager; Kurt Bluder, Deputy Police Chief; Brandon Dieter, Management Analyst; Doug Kozlowski, Director, Communications; Wes Morgan, Director, Human Resources; Nan Newlon, Director, Public Work; Mary Weisenburn, Benefits Coordinator, 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.


Public Hearing – 2009 Aggregate Tax Levy and Abatements.

Mayor Sandack called the public hearing to order at 7:02 p.m. pursuant to the Illinois Truth in Taxation Law to consider the proposed 2009 tax levy of the Village of Downers Grove. Notice of this hearing was published in the Downers Grove Reporter and a copy of the notice and proof of publication have been presented and are made a part of the official record of this hearing.

He summarized the procedures to be followed for the public hearing.

Village Manager Dave Fieldman asked Deputy Village Manager Mike Baker to present a summary of the 2009 tax levy.

Deputy Village Manager Mike Baker described the extensive public process the Village has gone through culminating in the tax levy, which will be presented next week for approval. The total levy amounts to $25.5 million, including all components of the Village and Library that apply to property Village-wide. The Village portion is approximately $20.9 million, and the Council will be asked to abate about $12.5 million of that amount. He explained that Special Service Area levies apply to very limited geographic areas within the Village. All information regarding the levy is available on the Village’s website.

Mayor Sandack said that the levy has been discussed as part of the Village’s budget process. An estimated tax levy has been passed. The net levy is roughly $25.5 million, including the Library, with abatements of $17.3 million.

There were no comments from the public.

Commissioner Durkin asked what the levies were for 2008. Mr. Baker said after the abatement, the amount was $11.1 million in 2008, and $12.4 million in 2009. With the Library, the amount was $15.6 million in 2008, and $17.1 million in 2009.

The Mayor asked that the comparison be placed on the website as well.

There being no further discussion, the public hearing was adjourned at 7:08 p.m.

Active Agenda and Informational Items

Adopted FY10 Municipal Budget Implementation Items . The Manager explained that there are three items related to the FY-10 budget for discussion: 1) Home Rule Sales Tax increase by ¼%; 2) Amend Chapter 2 regarding Community Grants; and 3) Taxi Subsidy.

Home Rule Sales Tax Increase

Mr. Fieldman stated that a Home Rule Sales Tax increase is proposed from ¾% to 1% effective July 1. This is expected to generate six months worth of revenue in the amount of $1 million to address pubic safety expenses, including police and fire.

Commissioner Schnell said that last year the Council received quarterly updates regarding the revenue stream. She asked if this would continue. Mr. Fieldman said the quarterly update will continue. He said there is a three-month lag time, so if this is implemented in July there will only be one quarterly update that will include this information by the end of the year.

Commissioner Beckman asked for figures of total sales taxes as compared to other DuPage communities. Mr. Fieldman said that staff can add that to the presentation and will coordinate it with Greg Bedalov, President of the EDC .

Amendment of Chapter 2 of the Municipal Code: Community Grants

Mr. Fieldman said that currently, the Municipal Code has a formula for determining funding for the Community Grants Program. That formula would be removed and the funding level would be left up to the direction of the Village Council.

Commissioner Schnell asked for clarification as to whether this is actually reverting back to the time when it was adjusted annually.

Village Attorney Enza Petrarca responded that the Commissioner’s understanding was correct. This gives the Council more discretion in addressing this annually.

Wes Upton asked about the taxes. He asked if a comparison was done from last year’s sales taxes as compared to the first month of this year to see if the actual sales tax is going to cause people to make their purchases out of town.

The Manager said that staff does track that information in the Village, region and nationally. The sales tax was down about 18% compared to last year. The projection of $1 million takes into consideration the downward trends. As for comparability and whether the sales tax will negatively affect the retail sales, staff found no direct correlation with retail sales activity. In some places they found increased sales in communities with higher sales taxes. The increase in Downers Grove should have no negative impact on sales activity.

The Manager said that Mr. Bedalov also has information in that regard.

Mayor Sandack said we do not want to drive sales out of the Village. The intent is to encourage people to keep sales tax local.

