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 Bob Barnett, Commissioner William Waldack, Commissioner Sean P. Durkin, Commissioner Bruce E. Beckman, Commissioner Geoff Neustadt and Mayor Ron Sandack Absent: Village Attorney Enza Petrarca Non Voting: Village Manager David Fieldman, Village Clerk April Holden and Staff Attorney Beth Clark Mayor Sandack explained that there has been a change in the manner in which meetings will be held in the coming months. Tonight’s meeting is the first meeting implementing that change.
3. Minutes of Workshop and Council Meetings
Council Meeting – December 15, 2009 Commissioner Waldack said he submitted a minor correction to the minutes to the Clerk. Mayor Sandack said the minutes would be filed as corrected.
1. Mark Thoman, 1109 61st Street, said he represented the Downers Grove Coalition for Managed Redevelopment (DGCMR), one of the eight groups invited by staff to participate in the TCD3 process. He said that they have read the report prepared by staff and commended staff for reaching out to interested organizations during the TCD3 process. He explained the goals of the DGCMR , stating they are willing to work with staff regarding implementation of TCD3 . He commented that he likes the new meeting format.
2. H.T. Mitchell of the Curtiss Condominium 1 Association, said he was present to comment on TCD3 . He commended the Council and staff for the process which was open and participatory. He said the report was good. He proposed a network be established especially for condominium associations in the Village to implement a principal recommendation of TCD3 to establish neighborhood units or associations. This condo network would be a virtual noncontiguous neighborhood of common interests and common needs and would represent a growing segment of homeowners. He emphasized the common interests and needs philosophy. Condominium owners share some, but not all, of the interests of single-family homeowners. For example, they follow more stringent fire codes, state-mandated elevator codes and are not able to participate in the Village’s solid waste contract. The condo network would serve stated objectives of TCD3 . Mr. Mitchell said that the Village Manager was quoted in the newspaper regarding customer service. The Village Manager and Human Service Commission could help by initiating the network for condo associations. He thinks this is a reasonable proposal and cost effective while benefiting residents of condominiums and the neighbors around them.
The Mayor said it would be considered.
3. Tom LeCren, 545 Chicago Avenue, extended wishes to everyone for a Happy New Year. He asked how the Village can measure the job they are doing. He commented on the CRC saying it is one-on-one and time consuming. He suggested a need for a search capability through CRC , without having to bother staff. He thinks the new format is an excellent idea and hopes it will work. In regards to CRC , his own experiences have been mixed. He has had responses when he contacts the Director of a Department. Mr. LeCren urged the Council to review the budget process, suggesting that the Manager could initiate the process.
4. Ken Lerner, 4933 Whiffen Place, said he represents the Pierce Downer Heritage Alliance (PDHA), saying they submitted comments to the TCD3 process. With regards to energy conservation, they hoped the Village would continue searching out methods of conservation. He added that the PDHA appreciates the Village’s support for natural areas and hopes that it continues through a proactive approach for historic preservation and maintenance of the tree canopy.
6. Consent Agenda
COR00 -04003 A. Claim Ordinance: No. 5827, Payroll, December 18, 2009 Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
BIL00 -04004 B. List of Bills Payable: No. 5800, January 5, 2010 Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
MOT00 -04007 C. Motion: Note Receipt of Minutes of Boards and Commissions Summary of Item: Library Board – November 11, 2009 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 Schnell, seconded by Commissioner Barnett, that the consent agenda be passed. The motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Beckman, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Sandack
7. Active Agenda
Manager Fieldman explained that the “First Reading” is similar to the Workshop portion of the meeting. He reviewed the items.
BID00 -04005 C. Bid: Award $378,825.00 to Homer Tree Care, Inc. for Tree and Stump Removal Services Sponsors: Public Works Summary of Item: This awards a three-year contract for tree and stump removal services to Homer Tree Care, Inc. in the amount of $378,825.00. Dave Fieldman, Village Manager, said staff recommends awarding a three-year contract for tree and stump removal services to Homer Tree Care, Inc., of Lockport, IL, in the amount of $378,825.00. It is a multi-year contract designed to take advantage of the current environment for bids. The approved FY10 budget is $180,000 and the charge for FY10 will be $126,275.00. This contract was bid competitively with nine responses. The Village has a long satisfactory history with Homer Tree Care who was the lowest responsible bidder. Staff recommends placing this on next week’s Consent Agenda.
