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 asked the Cub Scouts from Pack 227 to help lead 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 Non Voting: Village Manager David Fieldman, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca and Village Clerk April Holden The Council meeting is broadcast over the local FM radio station, WDGC . In addition, a tape recording and videotape of the meeting are being made using Village owned equipment. The videotape of the meeting will be used for later rebroadcast of the Council meeting over the Village cable television Channel 6.
The Council will follow the rules of conduct for this meeting as provided in Sec. 2.5 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code. These offer the public the opportunity to comment at several points in the meeting. First, immediately following approval of the minutes of the past meetings, an opportunity will be given for public comments and questions of a general matter. If a public hearing is scheduled for this meeting, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions related to the subject of the hearing. Finally, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions on items appearing on the Consent Agenda, the Active Agenda and the First Reading.
The presiding officer will ask, at the appropriate time, if there are any comments from the public. If anyone wishes to speak, the individual should raise their hand to be recognized and, after acknowledgment from the presiding officer, approach the microphone and state their name and address. Remarks should be limited to five minutes, and asked that individuals refrain from making repetitive statements.
Mayor Sandack said there are agendas located on either side of the Council Chambers, and he invited the audience to pick up an agenda and follow the progress of the Council meeting.
3.Minutes of Council Meetings
Council Meeting – January 12, 2010 Commissioner Beckman said he submitted a minor correction to the minutes to the Clerk. Mayor Sandack said the minutes would be filed as corrected.
4.Public Comments – General comments on matters not appearing on tonight’s agenda
Bill Wrobel, 7800 Queens Court, commented on the sidewalk matrix for 2010. He then read from the Manager’s memo regarding the Village being a leader in efforts to provide public access to pedestrians. The memo also states that over 90% of the public streets have sidewalks on at least one side. Mr. Wrobel said he was present as an advocate of Downers Grove Watch (the Watch) for sidewalk safety on Ogden Avenue. He previousy spoke to the Council regarding snow clearing on Ogden Avenue, and making sidewalk safety a continuing campaign on Ogden Avenue. He said that in 2009 the Watch called in 21 complaints to the CRC concerning snow on Ogden Avenue sidewalks as merchants pile their driveway snow on sidewalks. In October, the Watch met with Stan Balicki regarding snow control. Mr. Wrobel informed the Council that members of the Watch, since January 1, have been approaching merchants along Ogden Avenue regarding clearing the sidewalks and not blocking intersections. He said they have received positive responses from owners and employees. Merchants, however, block their sidewalks by piling their driveway snow on their sidewalks. He noted that in strip malls they pile the snow in one or two parking stalls, causing the loss of parking spaces for merchants. He noted that green space allows room in which to pile snow. His group will continue to contact the merchants through February. He provided a copy of a flyer being distributed to merchants. He said if people want to make comments they can go to the group’s website at www.downersgrovewatch.org.
5. Public Hearings
6. Consent Agenda
COR00 -04021 A. List of Bills Payable: No. 5804, January 19, 2010 Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
BID00 -04022 B. Bid: Award $73,474.00 to Waldschmidt & Associates, Inc., West Chicago, IL, for a Three-Year Mowing Services Contract Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda.
RES00 -04023 C. Resolution: Authorize the Sale by Public Auction of Personal Property Owned by the Village of Downers Grove Sponsors: Public Works Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SALE BY PUBLIC AUCTION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY OWNED BY THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE
RESOLUTION 2010 -02 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Vehicle Auction, Surplus Property
RES00 -04020 D. Resolution: Authorize an Addendum to an Agreement with V3 Companies of Illinois, Ltd. re: Washington Park Stormwater Management Project (SW-042) Sponsors: Public Works Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF ADDENDUM A TO AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND V3 COMPANIES OF ILLINOIS , LTD .