Taxi Subsidy

Mr. Fieldman said this modifies the Village’s policy regarding the taxi subsidy. Originally, there were three components: 1) change the subsidy rates; 2) limit the number of coupon purchases per month; and 3) propose an expiration date. After review, staff is now recommending two changes. The first is a reduction of the subsidy from 70% to 50%. Secondly, there is a recommended reduction in the number of coupons that can be purchased per month from 100 coupons per month to 60 coupons per month.

The Mayor said this is a reduction in the subsidy. He suggested a check, perhaps quarterly, to determine the impact.

Commissioner Schnell commented that some people indicated that 60 coupons per month is not enough for medical appointments. She asked if there is a way to capture documentation of that, and if so, is there a way to refer people to other services. Mr. Fieldman said that the Village does not currently maintain accurate records on destination, but they can get anecdotal information from the customers and refer them to other services. Commissioner Schnell asked, if it becomes apparent that a lot of seniors are having problems meeting the basics of life, that the staff review what other communities are doing and report out on this. She referred to a program in the past in which income levels were used to determine eligibility and would like to look at need based programs.

Commissioner Waldack said he has records of last October’s rides that Commissioner Schnell is welcome to review. It is a tremendous effort to track rides. Regarding income eligibility, this was looked at many years ago. It is staff intensive to track income and it is not always accurate. Regarding other programs, Lisle Township has a Ride DuPage Program. Downers Grove Township has a Dial-a-Ride Program, and York Township runs its own program.

Commissioner Schnell stated that if 60 coupons are not enough, she does not want people to be unable to get to their doctor appointments. She wants to know that so they can brainstorm ideas.

3. Consent Agenda Items

Employee Benefits Renewal Contracts and Medical Plan Amendments for FY2010 . The Manager said resolutions are being presented to authorize approval of employee benefits renewal contracts and plan amendments for 2010 as follows: Federal Insurance/CHUBB – Stop loss coverage for medical claims exceeding $125,000 in the amount of $375,289.00. Creative Care Management – Employee Assistance Program in the amount of $14,400.00. Delta Dental Plan of Illinois – Dental program claim administration in the amount of $18,000.00. TruAssure Insurance Company – Vision program claim administration in the amount of $43,300.00. Professional Benefit Administrators – Medical claim administration, America’s VEBA Solution/Genesis employee benefits, Voluntary employee benefits administration; Benescript, Inc. and prescription drug services in the combined amount of $141,000.00 Advocate Health Partners (Good Samaritan Hospital) – Discounts on medical services at no cost to the Village. Plan amendments for the Village of Downers Grove group health plans outlining 2009-2010 legislative changes and benefit modifications.

Mr. Fieldman said that this information is consistent with the approved FY10 budget and results in a savings of $450,000 to the General Fund.

Commissioner Waldack thanked staff for the information. The open enrollment deadline was December 1. The Council acts as stewards of the Village money and he wants to make sure that we attract appropriate employees and that the Village is competitively in line with other communities. The Commissioner suggested that next year the Finance and Administrative Committee participate in the review process to assure that the Village is on the right track. He said that this shows the policy and premiums, but no comparisons, and the Village doesn’t know what other communities and the private sector are doing. He noted that management looks at this from the bottom line. They don’t know how employees feel about the changes. He thinks the Council is rubber stamping this. He stated that this can be a Consent Agenda item, but he would like to see a member of the Council participate in the process earlier on.

Commissioner Beckman said that a lot of variables go into this process, and it would be helpful to the Council to further understand the process.

The Manager said they would be happy to share the staff-led process information. If there’s an opportunity to bring the Council in earlier next year, staff will do so.

The Mayor commented that they had consultants, in-house and outside assistance. This has gone through the market by way of that vetting process. It has been Workshopped, and he differs with the idea that they are rubber-stamping the issue. He sees no problem with getting it to the Finance and Administrative Committee first. He does not think they should substitute Council’s positioning with the staff and consultants’ process.

Commissioner Beckman said he agrees, but would still like to have a better understanding.

The Mayor suggested that a memo on the internal and external processes be provided.