Commissioner Beckman asked whether the Village has prebid conferences for bids of this nature.
Public Works Director Nan Newlon said that staff had a prebid conference. Bidders were well aware of the written requirements. Commissioner Beckman then asked if this three-year commitment is for three one-year contracts. Ms. Newlon said it is a three-year contract renewable each year, and it can be terminated at any time for any reason.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the components of this contract, and the next one. Ms. Newlon responded that there are no additional components. The savings shown are true savings. This contract is for tree and stump removal. The next is for pruning.
Commissioner Waldack thanked Public Works and Kerstin for the report card. It is the best he has seen so far. He said there will be another contract for emergency pruning, and thought that at some future time emergency pruning would be incorporated into this contract. Ms. Newlon said that the question was the efficiency in combining these contracts together. That is something that staff might consider in the future. Commissioner Waldack asked about the third contract for demand emergency pruning. Ms. Newlon said they could look at combining the three. One of the benefits of having two separate contracts is that it provides more manpower if an emergency should occur. Commissioner Waldack then asked for clarification that the tree and stump removal is looking at the same number of trees each year, which Ms. Newlon confirmed. Commissioner Waldack suggested that the Environmental Concerns Committee look at the tree canopy as a whole, with plantings, removal, maturity, etc. He also referenced the switch from an eight-year to a five-year plan. He would rather have this referred to the ECC instead of having Public Services discuss this occasionally. Indexes: Tree and Stump Removal
BID00 -04006 D. Bid: Award $259,806.00 to D. Ryan Tree & Landscape, LLC for Parkway Tree Pruning Services Sponsors: Public Works Summary of Item: This awards a three-year contract for parkway tree pruning services to D. Ryan Tree & Lanscape, LLC in the amount of $259,806.00. The Manager said staff recommends a three-year contract be awarded to D. Ryan Tree & Landscape LLC in the amount of $259,806.00 for parkway tree pruning services. This is a three-year contract for $130,000 in the FY10 budget. Ten bids were received and D. Ryan was the low responsive bidder. They have provided satisfactory services to the Village in the past.
Commissioner Neustadt commented that last year there were a few incidents where the street was not immediately cleaned after pruning. He asked that they be reminded to clean.
Commissioner Durkin noted that this is a $43,000 savings to the Village for FY 10 . He asked whether the Village is on track for a 5-year tree trimming cycle, and Ms. Newlon said they were on track. Commissioner Durkin then asked if there would be a benefit to do more with savings to maintain the 5-year goal. Ms. Newlon responded that we are now at a level where she believes they can maintain the cycle, but will check that with Kerstin. Commissioner Durkin commended the staff for the 3-year contracts.
Commissioner Schnell said it was great that bids are coming in lower, but she advised caution in spending the savings. Indexes: Tree Pruning
ORD00 -04008 A. Ordinance: Amend Council Meeting Proceedings Sponsors: Manager’s Office Summary of Item: This amends Village Council meeting procedures.
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING COUNCIL MEETING PROCEDURES
ORDINANCE NO . Mr. Fieldman explained that this and the next item represent changes in the Village Council meeting format as suggested by the Council to improve customer service and efficiency. The proposal is for three Council meetings per month to be held on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Tuesdays of the month. Each meeting would include voting and informal discussions. He referenced the changes in the Code. There will be three components to the meetings including a Consent Agenda where a vote is taken on non-controversial items. No Ordinances will be placed on the Consent Agenda. One change is that certain Resolutions and Motions could be adopted when presented. Any item on the Consent Agenda can be removed by a Council member at any time. The second component is votes taken on the Active Agenda. Public comments and questions would be asked for on a per item basis. The first reading is for informal discussion, and no vote would be taken. Benefits include an increase in the number of meetings with formal action, while reducing staff time by 25% for meeting preparation. Staff is proposing a trial period for as long as six months, since Ordinances will have to be amended.
Commissioner Beckman asked whether an item on the Consent Agenda would be moved to the First Reading or the Active Agenda. Mr. Fieldman said if there are bids discussed they would move to the Consent Agenda. If there are bids or other non-controversial routine items, staff would be able to place them directly on the Consent Agenda and they would be voted on the same night they are introduced. Commissioner Beckman asked if an item were pulled from the Consent Agenda, where it would go. Mr. Fieldman said it could go to either the First Reading or the Active Agenda.
