Skip to main content

February 04, 2014

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 Bob Barnett, Commissioner Sean P. Durkin, Commissioner Becky Rheintgen, Commissioner Geoff Neustadt, Commissioner Greg Hosé and Mayor Martin Tully  Absent: Commissioner David S. Olsen  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

Executive Session Minutes for Approval Only - December 17, 2013 and January 7, 2014  Council Meeting - January 21, 2014 M ayor Tully asked for a Motion to approve the minutes as submitted.

Commissioner Neustadt 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

Bob Pagels, 4717 Main Street, said that he and his wife love being part of the community.  He said living on Main Street brings additional responsibilities, which include the constant removal of litter discarded by motorists.  Another critical task performed by Main Street residents is keeping the public sidewalk clear for pedestrians, especially during the winter months.  The sidewalk in front of his home is used every week by commuters walking to the Main Street train station or the Ogden Avenue bus stop, students walking to Downers Grove North High School, residents walking to shops and restaurants in the business district, and, on weekends, by members of St. Joseph's Catholic and Gloria Dei Lutheran churches walking to their church services.  These pedestrians range in age from young children to senior citizens.   During the winter months, the Village clears the sidewalks of snow in the downtown business district, extending this service north on Main Street to either Franklin or Prairie.  From where the Village cleaning ends to Ogden Avenue, it is up to the homeowners to keep the sidewalks clear of snow.  While this is no different than it is for the majority of homeowners, Mr. Pagels said there are two exceptions:  1)  His sidewalk is traveled by a large group of diverse pedestrians; and  2)  The clearing of four lanes of Main Street by Village snowplows creates an extraordinary volume of  heavy, salt-laden slush propelled onto Main Street sidewalks, which makes clearing the sidewalks a heavy and strenuous chore.  While he is able to clear his sidewalk, some residents can't or won't clear theirs for many days after a snow event.  This is a public safety factor and he asked that Council review this and consider extending the Village sidewalk cleaning from the business district to North High School or Ogden Avenue.  This winter has been extraordinarily cold and snowy, and he asked that the Village address the issue.  He noted that many pedestrians make the choice to walk in the street, which is very dangerous.  Pedestrian public safety should be as important as automobile public safety.

Mayor Tully thanked Mr. Pagels for his comments.  He said Council has received a number of comments about the snow removal.  The downtown is within a special service area and within that area there is snow service removal that is paid for by the people who live within the district.

The Mayor said he empathizes as he also lives on Main Street.  He said Mr. Pagel's points are well taken.  He appreciates the phone calls, e-mails, and other comments.  Mayor Tully further noted that there are probably many other areas where residents could raise the same issues, such as the Fairview and Belmont train stations and other heavily trafficked areas, which could turn into a large issue.  He pointed out that all of these issues would be taken into consideration when staff and Council review the problems raised this winter by the extreme weather conditions.

Following Council Reports, Violet Radwill, 5410 Grand Avenue, asked to address the Council.  Ms. Radwill said she is before the Council due to an incident that happened last week when she had a car accident.  The Police were called and she was told by the Police that her car had to be towed by one of four towing companies in Downers Grove.  Her cell phones were in the car.  The fee for towing was $150 plus $35 per day storage fee for two days, for a total of $220.  She noted that she likes the Main Street Shell station and would have preferred to work with them.  She was not advised by the Police of the fees, and if she had been, she could have saved money on the storage fees.  Ms. Radwill said it is the responsibility of the officers to inform people of the charges.  The charges are not posted.  She said she feels she deserves to be informed and the public should be informed of charges.

Mayor Tully thanked Ms. Radwill for her comments.  He said he was very sorry to hear of her experience.  Staff will look at this process.

5. Council Member Reports

Commissioner Hosé said the Police Department has a newly launched  program to safely dispose of prescription medications.  This is by appointment only, and he encouraged residents to contact Mary Wennerstrom at 630-434-5681 or at  Residents unable to drop off their medications may request a Crime Prevention Office to come to their home for collection.

Commissioner Rheintgen said the Grove Foundation is presenting its annual Passport to Dining on Thursday, February 27, 2014, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The cost is $25 for appetizers at five different restaurants.  The Grove Foundation supports local community programs through financial grants.  Additionally, the Downers Grove Fish Pantry is looking for a new van and through February 14, the Grove Foundation is matching grants up to $1,000.  More information can be found on the Grove Foundation's website.