RESOLUTION 2010 -03 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Engineering Services, Washington Park
RES00 -04028 E. Resolution: Authorize a Memorandum of Understanding with the Inter-Agency Paratransit Coordinating Council Sponsors: Deputy Village Manager Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND THE INTER -AGENCY PARATRANSIT COORDINATING COUNCIL
RESOLUTION 2010 -04 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Inter-Agency Paratransit Coordinating Council
BID00 -04024 F. Bid: Award $101,320 to Landmark Ford, Inc., Springfield, IL, for Four (4) Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Vehicle Purchases, Police Vehicles
MOT00 -04030 G. Motion: Note Receipt of Minutes of Boards and Commissions Summary of Item: Library Board – December 16, 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
ORD00 -04017 A. Ordinance: Amend Signage Provisions Sponsors: Community Development and Plan Commission Summary of Item: AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SIGNAGE PROVISIONS
ORDINANCE NO . 5118 Commissioner Beckman said that last week he asked for additional information regarding staff’s perspective of the 15’ option versus two 10’ signs. Mr. Fieldman responded that staff had established there may be a gap in the Sign Ordinance. The recommendation from the EDC was one 15’ sign, or two 10’ signs. He indicated that staff feels two signs may add to visual clutter, which may not be consistent with some of the goals of the Sign Ordinance.
Commissioner Beckman further stated that he has spent time reviewing this with others, including Mr. Nicholaou who was part of the Sign Ordinance Committee. He believes there is a gap in the Ordinance and a need to amend it. He will support the proposed amendment.
Commissioner Schnell commented that she appreciates all the e-mails and phone calls she received about the issue. From her perspective, it is confusing because along Ogden Avenue there are different zoning districts, and the perception is that all of the signs along Ogden Avenue are conforming. However, there are businesses that could come to the Village for rezoning and then qualify for a 15’ sign. She appreciates staff clarifying some of the figures and information previously submitted. Many businesses along Ogden Avenue have complied. She hopes that the 15’ signs will look good, and agrees that two 10’ signs will add to the clutter.
Commissioner Barnett commented that he may have disagreed with some people but he appreciates their time and input. He agrees with staff’s comment regarding the aspect of clutter. The Sign Ordinance currently specifically permits 15’ signs, and this is only a change in the way those 15’ signs can be applied. Many of the existing nonconforming signs will still have to be smaller and made to comply with the Sign Ordinance. He stated that he will support the amendment.
Commissioner Waldack said he understands the purpose of the Sign Ordinance, and perceives that it is porous. He thinks it is time to reconvene the Sign Committee to review the Ordinance so businesses can conform to the changes prior to the deadline, and he strongly urged the Council to reconvene the Committee. If the Village does not act, the deadline will arrive and there will be violations and requests for variations. He said that it is clear the present Ordinance has a gap that needs to be addressed so that the perception of clutter will be eliminated. Commissioner Waldack noted that Mr. Benes said two 10’ signs was an easy way to address the matter, both for the businesses and the drivers. The Sign Committee spent a great deal of time looking at this. He referred to another statement by Mr. Benes that 15’ signs are there because of multiple tenants in one location. Two 10’ signs is perceptively less intrusive than 15’ signs. In order to reduce clutter and perception, he recommends two 10’ signs, and will not approve this. He would like the Committee to review this.
Commissioner Durkin thanked Mr. Nicholaou for his time in discussing the proposed change. Commissioner Durkin said he will support this amendment because he is not in favor of two signs. He thanked everyone who communicated with him regarding this issue.
Commissioner Neustadt expressed his thanks to the Plan Commission for their review and recommendation, the EDC for bringing this forward, and also Mr. Nicholaou and the Sign Ordinance Committee for their input. He will support the amendment as he believes one sign is less clutter. He then thanked the staff for their work.