Commissioner Durkin inquired whether they would be able to pay bills in less than 30 days. The Manager said they should have the ability to process bills in less than 30 days. Commissioner Durkin asked if they can get better financing terms. The Manager said the Finance Department will review this.
Commissioner Durkin said he would support a nine-month to one-year trial period to get a better analysis of the changed format.
Commissioner Waldack said that this was first discussed on October 20, not October 22, as stated in staff’s report, and was first brought up by Commissioner Beckman. Commissioner Waldack said he was cautious about the change when it was proposed. After seeing how the fourth Tuesday could be reserved for more complex issues, he has reconsidered his opinion. He added that the e-sheets indicated there might be changes to the Cashier’s office, and he asked that this be clarified later. The Manager said that the Cashier’s office remains open on Tuesday evenings until 7:00 p.m. Staff will monitor usage on Tuesday; there are no planned changes at this time.
Commissioner Waldack said that another savings that has occurred is that staff has meetings on Wednesday mornings after the Tuesday meetings. This should save them time there as well. He commented that Item 4 regarding the policy refers to Council’s Workshops and he suggested changing that.
Commissioner Neustadt said this will free up staff time to focus on other important services. He liked the opportunity for resident input.
Commissioner Beckman said he has suggested that this be reevaluated since he was elected to the Council, and he is pleased they are taking the opportunity to try this out. He is most interested in the efficiencies gained. He has asked the Manager to come up with a way to quantify the savings. He is pleased to have the opportunity to try this.
Commissioner Schell said that the first twelve years she served on the Council they had Workshop and Council meetings on the same night. She believes six months is the minimum amount of time to review this. She liked the old format because it gave people an opportunity to speak. She sees this as a win-win situation. A full year’s trial period would give them an better opportunity to evaluate the consequences of the change.
The Mayor said that they can change this if it is not working. The Council will welcome comments and public opinions. This is an opportunity to do more with less. Indexes: Council Rules, Council Agendas, Council Meeting Schedule
RES00 -04011 B. Resolution: Amend a Village Council Policy Regarding Preparation of Village Council Agendas Sponsors: Manager’s Office Summary of Item: This amends the Council Policy regarding the preparation of Council agendas.
A RESOLUTION AMENDING A VILLAGE COUNCIL POLICY REGARDING PREPARATION OF VILLAGE COUNCIL AGENDAS
RESOLUTION 2010 -01 Indexes: Council Agendas
MOT00 -04009 C. Motion: Adopt 2010 Strategic Plan Sponsors: Manager’s Office Summary of Item: This adopts the 2010 Strategic Plan. Mr. Fieldman said this concerns the adoption of the 2010 Strategic Plan. The Village’s current process began in 2006 and was updated in 2007 and 2008, led by an outside consultant. In 2009 the outside consultant was eliminated and minimal updates focused on financial issues. The primary desired outcome of this meeting is to focus on the 2010 active agenda items. Staff recommends returning to the full Strategic Planning process in summer 2010. He reviewed the Strategic Plan’s Mission Statement, Vision 2023, Core Beliefs, Core Services, Customers, Goals for 2013 and Action Agenda. Many elements will not be changed; however, there are proposed updates to the list of Core Services for 2010. Village services are divided into Core, Primary and Secondary services. He then reviewed the Core Services for 2010: Emergency services; solid waste collection; infrastructure construction and maintenance for the stormwater, street and water systems; Village facility maintenance; drug enforcement; Village Boards and Commissions; life safety related code enforcement and plan review; and economic development. The Manager reviewed the 2014 Goals and introduced the goal of Exceptional Services and Communication which is based on customer service and enhanced communication. There is also a new goal of Environmental and Financial Sustainability. There are 16 Action Items for 2010 which result in policy action being taken by the Village Council including community events evaluation and policy direction; partnership with Darien-Woodridge Fire Protection District; stormwater utility analysis and plan; analyze and consider annexations within the planning boundary; fees for services review and update; reserve policy revisions; complete the Comprehensive Plan; TCD3 implementation; renewal of the solid waste contract; and Long Range Financial Plan implementation and update. There are six items on the Management Agenda which the Manager briefly reviewed: Environmental sustainability best practices implementation; Economic Development Plan implementation; customer service enhancement; CIP project outreach implementation; Risk Management program evaluation; and FOIA legislation compliance.