Commissioner Durkin said he was glad to see information on the Village's website about clearing snow around fire hydrants.  He asked residents to continue to do this if they are able.  If there is an emergency, the Fire Department staff has to be able to access the hydrants.

Village Manager Dave Fieldman said he will look into having staff clear the area around the fire hydrants if residents are unable to do so.

Commissioner Neustadt thanked staff for their work in this weather.

Mayor Tully said he received compliments from a resident whose mailbox was hit and quickly replaced.

The Mayor said on Saturday, February 8, 2014, the Chamber of Commerce is hosting their Up and Down and All Around stair climb and/or 5k walk at the Esplanade at Locust Point Atrium at 2001 Butterfield Road.

The Mayor then invited residents to the next Coffee With The Council on Saturday, February 8 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Economic Development Corporation offices on Mochel Drive.

The Mayor also announced that the annual Downers Grove Ice Fest will be held February 7-9, 2014, in downtown Downers Grove.  It is sponsored by the Downtown Management Corporation.

6. Public Hearings

7. Consent Agenda

COR 00-05463 A.  Claim Ordinance:  No. 6039, Payroll, January 17, 2014

Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A

BIL 00-05464 B.  List of Bills Payable:  No. 6098, February 4, 2014

Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A

MOT 00-05460 C.  Motion:  Award $207,900 for a Construction Management Contract to V3 Construction Group, Ltd., Woodridge, IL, for Esterbrook/Downers Grove Estates Watermain, Drainage, and Roadway Reconstruction Project

Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Water Main Improvements, Roadway Improvements, Downers Grove Estates, Drainage Improvements

MOT 00-05465 D.  Motion:  Award a Three-Year Contract Not to Exceed $301,168.50 to Meade Electric Company, McCook, IL, for Traffic Signal Maintenance  

Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Traffic Signal Maintenance

RES 00-05466 E.  Resolution:  Authorize an Extension to the Agreement with Shane's Office Supply Co.

Sponsors: Finance



RESOLUTION 2014-07 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Office Supplies

MOT 00-05471 F.  Motion:  Award a Contract for $24,900 to V3 Companies, Woodridge, IL, for Survey Services - Fairview Avenue Resurfacing

Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Street - Resurfacing , Roadway Improvements

MOT 00-05474 G.  Motion:  Note Receipt of Minutes of Boards and Commissions

Summary of Item: Library Board - December 18, 2013 and January 8, 2014

Plan Commission - October 28, 2013 and November 4, 2013 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 Neustadt, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, that the consent agenda be passed. The motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt, Commissioner Hosé and Mayor Tully

8. Active Agenda

9. First Reading

ORD 00-05470 A.  Ordinance:  Establish a Crosswalk at Carpenter Street

Sponsors: Public Works and Transportation and Parking Commission

Summary of Item: This establishes a crosswalk at Carpenter Street.


ORDINANCE NO. 5367 T he Manager said staff is proposing a mid-block pedestrian crossing at 5211 Carpenter Street.  This will complete pedestrian improvements made in conjunction with the Grove Street project.  This is at Immanuel Lutheran Church.  He asked Nan Newlon, Director, Public Works to answer any questions.

Commissioner Durkin said he supports this request and he thinks we should be doing more of this throughout the community.  He asked for an update on the crosswalk installation at 63rd and Springside along with Main and Norfolk near Downers Grove South High School.  He said students are trying to cross the street at those locations.  He offered the assistance of the Council in trying to get the attention of the County regarding this matter.

Mayor Tully said he would bring this up at the next joint municipal DuPage County Board intergovernmental meeting.

Commissioner Rheintgen said she is always concerned about safety at these crosswalks and is always asking about flashing crosswalk signals.  For next year's budget she asked if staff could provide costs in order to consider this as an option.  Indexes: Crosswalks

ORD 00-05473 B.  Ordinance:  Amend Alarm Code Provisions to Provide for Wireless Radio Systems

Sponsors: Fire Department

Summary of Item: This amends alarm code provisions to provide for wireless radio systems.



ORDINANCE NO. 5368 T he Manager said the next two items concern amending the Village's alarm code provisions and providing for installation of wireless alarms.  He asked Fire Chief Jim Jackson to make the presentation.