Mayor Sandack said that the Council’s job is to balance competing demands, while still attempting to be fair to everyone. Ogden Avenue is the driving force in this situation. The Village is a business friendly community, and there have been complaints made about the Ordinance as it currently exists. The Sign Committee proffered a 5-year compliance period, and the Council extended that to 7 years. He noted that they are nowhere near full compliance. In two short years compliance is expected and he fears there will be last minute requests and petitions for exceptions and extensions. The Village has been proactive in getting the word out to the businesses. He feels the Sign Ordinance is good, but Council knew they would find issues with it. Two or three amendments in five years does not suggest a porous ordinance nor do 19 requests for variances. He feels that the Ordinance is working well. The Plan Commission considered the petition and determined 5-1 that the amendment made sense. The petition pointed out the disparity in the existing Ordinance, as regards the size and frontage of the property in question. The Village is trying to balance the needs, but looking at the Sign Ordinance goals, one issue was decluttering. The Mayor said this is a judgment call, and most of the signs on Ogden will come down and declutter the area. There will be a handful of properties that will be allowed to raise their signage by five feet. He feels this is a reasonable request, and 15’ on B-3 lots is better than two 10’ signs. It is a fair amendment and a good result. The Ordinance is standing the test of time. A motion was made by Commissioner Barnett, seconded by Commissioner Beckman, to Adopt this file. Mayor Sandack declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Beckman, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Sandack Nay: Commissioner Waldack Indexes: Zoning Ordinance – Signs
ORD00 -04016 B. Ordinance: Amend Ordinance #5017 and the Village of Downers Grove Budget for Fiscal Year 2009 Sponsors: Finance Summary of Item: AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR AN AMENDMENT TO ORDINANCE #5017 AND THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009
ORDINANCE NO . 5119 A motion was made by Commissioner Schnell, seconded by Commissioner Barnett, to Adopt this file. Mayor Sandack declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Beckman, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Sandack Indexes: Budget – 2009
MOT00 -04025 C. Motion: Approve 2010 Sidewalk Matrix Sponsors: Public Works Nan Newlon, Public Works Director, presented an update of the 2010 sidewalk matrix, reviewing the purpose of the sidewalk matrix and how it is prepared. Considerations include proximity to schools, connectivity to other sidewalks, volume of traffic, etc. She provided enlarged copies of the matrix. Due to the adjustment to the capital budget, the number of sidewalks scheduled for replacement has been reduced. She said $245,000 is budgeted for the 2010 program. She noted that sidewalks are proposed for portions of streets north of Ogden Avenue, including Janet, Northcott, Seeley, Morton, and Prospect. This is about one mile of new sidewalk construction for the year. In addition to cost adjustments, the Transportation and Parking Committee (TAP) also recommended moving the sidewalks in the Oak Hill neighborhood to the unique project list, recognizing challenges due to grading and trees. A neighborhood meeting was held in November regarding general issues related to sidewalk construction. Another meeting will be held in February. There are many concerns related to drainage as well, and staff will work to address those issues.
John Schofield, 1125 Jefferson, asked what impact this sidewalk construction will have on the forest canopy in the Village. Ms. Newlon said decisions have not yet been made as to which side of the street will be used for installation of the sidewalks. The impact on the forest canopy is taken into consideration.
Commissioner Neustadt said that the initial outreach is a great first step. Drainage issues are something very important to look at in this neighborhood. He urged people to use sidewalks, as it is not safe to walk in the streets.
Commissioner Schnell inquired about the connectivity of the streets shown on the map. Ms. Newlon responded that the red is the proposed area. Dashes indicate existing sidewalks. She will review it for connectivity. Commissioner Schnell then suggested alternate bids regarding connectivity. Ms. Newlon said she would provide additional information next week.
Commissioner Schnell then referred to public comments regarding replacement sidewalks and fixing existing sidewalks. She asked for a report regarding areas needing repair and whether money is available. She also asked about the gap sidewalks in planned development areas: How many gaps exist and the costs to install sidewalks to fill the gaps. She then questioned why this is being put out to bid in May. Ms. Newlon responded that the bids actually go out in March, and will be brought back to the Council in May.
Commissioner Barnett asked whether the Village has a brochure with FAQs and pictures to deal with some of the concerns of residents. Ms. Newlon responded that staff has a brochure which was distributed at the meeting. She will provide that to the Council .
Commissioner Barnett noted that there are $2.5 million worth of sidewalks left to be installed, and he would like to discuss future budgets regarding bonds to address this.
Commissioner Durkin said that the Village has been fortunate with the tree pruning contract and low prices. He asked whether staff has a plan for additional work regarding sidewalk construction, if bids come in below budget, or if staff intends to stay with the plan due to budget shortages. He said if they can take advantage of pricing, he would like staff to consider options. Indexes: Sidewalk Matrix
ORD00 -04027 A. Ordinance: Amend Provisions for Massage Establishment Licensing Sponsors: Village Attorney The Manager stated that this ordinance amends the Village’s massage establishment licensing ordinance. The Village currently requires licensing of massage establishments. A school has indicated an interest in operating in the Village. Changes in the ordinance language would allow for this school to operate lawfully in the Village.
The Mayor noted that they would still need a State license.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether this loosens any regulations.
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said it does not. This only pertains to schools already licensed by the State.