Commissioner Schnell said that staff has always come to the Council with any major policy changes and, it has been vetted by the Council. She does not want to add another layer, but doesn’t have a problem with the Finance and Administrative Committee looking at this. There has been ample opportunity to ask questions. She indicated that there is a periodic review of the entire personnel package.

Commissioner Beckman responded that he brought this up in terms of awareness. He has full confidence in what staff is doing.

Class A Scavenger License . The Manager said staff is seeking authorization to issue a 2010 Class A scavenger license to Republic Services, Inc., as known as ARC Disposal and Recycling, Inc. The Municipal Code requires that the Village Council annually approve a Class A scavenger license for the Village’s designated contractual waste hauler. ARC Disposal and Recycling currently holds the Class A license and is under contract with the Village through March 30, 2011.

All other haulers that operate in the Village must obtain a Class B license, allowing them to provide services other than weekly single-family residential solid waste collection. These licenses require approval of the Village Manager following notification to the Village Council. The Manager reviewed the Class B scavenger applications and said they would be issued barring any objections by the Council.

Commissioner Beckman asked for clarification that this is a three-year agreement. The Manager said that the contract actually expires March 31, 2011, and the Village is in the second year. Commissioner Beckman asked when staff will begin the next RFP process. The Manager said staff has already begun work on this and will come to the Council in a few months regarding the attributes of the next RFP so it can go forward in the summer.

Commissioner Durkin asked if there are extensions on the contract with ARC . The Manager said he would check that information. Mr. Baker said there are provisions in the contract that allow for an extension at the discretion of the Village Council.

Commissioner Schnell said that there have been issues brought up by the public, such as recycling. If residents have specific questions, concerns or ideas, she thought it would be good to put something in the Village Corner or the website soliciting ideas that might enhance the program. Mr. Baker agreed with her suggestion.

In response to Commissioner Waldack, Mr. Baker said this is an annual process. Commissioner Waldack asked whether it would make more sense to have a three-year license. Village Attorney Petrarca said that the Ordinance is written for annual renewal, but they could look at changing this.

Commissioner Waldack asked when the stickers would be changed. Mr. Baker said that ARC is rebranding the sticker to reflect Republic Services, Inc.

Bid: Police Uniform and Equipment. The Manager said this is to request approval of a police equipment and police uniform contract with Ray O’Herron Company, Inc. of Lombard, IL. The contracts will be effective from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. An RFP was prepared and Ray O’Herron was the only company to submit a bid on the equipment contract. Two bids were received for the uniform contract and Ray O’Herron was the lowest overall bid.

Bid: Water System Security Enhancements – Phase 1 (Project WP-008). The Manager said staff recommends a contract be awarded to Classic Fence of Oswego, IL, in the amount of $134,083.63 for the water systems security enhancements project. This is a recommendation in response to the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act which mandated water system vulnerability assessments for public water supplies. Security fencing is proposed for installation at the water towers at Finley, Highland, Maple, McCollum Park and Rate Control Station #3 at Summit and Park. This was competitively bid and Classic Fence is the low bidder.

The Manager said this is Phase 1 of a multi-year plan to improve security at water towers. The net cost to the Village would be just over $99,000.

Commissioner Schnell commented that some of the water towers have trees surrounding them. She said that she recalls an agreement made years ago to keep the trees as a buffer to protect views and as a buffer between parking lots, Lyman Woods and other areas.

Ms. Newlon said that some trees are being removed as there are no alternate sites for fencing at some locations. In terms of screening and Lyman Woods, the water tower is next to a parking lot and it is not on the side of Lyman Woods. On Maple, the trees to be removed will be replaced by a slatted fence. They are removing trees that are not in good condition. Along Highland Avenue, they will be removing some trees on the north side, and will be preserving the better trees. She added that letters will be sent to adjacent property owners about the program.

Bid: Wallbank Avenue Drainage Improvements. The Manager said staff recommends a contract be awarded to Naperville Excavating Co. in the amount of $322,193.00 for the Wallbank Avenue drainage improvements. This is part of the FY10 planned projects in St. Joseph North, Subwatershed C to help alleviate stormwater flooding and improve the stormwater infrastructure at the intersection of Warren Avenue and Wallbank Avenue. This was competitively bid and Naperville Excavating Company is the low bidder.