Fire Chief Jim Jackson said staff is requesting approval of the purchase and installation of a fire alarm system from Total Fire and Safety, Inc.  This will consist of an upgrade to the Village's current fire alarm system in order to receive wireless fire alarms.  The cost of the upgrade is $61,326.00.  Also included is a four-year maintenance agreement at the cost of $6,160 per year, after the first year.  The total cost is approximately $86,000.00.  In addition to the purchase, staff is presenting an ordinance amending provisions of the alarm code to authorize alarm users the option to install a wireless radio system.

Chief Jackson said wireless alarms are a more reliable way of receiving fire alarm transmissions to our dispatch center vs. telephone lines.  Wireless alarms also reduce the number of false alarms received.  This is a great opportunity for our business owners to switch to the wireless alarms.   It will significantly reduce their telephone costs.  Businesses that choose to upgrade to the wireless alarm system will work directly with their alarm installers to get this upgrade.  Businesses will be able to choose to participate in this upgrade.  It is a great efficiency for the businesses as well as the Fire Department.   Fewer false alarms keeps the fire apparatus for subsequent calls.  It reduces risk by keeping our trucks off the streets, and results in mechanical savings.  Chief Jackson reiterated that this is an option for businesses.

Willis Johnson, 603 Rogers, said he had several questions which have been answered.  He said he has wireless connections in eight other communities and they work well.  He said he understands the property owner will be responsible financially and in terms of implementation.  He asked about permitting requirements for the installation.  He understands that property owners will use their own alarm company, with equipment specified by the Village.  He assumes implementation will be quick.

Chief Jackson encouraged Mr. Johnson to call the Fire Prevention bureau for answers to his questions.  He said the timeline will be set after the contract is awarded.

Mr. Fieldman said this is an open system.  Staff will specify the types of radios we will accept.  The Village installs the receiver radio at VOC.  Any business choosing to switch from a land phone line to wireless would install the sending radio at their location.  We will facilitate the permitting process.  This is a choice and we hope it results in savings in monthly fees, although there will be some upfront fees to the business which should be recovered.

Commissioner Neustadt congratulated Chief Jackson on his appointment as President of the DuPage County Fire Chief's Association.

Commissioner Neustadt said this is a great addition of services to our customers.  Savings will be realized by the Village, but also by the businesses who have to respond to phone line problems on fire alarms.  Phone lines are temperamental with water, wind, snow, rain, etc.  This is an opportunity for savings and efficiencies for anyone who has multiple phone lines and multiple buildings.  It will be interesting to see how the calls for service change as a result of this.  He thanked Jenny Rizzo for being in attendance at this meeting to answer questions.

Commissioner Barnett asked for quantification with respect to the number of phone line related false alarms there are over the course of a year.  It may shock people to see the actual cost of false alarms.

Commissioner Rheintgen said she applauds the Village for doing this.  Her business has had to deal with this in another municipality and she appreciates that the Village is very sensitive to how it impacts the small business owner.  She likes that it is optional and that people are not required to switch at this time.  She agrees that purchasing the wireless fire alarm will be offset by the savings in the cost of the phone lines as time passes.  Indexes: Fire Alarms

MOT 00-05472 C.  Motion:  Award $85,966.01 to Total Fire and Safety, Inc. for Purchase and Installation of Alarm Panel Equipment

Sponsors: Fire Department

Summary of Item: This approves the purchase and installation of equipment from Total Fire and Safety, Inc. to upgrade the Village's alarm panel in the amount of $61,326.01 plus four years of maintenance at $6,160 per year (for a total of $24,640) after the first year. Indexes: Fire Alarms

10. Mayor's Report

Materials to be Placed on File

Mayor Tully said the Village has received an application for an off-premise beer and wine only liquor license from 7-Eleven, Inc. d/b/a 7-Eleven, located at 5105 Fairview Avenue.

Pursuant to Section 3-12 of the Liquor Control Ordinance, a public hearing for a liquor license application may be waived.  The application must be placed on file for a minimum of two weeks, subject to public comment prior to the issuance of a new license.  The Mayor said he is placing this application on file in the Village Clerk's office.  Barring any objection, once the two-week waiting period has passed, a liquor license will be issued to 7-Eleven, located at 5105 Fairview Avenue.