Mr. Wrobel asked about licensure for King’s Spa and Garden Spa on Ogden Avenue. Ms. Petrarca said they are licensed massage establishments. Indexes: Massage Licensing
REP00 -04029 State of the Village Report Sponsors: Mayor Mayor Sandack said the State of the Village address is retrospective. It will look back at 2009 and ahead to 2010 in terms of goals and aspirations for our community.
He said 2009 was a year of tremendous financial challenges and hurdles, causing the Village to make some changes with respect to how we engage in our operations. Shortfalls in general revenues were quickly identified, and staff responded by making changes, and implemented those changes so we could continue to provide service. Some of the expense reductions that needed to be made in 2009 were hiring freezes and voluntary separations, salary freezes, furlough days and other operating efficiencies, totaling $2.4 million.
The Village now has a Long Range Financial Plan to guide our financial decisions and budget presentations and preparations for the next 3-5 years. This is a top priority with our Strategic Plan.
The Village identified a structural gap, a shortfall, with respect to our expenses and revenues. This structural gap existed prior to the recession. The 2009 recession simply compounded some problems that we finally addressed and made known. The Long Range Financial Plan has specific strategies for expense reductions, revenue enhancements and the strategic use of reserves when need calls.
The Village found ways in 2009 to be innovative and to improve efficiencies and save money. Two innovations he highlighted are Fleet Operations and lighting. As many people know, the Village of Downers Grove operates a fleet of vehicles for the Police, Fire and Public Works departments. In 2009 fleet services were reduced by 15 vehicles, saving $200,000. We implemented a computerized fleet analysis software program for better tracking of field usage and scheduled maintenance, saving another $50,000 in maintenance, supplies and equipment, and also reduced staff saving another $72,000. In total, fleet expenses were reduced by 20%.
The Village also saved money in fuel consumption through several initiatives. We instituted an anti-idling policy. We switched to nitrogen tire inflation. We reduced the age of some of our older vehicles, and we increased our reliance on alternative fuels. In fact, we have 95 vehicles that use alternative fuels. The drop in our fuel expense resulted in $150,000 in savings marking the lowest fuel consumption costs that we’ve experienced since 2005.
We also implemented some new efficient lighting fixtures in 2009 in our parking deck. The cost of the project was approximately $45,000, thanks to a rebate from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The new fixtures have a ten-year life span, and the project will pay for itself in three years, which results in a 40% reduction in our lighting expense.
The Village was approached by a section of our community, Prentiss Creek Homeowners Association, to bring some street lights to an area that had no street lights. The result is a tremendous example of the Village responding to a specific need and doing so in a highly innovative and cost-effective manner. The solar and wind powered street lighting system, now in place in Prentiss Creek, is the first of its kind in any residential neighborhood in the United States. This requires no trenching and will save money and reduce carbon emissions. Further, unlike traditional street lighting systems, it requires no digging. The $282,000 project was partially granted and funded through a Community Development Block Grant which covers 45% of the cost. It’s unique and it works.
In 2009 the Village obtained over $400,000 in energy-related project grants. New lighting in the parking decks, the hybrid street lights in Prentiss Creek, the expansion of our CNG fueling facility, the installation of energy-efficient lighting have all been accomplished in part by grant funding.
The Village, in 2009, continued to maintain its commitment to its investment in our infrastructure. Twenty-two major infrastructure-related projects were completed throughout our community in 2009. In total, $15 million was spent to improve our roads, insure pedestrian safety, and fortify our stormwater management systems. The most visible of the projects were Prairie Avenue, Rogers Street, and we’re nearing completion, in cooperation with the Park District, of the improvements at Washington Park and McCollum Park. We also undertook $3.2 million in needed road maintenance throughout the Village in 2009.
This Council and our community continues to maintain our commitment to stormwater improvements. In 2007 we put into place a three-year plan which called for $25 million of improvements over three years. In 2009 we spent $7.5 million in stormwater improvement to our needed infrastructure.
Mayor Sandack then addressed public outreach and community outreach. He discussed TCD3 , the Total Community Development 3 community outreach process, which sought community and business input on issues important to our town. Included was residential and business workshops, on-line surveys and different tools seeking input. Common themes discussed included economic development, infrastructure, education, public finances, and environmental sustainability.
In 2009 the Village implemented a community-wide notification system. This system is able to reach all registered residences and businesses with messages about emergency or urgent issues. It can also target a specific area. The primary form of notification is by phone, but individuals can register their e-mails or cell phones as well. Importantly, no Village funds were utilized with this project. Anyone who wishes to register can go onto the website at www.downers.us.
The Village also changed the format for our Village e-newsletter allowing all subscribers to receive news targeted to specific construction projects in their area. The general e-news is delivered on Wednesdays to all subscribers, and construction updates are delivered on Mondays. The Village currently has about 2,100 subscribers to this service, and there certainly is plenty room for more. He encouraged residents to register at our website if they wish to obtain news about Village goings-on via e-newsletter.
In keeping with the theme of technology, you can now follow the Village on Twitter. We’ve been doing this since May. We’ve done 109 tweets since that time. We currently have 344 followers and would welcome more and certainly have more capacity. It is a great way to get quick information out about road closures, water main breaks, etc. that followers can pick up instantaneously.
Everyone knows what a difficult economy we had in 2009, but despite the significant challenges, 2009 was a good year in terms of economic development for the Village, and that’s in no small part thanks to our cooperative efforts with the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, other business organizations, the County of DuPage and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
DeVry University, a global leader of educational services, and one of the largest publicly held educational organizations in the world, will move from Oakbrook Terrace to Highland Landmark V in the first quarter of 2010 and will bring with it approximately 700 new jobs to Downers Grove, a true economic development win for this community.
Similarly, the Dover Corporation is moving from Park Avenue, Manhattan, to Downers Grove, Illinois. Dover Corporation is the maker of a large variety of products ranging from garbage trucks to building equipment, and will lease about 68,000 square feet for a total investment of about $18.5 million. The company currently has dozens of employees in this area, but will be adding about 90 new employees to our community soon. This is another economic win for our State, County and this municipality.
The Zeigler Automotive Group is putting a new facility in Downers Grove at the 2311 Ogden Avenue address, the former home of Downers Grove Dodge. This new dealership will bring 75 new jobs and sales tax revenue. Our community continues to be a destination for good business.
Mayor Sandack said 2009 was a difficult, challenging year. He thanked everyone who participated in the budget process. He said tough decisions had to be made and those tough decisions positioned us well for 2010.
Looking to 2010, issues include consideration of a partnership with the Darien/Woodridge Fire Protection District to allow for joint operations, while maintaining at all times response times and the excellence both communities have in Public Safety.
Other issues the Village will focus on in 2010 include environmental sustainability, an update to the 45-year old Comprehensive Plan, continued infrastructure investment, financial stewardship, and continued excellent customer services.
The Mayor said 2010 will likely be every bit as challenging as 2009 but our Village is well-positioned to face those realities and handle whatever comes our way for the betterment of our community.
The Mayor thanked everyone for their time, attention, and goodwill. Indexes: State of the Village
Materials to be Placed on File
Future Active Agenda
Village Attorney Petrarca said she was presenting one item to the Council: An ordinance amending provisions for massage establishment licensing.
12.Council Member Reports and New Business
Commissioner Barnett said the Council receives quarterly reports and financial updates. He said it is important to have revenue projections perform better, and to under spend the budget. He asked for Council consideration to expand the quarterly financial reporting, including a running total on capital related items on a more regular basis.
The Mayor said obviously more information is better, having a macro-perspective rather than micro. It allows them to know whether they are on course.
Mr. Fieldman said that the present quarterly reporting only includes the general fund. Staff can expand it to include capital funds as well.
Commissioner Barnett said that the report provided by Ms. Newlon recently was very useful, and he’d like to see that type of reporting more often.
Commissioner Neustadt said that this Saturday the Downers Grove South Girls Basketball Boost-”Hers” program will sponsor their annual Shoot for a Cure Event. This is the second year for the program. He also announced that on January 28 the Community Events Commission will meet at 6:00 p.m. in the Ante Room.
Commissioner Schnell commented that the sidewalks on the east side of Highland are not shoveled. She asked that the Village work with the Park District or the Forest Preserve to have that area plowed. She asked staff to identify other areas as well.
Commissioner Beckman wished his wife a Happy Birthday.
Mayor Sandack reminded everyone that the Ice Festival will be held on February 13 and 14 sponsored by the Downtown Management Corporation. He said that the merchants appreciate the business.
Commissioner Schnell moved to adjourn. Commissioner Barnett seconded the Motion.
Mayor Sandack declared the motion carried by voice vote and the meeting adjourned at 8:07 p.m.