Mr. Fieldman said that this is the last scheduled Workshop for 2009. There will be no meeting on December 22. The last Council meeting is scheduled for December 15, and the next meeting is scheduled for January 5, 2010.

Ms. Newlon reminded everyone that snow removal operations come under the Village’s Snow Removal and Ice Control policy, which provides an organized response and a uniformed standard of maintenance. There is a hierarchy of streets, with Priority 1 and 2 streets being the more heavily traveled. Snow and ice control is provided on downtown sidewalks and platforms within 8 hours of an event. There are 170 center-line miles of Village-maintained roads, in addition to County and State roads. There is no parking on Village Streets between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. when there is more than 3” of snow. People are reminded to clear sidewalks and fire hydrants, and she encouraged people to give themselves more time when traveling.

Ms. Newlon then discussed a Change Order that is coming for McCollum Park regarding the playing area. This will be brought forward next week.

Mayor Sandack reminded everyone that the Village’s ice and snow removal policy is on the website in the Public Works section.

Commissioner Durkin asked why and how this McCollum Park item was misbid. He doesn’t understand how that occurred. Ms. Newlon said a bid is a unit price bid. An assumption was made that there was suitable material there. Commissioner Durkin asked who made the assumption because he is tired of doing these overruns. There were people who were not pleased with the Village going with Naperville. Mr. Fieldman said staff will provide the information requested.


Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting 16 items to the Council: 1) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Chubb Group of Insurance Companies; 2) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement and addendum agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Creative Care Management, Ltd.; 3) A resolution authorizing execution of an addendum to an administrative services contract between the Village of Downers Grove and Delta Dental of Illinois; 4) A resolution authorizing execution of an addendum to the group vision contract between the Village of Downers Grove and Tru Assure; 5) A resolution authorizing execution of an addendum to an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Professional Benefit Administrators, Inc.; 6) A resolution authorizing execution of an addendum to an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Genesis Employee Benefits, Inc. d/b/a America’s VEBA Solution; 7) A resolution authorizing execution of an employer enrollment agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Benescript, Inc.; 8) A resolution authorizing execution of plan amendments to the Village of Downers Grove group health plan; 9) A resolution authorizing execution of a letter of extension between the Village of Downers Grove and Advocate Health Partners; 10) Ordinances abating a portion of the 2009 tax levy related to the General Obligation Bonds, Series 2000, Series 2001, Series 2002, Series 2005, Series 2007, Series 2008A, Series 2008B, Series 2009; and General Obligation Water Bonds, Series 2001A; 11) 2009 Aggregate Tax Levy Ordinance; 12) An ordinance for the levying of taxes for the fiscal year commencing on the first day of January 2009 and ending on the thirty-first day of December 2009 for Village of Downers Grove Special Service Area #2 Downers Grove Downtown Service Area); 13) An ordinance for the levying of taxes for the fiscal year commencing on the first day of January 2009 and ending on the thirty-first day of December 2009 for Village of Downers Grove Special Service Area #3; 14) An ordinance amending the Home Rule Municipal Retailers Occupation Tax; 15) A resolution amending the taxi fare subsidy program for senior citizens and persons with disabilities; and 16) An ordinance amending Community Grants funding.


Bill Wrobel , 7800 Queens Court, commented that Downers Grove Watch had a campaign last year to alert merchants on Ogden Avenue to abide by the Village Ordinance requiring disposal of driveway snow properly and not blocking use of the sidewalks with piled snow. The Downers Grove Watch website shows examples of how the Ordinance was abused. Mr. Wrobel said that they are advocating compliance again this year within the Village. Public safety warrants everyone’s cooperation. He asked that the Village do what it can to assure that the Ordinance requirements are met.


Commissioner Neustadt said that since the Village’s budget is adopted the Community Grants Commission members will no longer be used in that capacity. He said he enjoyed working with this Commission and thanked all of the members for their long-time contributions and their service to the Village, hoping they would be willing to work with the Village in other ways.

The Mayor said that the Village has challenges in 2010 and will be looking for volunteer partnerships. The sum makes up our community. It will be a big challenge.

There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 7:59 p.m.

April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh/