1. Call to Order
Mayor Martin Tully 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 Tully 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 Becky Rheintgen, Commissioner Geoff Neustadt and Mayor Martin Tully Non Voting: Village Manager David Fieldman, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca and Village Clerk April Holden T he 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 Tully 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 Minutes - November 8, 2011 M ayor Tully asked for a Motion to approve the minutes as submitted.
Commissioner Schnell moved to approve the minutes as presented. Commissioner Durkin seconded the motion.
The Mayor declared the Motion carried by voice vote. 4. Public Comments - General Comments on Matters Not Appearing on Tonight's Agenda
Frank Falesch, 830 Prairie Avenue, expressed concerns about the Prentiss Creek light fixtures. There are 26 fixtures and 10 were not operating one day recently. He provided information to the staff as to the lights not operating properly. These are wind and solar units. There is a problem disposing of the batteries. The units are very expensive and the Village was the first to install them. He cautioned against being the first at anything.
Mayor Tully noted that at the National League of Cities, Congress of Cities conference, there was a vendor demonstrating these lights. They are becoming more popular in municipalities throughout the country.
5. Public Hearings
6. Consent Agenda
Mayor Tully said Items E & F, RES 00-04706, a resolution authorizing agreements with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois, and RES 00-04707, a resolution authorizing an agreement with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois for Stop Loss Coverage, have been removed from the Consent Agenda for separate consideration.
COR 00-04702 A. Claim Ordinance: No. 5925, Payroll, November 4, 2011
Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
BIL 00-04703 B. List of Bills Payable: No. 5944, November 15, 2011
Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
RES 00-04704 C. Resolution: Authorize Renewal of a Group Vision Contract with Delta Dental
Sponsors: Human Resources
Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING RENEWAL OF A GROUP VISION CONTRACT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND DELTA DENTAL
RESOLUTION 2011-85 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Employee Benefits
RES 00-04705 D. Resolution: Authorize Renewal of an Agreement with National Insurance Services of Wisconsin, Inc. (Group Term Life & Long Term Disability Insurance)
Sponsors: Human Resources
Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING RENEWAL OF AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND NATIONAL INSURANCE SERVICES OF WISCONSIN, INC. (Group Term Life & Long Term Disability Insurance)
RESOLUTION 2011-86 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Employee Benefits
MOT 00-04699 G. Motion: Award a Professional Services Contract for $65,160 to Shive-Hattery, Inc., Downers Grove, for Parking Lot H Improvements
Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Parking Lots
MOT 00-04712 H. Motion: Note Receipt of Minutes of Boards and Commissions
Summary of Item: Plan Commission - October 3, 2011 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 Durkin, that the consent agenda be passed. The motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Tully
7. Active Agenda
MOT 00-04697 A. Motion: Estimate 2011 Aggregate Tax Levy for the Village of Downers Grove
Summary of Item: This will estimate the 2011 Village aggregate levy. This will be the subject of a public hearing on December 6, 2011.
The aggregate levy for the Village of Downers Grove, as defined in the Illinois Truth and Taxation law, estimated to be necessary to be raised by taxation for 2011 upon the taxable property in Downers Grove is $22,940,382. This amount is based upon an estimated levy of $6,442,486 for corporate and police; $2,850,000 for fire; $1,567,925 for police pension; $2,122,822 for fire pension; $4,140,942 for library operating; $658,220 for the 2003 library debt service; $423,750 for Central Business District 2005 Series debt service; and $707,907.50 for Fire Station #2 2007 Series debt service; and $1,153,087.50 for Stormwater 2008A Series debt service; $854,775 for Central Business District 2008 B Series debt service; $1,326,850 for Central Business District and Fairview Avenue 2009 Series debt service; $238,700 for Central Business District 2010 Series debt service; and $197,800 for Central Business District 2010B Series debt service.
The estimated levy for Special Service Area #2, CBD Special Service Area, is $246,446. The estimated levy for Special Service Area #3, Prince Pond Special Service Area, is $8,671.
The adoption of the proposed levies will be held on December 13, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village
Council Chambers. Staff is also directed to prepare ordinances to abate said 2011 tax levies. C ommissioner Waldack said that, although he opposed the budget, it passed and it is necessary to pass the tax levy. He will support the tax levy.
Mayor Tully said that although the property tax levy is estimated to be $23 million, $5 million will be abated.
Commissioner Barnett said much of the debt in the estimated levy is tied to real investments and real assets in the Village that inure to the benefit of the Village. The Village is making its operating payments out of continuing revenue sources and is not borrowing money to meet payroll or pension obligations. A motion was made by Commissioner Schnell, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Authorize this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Tully Indexes: Tax Levy - 2011
MOT 00-04701 B. Motion: Continue Exploring Creation of a Stormwater Utility
Sponsors: Manager's Office
Summary of Item: This directs staff to explore the creation of a stormwater utility by hosting meetings with the
public and key stakeholders and prepare a report with final recommendations for Village Council
consideration. C ommissioner Barnett said this is not a commitment to do a stormwater utility, but a commitment to study the issue further. He would like to see modeling for church properties and smaller business such as the downtown and Ogden Avenue businesses with distinct and unique land situations as well as official input from the Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Management Corporation. He would like information as to the effect of phasing in the utility over a five or ten year period to get to the necessary levels as opposed to the first year switch.
Commissioner Durkin noted that implementation of a stormwater utility could result in a reduction of the property tax levy by $1.33 million, essentially rebating the stormwater utility fee the first year. He said this would be for the first year only. There will be significant increases for years two through ten. It will increase over time and he wants to be sure residents are aware of this.
Commissioner Schnell noted that this motion includes reaching out to stakeholders including residents and businesses as to what a stormwater utility will mean. She asked about the sump pump discharge issue. She also asked whether residents could submit questions via the webpage.
The Manager said the public engagement process will last at least 90 days and will feature targeted meetings, open meetings, question and answer periods, modeling of all the properties in the Village, and an extensive exchange of ideas and information.
Commissioner Schnell said she has learned that the webpage is the #1 tool residents look to for information.
Commissioner Rheintgen noted that there were four presentations before the Council to address this matter. It is important to pare down the information and make it easy to understand.
The Mayor said this is to be a two-way process. It is intended to be an educational process and an opportunity for feedback, resulting in options to consider with respect to this matter.
Tom LeCren, 545 Chicago Avenue, thanked Commissioner Schnell for bringing up the sump pump discharge issue. He asked if information would be included in next week's Council responses. The consultant's report calls for the fee to be based on one's contribution to the system. He reiterated that sump pump discharge is a huge contributor to the stormwater system and it would not be fair to ignore it. If it is to be ignored, Mr. LeCren suggested that the Code be amended to delete that section that provides for direct connection. A motion was made by Commissioner Durkin, seconded by Commissioner Barnett, to Authorize this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Tully Indexes: Stormwater Utility
RES 00-04706 E. Resolution: Authorize Agreements with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois
Sponsors: Human Resources
Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF ILLINOIS
RESOLUTION 2011-87 Commissioner Waldack said he asked that this and the next item having to do with Blue Cross/Blue Shield be removed from the Consent Agenda. He would address them together. The Village is contracting for claims adjustment and stop loss with the the same company. This is a subtle incentive to deny or to have processes in place to discourage claim payments. He said he served as a claim adjustor in the past and currently deals with a number of insurance companies, and has concerns with giving this company both sides of the process. The Village is paying for the claims up to a certain amount, after which Blue Cross starts paying. There is also an aggregate amount the Village is paying for insurance, and when that point is reached, Blue Cross/Blue Shield pays. He feels it is a conflict and should be separated for the good of our employees. He noted that the insurance companies are required to follow the law and the contract, but, having dealt with a number of insurance companies, he said there are ways that things could be better handled. He will not support these items. A motion was made by Commissioner Barnett, seconded by Commissioner Neustadt, to Adopt this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Tully Nay: Commissioner Waldack Indexes: Employee Benefits
RES 00-04707 F. Resolution: Authorize an Agreement with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois for Stop Loss Coverage
Sponsors: Human Resources
Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF ILLINOIS FOR STOP LOSS COVERAGE
RESOLUTION 2011-88 Commissioner Waldack said his previous comments apply to this item as well and he will not support this. A motion was made by Commissioner Neustadt, seconded by Commissioner Schnell, to Adopt this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Tully Nay: Commissioner Waldack Indexes: Employee Benefits
8. First Reading
The Manager said that the first two items would be covered together.
RES 00-04710 A. Resolution: Authorize Letter of Intent with Will County Governmental League re: Electrical Aggregation
Sponsors: Manager's Office M r. Fieldman said that the Village had a representative from one of the retail providers of electricity present a few weeks ago. The Village has since been working with Will County Governmental League on an aggregation program including about 20 municipalities in Will County. He introduced representatives Hugh O'Hara and Michael Klemens.
Hugh O'Hara said that the Will County Governmental League is made up of 32 communities in Will County.
Mike Klemens then made the presentation saying this is a two-track process, beginning with steps defined by State Statute. The purpose of this process is to lower electrical rates for residents and small retail businesses. The process is laid out in the Statute, but there are several steps. In order to pass an initial ordinance, a municipality has to submit the question to the voters and have it approved. Then they must develop a plan of operation and governance. The referendum question is spelled out in the Statute. In this case they would be targeting the March 20, 2012 election. After two public hearings are held the Village would submit an RFP to 23 licensed suppliers in the State. Only rates lower than ComEd would be considered. Residents would then be notified in writing of the opt-out provisions. December 18, 2011 is the last date for the Village to express its intention to place the question on the ballot. January 3, 2012 is the last day to adopt a resolution placing the referendum question on the ballot.
Mr. O'Hara said that only a small portion of the bill, the cost of the electric supply, would change. ComEd still delivers the power, the bills come from ComEd, and if lights should go out, the user calls ComEd. Users can opt-out of the program.
Mr. O'Hara then said that they are asking to form the Will Utility Aggregation Group to obtain the best prices. The group will develop the operation and governance plan collectively and they would also need to enter into an intergovernmental agreement binding the group members. The agreement is being developed by a Will County subcommittee. Mr. O'Hara noted that this has been in the news lately. He provided some figures for comparison. ComEd's current non-summer rate is $.07.7 per Kh; the opt-in-program would be $.06.3 per Kh; the opt-out program is $.05.9-$.05.7 per Kh. Savings are more substantial with the opt-out program.
Mr. O'Hara said that there are 20 communities participating with a letter of intent. They anticipate a potential savings of between $29-$35 million. He said that if the rates were not lower, they would not be accepted.
Mayor Tully thanked them for their presentation, saying this is an exciting opportunity.
Commission Barnett also extended his thanks, saying this is a great example of working together even outside of our own community. He said that Dan Loftus and Rick Spilky got this conversation started. He also thanked the presenters for being proactive and forward thinking. He noted that being open and receptive is critical, and this is an opportunity to save money for the residents. The Commissioner said he is optimistic that this will be a good idea.
Commissioner Neustadt added his support for this issue. There is a referendum question and an opt-out program. He sees this as an opportunity to do something for our residents, and it is also an example of Downers Grove's willingness to share in agreements with other agencies.
Commissioner Waldack expressed his appreciation to the speakers. To some of the residents this can seem official and complicated. People need to realize that they have choices in that they can stay with ComEd or pick someone else. Hopefully it will save money. The Commissioner noted that this is similar to garbage pick-up choices, but it is electricity. He said the Village would try to find the best deal for its residents. This involves a lot of money, and there will be a lot of "lobbying" going on. The Village will need to review this carefully.
Commissioner Durkin said that he voted to renew the Village's membership with DuPage Managers and Mayors Conference. He asked whether DMMC is working on this matter.
Mr. Fieldman said that DMMC's Executive Director indicated that they have a two-prong approach to electric aggregation. They issued a survey last week to determine the amount of interest. Will County is a little more advanced, has the program up and running as well as a letter of intent. Staff recommends working with Will County Governmental League.
Commissioner Durkin said he will support this, and he hoped that the number of communities involved increases by March.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the educational component of the program. The Manager said an educational component is required. Commissioner Schnell asked whether this has anything to do with infrastructure issues with ComEd. The Manager said that ComEd does not make or lose money on the supply of electricity.
Commissioner Rheintgen clarified that if someone has done this already on their own, they cannot be part of this until their contract ends. Mr. O'Hara said that they would have to look into this further and negotiate with those suppliers.
Mayor Tully commented that this ability to pursue electricity aggregation is not a new concept. This is an opportunity to do this on an aggregate basis that has many more people involved. The economies of scale allows them to drive a better price. This is the avenue by which residents will realize greater savings than they would on their own. He then asked as to the contemplated term of the contract for electrical supply. Mr. O'Hara said they will get prices for one, two and three-year terms, and will probably recommend a one-year term to start. The Mayor asked what the term is of the intergovernmental agreement. Mr. O'Hara said the term of the first IGA would be the term of the first contract.
Mayor Tully said that the key to this is getting a referendum item on the ballot and passed. There are two issues here. The Village can go on its own if it so chooses, once the referendum is passed.
Mr. O'Hara noted that with a short term, the Village is not locked into anything. He further noted that bids are generally good for 12-24 hours.
Mayor Tully also noted that there is a great deal of competition in this field and there are many options available. His main concern is that the residents know that the referendum is a good thing. People may not realize that this is a good idea. Mr. Fieldman replied that the Village will have 20 or more communities involved, and the Village would work in partnership with them.
Mayor Tully asked if there are any issues with the Village's ability to actively promote the referendum. The Manage replied that there are issues and Village Attorney Enza Petrarca is part of the group that will draft the agreement and will make sure we are within the allowable parameters.
Mayor Tully said it bears repeating that this has absolutely nothing to do with the reliability of service. It only deals with the cost.
Commissioner Durkin then inquired as to whether there is any other interest by other Councils or governmental bodies to join this project. Mr. O'Hara responded that they would need to take this back to their Board and get direction in terms of how large they want this to get.
The Mayor reiterated that the key is getting the referendum passed, and he hasn't heard any reason not to put this on the ballot.
In response to Commissioner Durkin, Mr. Klemens said there are at least six other communities considering this. They anticipate about 25 communities.
Commissioner Durkin asked whether there has been any movement in terms of natural gas. Mr. O'Hara said that municipalities do not have the authority to aggregate for natural gas.
1. Tom LeCren, 545 Chicago, asked for clarification. The referendum will be in March, and they have to sign the IGA in February. The Mayor said that could be made conditional. Mr. LeCren asked what the user's real fees would be. Mr. Klemens responded that the fee will cover the cost of energy consultants and would come out of the rate. The Mayor said it is taken out of the savings. Mr. Klemens continued saying that they anticipate the IGA to be available for review by the end of the year. If the referendum doesn't pass, it would be voided.
Commissioner Barnett pointed out that it is critical to craft the message carefully. This could turn into a mass of misinformation, so working with a team to draft the message is very important.
Mayor Tully said they must focus on the benefit of the authority.
2. Laura Crawford of the Chamber of Commerce congratulated staff and Council for thinking creatively. The Chamber has a similar program and the rate is the same, as is the company. She asked whether this is going to be considered a core service, which she believes has to be considered. She said that through aggregation the Chamber is paid a commission. She asked whether Will County will be benefiting, or will it be the Village of Downers Grove. If so, she asked if the amount will be rebated back.
Mr. O'Hara said in terms of a fee, members would not be charged. If a participant is not a member of the League, they have been asked to charge a fee commensurate with membership dues. In Downers Grove, the fee, based on the population, would be $20,000 which works out to 1/10,000 of a cent on a Kh basis.
Commissioner Schnell said that the Village and staff should focus on whether or not residents want to pass the referendum first.
The Manager said there are two items, first authorization of a letter of intent to work with Will County Governmental League, and secondly, submitting a ballot question. The second item is the most important.
Commissioner Schnell agreed that it is easy to get side tracked with too much insignificant information. She said they must be clear about the referendum question. The referendum gives the Village the authority to move forward, but the Village is not required to do so.
Commissioner Waldack said that each resident will have the opportunity to vote twice - once for the referendum, and then whether they want to be in the program.
3. Frank Falesch, 820 Prairie, asked what would happen if the company went bankrupt. The Mayor said that would all be dealt with in the contract. Mr. O'Hara responded that ComEd would be the provider of last resort and they are required to provide service and cannot penalize the customer. Indexes: Electric Services
RES 00-04713 B. Resolution: Submit a Ballot Question re: Operation of Electricity Aggregation Program as an Opt-Out Program
Sponsors: Manager's Office Indexes: Electric Services
ORD 00-04708 C. Ordinance: Amend Water Rates
Sponsors: Manager's Office M r. Fieldman said this was presented at the November 1 budget discussion and includes the DuPage Water Commission rate increase, and the City of Chicago water rate increase. The rates would become effective January 1, 2012.
Commissioner Durkin asked whether the proposed increases would affect the Sanitary District. Mr. Fieldman responded that they are a separate organization and they base their prices on volume. The Downers Grove Sanitary District website has an excellent explanation and it is linked to the Village's website. Indexes: Water Rates
ORD 00-04680 D. Ordinance: Amend Special Use Provisions to Allow Donation Collection Boxes
Sponsors: Community Development and Plan Commission M r. Fieldman explained that items D&E will be discussed together as they relate to the special use for donation collection boxes.
Tom Dabareiner, Director, Community Development, said these items concern the location of 1520 75th Street regarding a special use for donation collection boxes. Staff has recommended denial of the text amendment and the special use as it feels these are not consistent with standards listed in Sec. 28-1900 of the Zoning Ordinance and the goals of the B-2 zoning district. It would negatively impact the appearance of the subject property. Mr. Dabareiner said this would be a donation truck collection facility, which would be ancillary to a second hand store.
Mr. Dabareiner said that donation boxes are not allowed today because they became nuisances and unsightly. They proliferated and in 2010 staff was directed to enforce the Code prohibiting their use. Parking spaces fill up with donations while waiting for trucks to arrive. He said there is a box located in the same shopping center as the Salvation Army, and staff is enforcing in that location today. With respect to the subject request, Mr. Dabareiner showed the proposed truck location. He said that donation boxes are no longer located on the property. He showed the location of the thrift shop and its distance from the truck to the store. The Salvation Army acknowledges that donations can be brought to the back of the store during store hours. Their signage indicates that home pickup is also available. He indicated that the Salvation Army is providing a number of options to donors. Staff is concerned about the attractiveness of this type of use, and the potential for it to spread to other areas. The Plan Commission considered two versions of the Zoning Ordinance amendments. The traditional donation box amendment was withdrawn, and the Plan Commission approved the donation truck request by a vote of 5:4. Mr. Dabareiner reiterated that staff recommends denial of the requested text amendment.
Commissioner Rheintgen asked what the problem is with accepting donations in the store. Mr. Dabareiner said they accept items in the store, but they are to be brought to the rear of the store.
Commissioner Durkin clarified that the concern is they are not allowed to bring trucks onto the parking lot, and Mr. Dabareiner said they are not allowed to have a truck sit in the parking lot for donations, and they are not allowed to have collection boxes.
Commissioner Durkin said he sees this as a cosmetic issue. There is so much need, and he has a problem with this. He asked where else they could go in Downers Grove. He noted that his family goes to the one in the K-Mart parking area in Darien. He repeated that he has a problem with this and doesn't know where he stands on this issue.
The Mayor replied that they could go to the back door of the facility.
Mr. Fieldman added that donations can be accepted in most zoning districts. There are alternatives under the Code with respect to collecting donations. It is just the exterior presence of the truck that is being limited.
Commissioner Schnell said that Council directed staff to clean up a district due to complaints, and staff spent four months or more doing this. The Salvation Army is a great charity. She said that the Village is not imposing a hardship because people can donate at the back door. People can still donate, but just not in a box or in the truck. Commissioner Schnell said the Village has a Code that staff has been asked to enforce. She supports the staff recommendation because people still have the ability to donate.
Commissioner Barnett said on the surface he agrees with Commissioner Schnell. The request is for a truck or a box. The truck would only operate during business hours. The Village does not want piles of donations being left. He said that the truck doesn't add anything other than a location for people looking to donate.
Commissioner Neustadt said that he understands that the Salvation Army did a good job of picking up their donations, but on vacant property there have been piles of things that were not collected on Ogden. He said if the Village allows this, it will start boxes and trucks creeping into the Village.
Commissioner Durkin said he is not in support of drop boxes, but he would support trucks during business hours.
The Mayor commented that the donations to the Salvation Army support many programs, and are worthy of support. There are a variety of ways to support programs. This particular request is not currently allowed under the Code. He has a problem creating a text amendment because it opens a door. There are always unintended consequences. The Mayor said that he doesn't see this request as being consistent with the Comprehensive Plan or the Zoning Ordinance, Section 28.1902(b). It is not allowed and not necessary, as there are other options to support the Salvation Army.
Commissioner Waldack commented that the Village would be adding a very specific text amendment, and he asked what would happen if this did not go through. He is interested in what the consequences would be. It is difficult to get to the rear of the shopping center. He asked if there could be some type of signage to assist the donors. Mr. Fieldman said that staff could obtain that information.
Mitch Melamed, member of the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army and an attorney for the Salvation Army commented on this location. He said that the Salvation Army is a tenant with a five-year lease. They had three donation boxes for the first three years as suggested by staff. When asked to remove those boxes they did so on the same day. He then read the standards for Section 28.1902(b). While the boxes existed there were no comments about their boxes. The proposed text amendment was specifically designed for collection boxes for 501(c)(3) organizations. He said that collection boxes don't look nice. An alternative is to use a truck, not a semi, which is manned. They tried to look at something that would fit the needs of the community. When looking at the location, the front entrance is small and there is a fire lane in front of the building. The rear of the building is quite far away from the front entrance with numerous truck docks. In the last year $250,000 was contributed to the State's sales tax from this location. At this location, items are collected, sorted, tagged or taken away from the premises. Donations support 20 employees and the programs. Mr. Melamed continued that in cooperation with the Village, the Plan Commission passed a text amendment, which covered all of the items raised in tonight's discussion. The text amendment is designed to allow 501(c)(3) organizations, which also includes Goodwill Industries. The vehicle cannot be longer than 24' in length, which is not a semi. It is staffed during business hours and must be removed after hours. It must be within 150' and only operated when the store is open. Mr. Melame said he didn't think the Village should be worrying about a proliferation of this type of situation in Downers Grove or anywhere else. Mr. Melamed noted that the Zoning Ordinance says that second hand stores are permitted provided the uses are conducted entirely within a building. He said he believes used car sales are second hand and are not all inside buildings. They are accepted, rightfully so. This is a separate problem. They are dealing here with keeping places clean, and some of the comments were that the appearance would negatively impact the community. It is a conclusion without factual basis. There were pictures shown of semis, which are not being discussed. They are also not discussing collection boxes, which were shown as well. There is a collection box in the Village of an organization that accepts glasses. He doesn't think it is realistic to expect donors to drive around to the back of the building at 8:30 p.m. The signage in the lease is very specific. Mr. Melamed said he is disappointed that staff does not support this. The text amendment does not open this to everybody. He noted that the Salvation Army cannot continue in this way with the loss of donations. He doesn't know the harm of the text amendment. There is misleading information in the report regarding residents' comments. To his knowledge three people spoke to this.
Major Larry Manzella said he has served 33 years as a Salvation Army officer. He said that the sole source of funding is the stores, and he is responsible for the stores. Major Manzella said driving around to the back of the store in Downers Grove does not work. They receive very few donations at the back of the store. He indicated that the Salvation Army is moving away from the drop boxes, and the trucks in the parking lots are manned. He noted that the truck becomes their image and their brand. Major Manzella commented that they track store sales. Stores are dependent upon donations and are down 12% in sales. Donations are not coming in, and the store is in a free fall. He cannot continue to run a store in the red without donations. They employ 35 people. They can do this right and do a good job. They also do not want to cause the Village a hardship.
Commissioner Rheintgen asked if the Village could allow a specific loading zone. Mr. Fieldman said it would not be allowed due to the fire lane requirements.
Commissioner Schnell said she is familiar with a store in Lake Zurich. She said it might be helpful if they could provide help in the front of the store without allowing a truck.
Commissioner Barnett asked about the involvement of the landlord.
Mr. Melamed responded that they are not the most cooperative landlords. This text amendment has a sunset provision in that when the Salvation Army goes, the text amendment is gone.
Commissioner Barnett asked where the truck goes at night, and the Major responded it goes back to Chicago.
Commissioner Barnett asked whether Sharing Connections is a similar organization and the Manager said it is.
1. Marge Earl, 4720 Florence, said she is a frequent contributor to the Salvation Army and has used the truck. She watched boxes collect junk, while the truck has a big sign for the Salvation Army. Since the boxes and trucks are gone, she has donated but the sign to go to the back is very small. She suggested they should clean up the interior of the store. There were significant problems with the boxes. Ms. Earl said she has a hard time believing that sales are down just because of drop in donations. The Sign Ordinance prohibits parking of trucks with signs on them. She asked if this would open the door to trucks in church lots. She does not consider it a deterrent to drive around to the back of the store.
2. Jeanene Murphy said she goes to the Salvation Army very often. She goes to the back of the store often as well and doesn't find it to be fearful. She looks forward to continuing to use the store.
3. Michael Cassa, President, Economic Development Corporation, said he would be happy to put the landlord in touch with the petitioner. They are good people and would be happy to help.