1. Tim Meany, 420 Franklin, said that it is important to keep in mind how the Village reached this point. It began with the identification of Core Services as part of the budgeting process. As a result of that, Social Services was lost temporarily, as he understood the decision made at the time. He is concerned that Core Services are becoming policy, and Social Services could be eliminated permanently.
The Mayor responded that the Long Range Financial Planning process was reviewed with an eye toward the 3 to 5-year plan. There are finite resources, and the emphasis is on what services does the Village, at its core, fund. There may be disagreement as to the Core Services. He said this is a continuation of the process.
Commissioner Schnell said that Drug Enforcement is under Core Services. She has a problem with DARE being eliminated if Drug Enforcement comes under the Core Services. She said this falls under the Police Department. She believes this sends a message that we have a drug problem. She thinks they need to support the Police, but they don’t have to put Drug Enforcement in Core Services. This does not send a positive message. She then asked about goals beyond 2010, saying they were not updated and they may not fit in now. She asked if they will be reviewed. The Manager said the six goals have been in place for four years. Staff’s focus is on the 16 action items. They will look at those other goals during the full blown review.
Commissioner Barnett said he is fine with this as it gets the 2010 Action Items moving. He thinks they should segregate the strategic planning from the Long Range Financial Plan.
Commissioner Beckman said that items on that list are broad-based in nature. Drug Enforcement is narrowly defined and may fit into other elements better.
Commissioner Waldack said he agreed with Commissioner Barnett. A stragetic plan is an organization’s process of defining its strategy and making decisions and allocating resources, such as capital and people. It determines what will be done over the next year and the next several years. He has no problem with the goals set. In many ways, they were rewording and enhancing what was already there. What concerns him is the view that strategic planning was started at the August 18 meeting, as this was a presentation by staff. There was not much discussion. Only three Commissioners commented. It was not a strategic planning process. This is the beginning of the strategic planning process. There is a difference between Long Range Financial Planning and strategic planning. The focus of strategic planning is the entire organization as opposed to its pieces, such as financial plans and budgets. He would not want the budget process to drive the strategic plan. He agrees with Mr. Meany that strategic planning should be separated from Long Range Financial Planning and any other process. This is the start of the strategic planning process. He hopes they get into more detail as soon as possible. Commissioner Waldack said it was indicated that only the Core Services would be listed in the Strategic Plan and he thinks they need to list other services as well. He doesn’t want to give the impression that all the Village cares about is Core Services.
Commissioner Neustadt said in August 2009 staff combined the strategic plan and Long Range Financial Plan with an eye toward efficiencies. He said that he is comfortable with the document for 2010, and agrees that the process should be separated. But they knew that this was put together in 2009 to save time. He agrees with Commissioner Schnell that Drug Enforcement is part of the Police Department activities.
Commissioner Durkin agreed that they should remove Drug Enforcement as it is part of the Police Department activities. Indexes: Strategic Plan
MOT00 -04010 D. Motion: Accept TCD3 Report Sponsors: Manager’s Office Summary of Item: This accepts the TCD3 Report. Deputy Village Manager Mike Baker said this is to accept the TCD3 report and refer the neighborhood community network concept to the Human Service Commission for consideration. The process took place in 2009 with an opportunity for public participation. He indicated that this is the final draft report and contains a series of recommendations that could be pursued if desired by the Council, along with others. An appendix summarizes the opportunities for participation. He indicated that the participation was greatly appreciated. The Comprehensive Plan process continues and TCD3 matters will be included in that process. It will also become part of the Strategic Plan.
Commissioner Schnell said that the concept of a community network was brought about by the consultant rather than the public. As this is sent to the Human Service Commission, she said she hoped that their discussion would be broader than a network based on grade schools, etc. She agrees with the speaker regarding condominiums. They have unique characteristics. There are certain groups in town that do not have a way to communicate. The Human Service Commission should look at what the residents were saying, and don’t take how it was shrunk by the consultants. They should look at the broader issues and issues that are common to people. Look at communication and how we engage our residents.
Commissioner Beckman commented that he was a community activist and organizer many years ago in Downers Grove in the Washington School area. He is concerned about the neighborhood concept, and he believes it needs to be investigated. The key element is sustainability. Most organizations have specific goals and organizations break apart when the goals are addressed. He hoped that the Human Service Commission would find a way to make organizations sustainable over time.