Mayor Tully said that perhaps they could find an alternate way to address this rather than through a text amendment. He said that the Village would be open to doing this. Much of this seems to be addressed by space that has been leased. Indexes: Zoning Ordinance - Special Use, Special Use - 1520 75th Street
ORD 00-04681 E. Ordinance: Authorize a Special Use for 1520 75th Street to Permit Collection Drop Boxes
Sponsors: Community Development and Plan Commission Indexes: Zoning Ordinance - Special Use, Special Use - 1520 75th Street
9. Mayor's Report
ComEd Reliability Report
The Mayor said Village staff will meet with ComEd staff next week regarding the work plan and to follow-up with respect to meetings or phone calls with residents as requested.
Materials to be Placed on File
10. Manager's Report
INF 00-04709 Information: Amendments to the Administrative Regulation for the User Fee, License and Fine Schedule
Sponsors: Manager's Office The Manager said in the past few years the Village has been putting together a user fee schedule that updates fees on a regular basis. The approved FY12 budget and Long Range Financial Plan call for a 3% increase in the user fee, license and fine schedule. The effective date of the amended regulation is January 1, 2012. Indexes: Fee Schedule T he Manager also reported out on a risk to the FY12 budget. The Illinois General Assembly approved a change in the law with respect to distribution of revenue to municipalities. The Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax has been diverted away from local governments. This amounts to approximately $80,000 in 2012 to the Village.
Mayor Tully said this is further erosion of municipal budgets which creates a hole in our budget. The Village creates a budget, but Springfield can affect that budget negatively. We need to be continually vigilant.
11. Attorney's Report
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting three (3) items to the Council: 1) An ordinance amending special use provisions to allow donation collection boxes; 2) An ordinance authorizing a special use for 1520 75th Street to permit collection drop boxes; and 3) An ordinance amending rates charged for water.
Future Active Agenda
12. Council Member Reports and New Business
Commissioner Neustadt expressed his thanks to Mrs. Swallow's 3rd grade class at Fairmount School for their ornaments for the holiday tree. He said he visited with the class yesterday and told them all about the Village Council and the brand new Gingerbread Festival in Downtown Downers Grove.
With respect to the Gingerbread Festival and Village holiday tree, Commissioner Neustadt outlined a number of events celebrating the beginning of the holiday season. On Friday, November 25, at 3:45 p.m., there will be a story time at the Library after which the group will parade to the holiday tree accompanied by the Downers Grove North marching band to watch the lighting of the holiday tree. Commissioner Neustadt said a new event, "Painting With Lights Spectacular," will bring the train station to life with lights that dance to holiday songs November 25 to January 1, 2012 every hour from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Residents are welcome to shop and dine in Downtown Downers Grove and take part in all the other Gingerbread Festival activities over the weekend. He said more information can be found at www.downtowndg.org.
Commissioner Neustadt extended Happy Thanksgiving wishes to the residents and staff for a restful and safe holiday
Commissioner Waldack extended his wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. He noted that sales tax revenue helps our budget and he urged people to shop in Downers Grove.
Commissioner Barnett said the Illinois General Assembly will meet again and urged everyone not to lose sight of our priorities. He noted that the Village will continue to have challenges regarding funding and needs to stay open to new ideas. The Council and staff try hard to come up with solutions to community problems. He said he appreciates the leadership of the Mayor.
Commissioner Schnell congratulated the Benet Academy Girls Volleyball team on their State Championship this year, as it is a major accomplishment.
The Mayor thanked Mr. Leiser's 2nd grade class at Lester School for hosting him for a "Breakfast and Book" session. Next, the Mayor congratulated the Indian Boundary YMCA on a fabulous gala last weekend. He also thanked Celebrity Dance Studios in Downers Grove for preparing him for the "Dancing with the Stars" event. He then announced that Muriel Anderson will perform at Downers Grove North at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, November 25. The Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce will host Business After Hours Beaujolais & Beer Tasting on Friday, November 18 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Chamber Atrium, 2001 Butterfield Road. The Bonfield Express annual race will be held in Downtown Downers Grove on Thanksgiving morning.
The Mayor then said he recently attended the Congress of Cities conference of the National League of Cities with Commissioner Schnell. He noted that cities face similar challenges. He has scheduled a report to be presented at a Council meeting in December.
The Mayor wished everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
Commissioner Schnell moved to adjourn. Commissioner Durkin seconded the Motion.
VOTE: YEA - Commissioners Schnell, Durkin, Rheintgen, Barnett, Neustadt, Waldack, Mayor Tully
Mayor Tully declared the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 9:31 p.m.