Commissioner Waldack agreed with Commissioner Schnell, saying that community networks should be a subset of neighborhood organizations. He fully supports this referral to the Human Service Commission and making it broader in scope with more leeway. He would not want to give a deadline of only six meetings. He said he thought they should make better use of the Boards and Commissions as we do not have the number of staff we had previously.
Commissioner Neustadt said that the Human Service Commission is a great group to tackle this. He is concerned about staff time to prepare for the meetings and the research that will be done. He said they need to take caution with the time spent by staff. The Commission should be given free rein to consider the TCD3 items. There are groups already together to use as a starting point. This is a big project.
Commissioner Barnett said that the neighborhood network concept was brought to us by the consultants based on questions and desires for better lines of communication as expressed by the participants. He noted the vast range of groups that are already in existence. He said he is not sure it is a good use of our time to try and come up with additional organizations. He acknowledged there is a legitimate concern with the communication process. They need a vehicle or method by which those groups that exist today can be heard. He agreed with Commissioner Neustadt regarding staff time dedicated to this project, and added that he is skeptical about the whole thing.
The Mayor said that the first charge of the Council is acceptance of the TCD3 report and appendix. What comes next is important. He said there was no large finding at TCD3 . He asked what the charge is that they will give to the Human Service Commission. He believes it should not be narrow. He doesn’t want to waste resources, and agrees that staff time should not be excessive. He asked that they ponder the situation and the charge and referral to the Human Service Commission, and put that portion of the recommendation on First Reading again.
Commissioner Schnell said they should get an idea from staff regarding time and commitment.
Mayor Sandack recommended reaching out to the Chair of the Human Service Commission for an opinion and reaction.
Commissioner Waldack said they should share what staff was prepared to give to the Human Service Commission. Indexes: Total Community Development III (TCD)
Materials to be Received
Materials to be Placed on File
Deputy Village Manager Baker reported on the water system and DuPage Water Commission. Downers Grove is one of the founding members of municipalities participating in the DuPage Water Commission. The Village purchases water from the DuPage Water Commission which purchases it from the City of Chicago which pumps it from Lake Michigan. In 2008, the City of Chicago imposed three years of double-digit rate increases. Mr. Baker said they are anticipating the third increase in May 2010. The Water Commission is discussing potential changes to their rates, and staff wants to see how those discussions play out before action is taken. The bottom line is that there is no reason to be concerned about the continuation of water availability. Information will be brought forward as staff receives it.
The Mayor said he has made several inquiries on the situation. The belief is that money may have been spent on operational expenses by the Water Commission. The problem is how that happened and a report is forthcoming. Mayor Sandack said that the Village has an infrastructure to maintain to continue to deliver the water.
Beth Janicki-Clark, Assistant Village Attorney, said she was presenting two items to the Council: 1) An ordinance amending Council meeting proceedings; and 2) A resolution amending a Village Council Policy regarding preparation of Village Council agendas.
Future Active Agenda
12.Council Member Reports and New Business
Commissioner Schnell said there is a special meeting scheduled Tuesday of the Legislative Committee of the DuPage Mayors and Managers Commission regarding the proposed score card of legislative’s votes on pension issues. She will forward information to the Manager when she received it and will need direction from the Council as to how to proceed.
Commissioner Neustadt reminded everyone that parking on streets is prohibited between 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. when there are three or more inches of snow. He also asked that residents remember to shovel their sidewalks, and not to shovel snow onto the streets.
Commissioner Schnell commented that the Ogden Avenue sidewalks are not being shoveled. She asked staff to work with Mr. Bedalov to communicate the need to shovel.
Commissioner Durkin said that since the last Council meeting there have been two major residential structural fires. He urged residents to be careful with candles, lighting fireplaces, etc. He thanked the first responders to these emergencies as no lives were lost. He extended prayers to the families affected by these incidents. The Village has a great Fire Department, and he does not want to see another fire added to the list.
The Mayor noted that Linda Kunze has had a serious illness and has been in the hospital for quite a while. It looks like she is on the road to recovery. He extended best wishes to her and her family. He said we look forward to her return as the Downtown Manager.
Commissioner Schnell moved to adjourn. Commissioner Neustadt seconded the Motion. Mayor Sandack declared the Motion carried by voice vote and the meeting adjourned at 8:34 p.m.