New Business

REP 00-05469 2013 Annual Report T he Mayor said he is proud to present this report.  In this report he will show that the state of the Village is strong and on a path of sustained success.  The Village's strength is measured in terms of its financial status, as well as prudent governance, creative and strategic vision, exceptional and innovative performance, and good stewardship of public assets.

With respect to financial and environmental sustainability, the Mayor said the Village received an improved bond rating from Standard & Poors to a AAA bond rating, the highest rating it can achieve.  Only about 23 municipalities in the State have achieved the AAA bond rating.  This means the Village's sound financial practices have been verified by an outside source.  It saves the Village money in that it provides for the lowest cost of borrowing money.  It is useful as an economic development tool for attracting and retaining businesses.  It has allowed the Village to refinance debt service and to reduce debt service payments by $478,000 for the downtown TIF bond, and $132,000 for the Library debt service.  Refinancing the Library debt service frees up funds for building improvements.

The Mayor also noted that the improved FY14 budget is easy to read and understand.  With respect to the budget, the General Fund balance increased by $820,000 which can be used for infrastructure and public safety related needs.  Additionally, the Village received $100,453 from FEMA to help cover flood response related expenses from the April 17-18 flood event.

The Mayor then turned to exceptional municipal services, specifically "neatly" providing exceptional municipal services.  He read one of the alternative definitions of "neat" from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary.  Definition 4b defines neat as follows: "marked by skill or ingenuity; adroit."  The Village continues to apply the LEAN approach to managing our delivery of services.    He thinks of LEAN as "Leveraging Existing Assets Neatly."  He gave several examples where the Village has applied the LEAN approach in 2013 to provide the same or better service at less cost.  These example include enhanced street sweeping, a new electricity supply contract that saved $11,000, a new mobile phone contract that saved $12,000 and privatizing the electrical licensing testing.   He noted that the savings add up quickly.

The Mayor then addressed the historic building survey, completed in 2013.  This allows the Village to continue to participate in the Certified Local Government Program and makes it easier for residents to take advantage of state and federal historic preservation programs.  The survey provides information on historic buildings and neighborhoods to facilitate voluntary designation.

Another service in 2013 was the creation of the new retiree health insurance plan which reduced expenses by $70,000.  The Mayor then reviewed partnerships with other governmental bodies.  These include the Park District fleet maintenance agreement, joint newsletter delivery with the Park District and District 58, and dispatching Sanitary District calls.  These activities allow the Village to continue to communicate, collaborate and coordinate with our partners.

The Mayor spoke of the special needs ID program that was launched in 2013, a school safety town hall meeting hosted by the Village in conjunction with District 58 to increase awareness about safety measures, and stormwater education workshops hosted by the Village to enhance relationships with residents and businesses, connect local businesses with residents and increase awareness of the stormwater utility credits and incentives.  Further the Village facilitated FEMA reimbursements for residents.  FEMA distributed $1,674,682 to 522 Downers Grove residents to help cover flood damage expenses.  The Mayor also noted that the Village's flood insurance rating was upgraded from a Class 7 to a Class 6, resulting in a discount of 20% on flood insurance premiums.

The Mayor then addressed top quality infrastructure.  The Village implemented the stormwater utility.  The Village now has a dedicated funding source that will be used to maintain and improve the stormwater system as well as meet the unfunded mandates of the Clean Water Act.  The Village also completed $20 million in capital projects with no change orders.  Projects include Washington Street, Concord Square Unit 2, Oak Grove Unit 3, and over $4.4 million in roadway maintenance.  These projects help to reduce lifecycle costs.  A total of 22 recently annexed parcels were connected to the water system, and $500,000 of new sidewalks were installed.  These projects result in improved street, stormwater, sidewalk and traffic signal performance.  The Mayor said another project was the completion of the downtown dumpster enclosure, which was completed in one construction season and reduced the cost of refuse collection and improved the appearance of the area near the parking deck.

The Village hosted another ComEd town hall meeting which addressed electrical reliability issues in Deer Creek and Hillcrest areas.  These meetings have generated specific work lists for future improvements by ComEd.

One of the Village's main focuses is to maintain a strong and diverse local economy.  The Village and the Economic Development Corporation have worked hard to identify and pursue new opportunities.  The Mayor reviewed a number of companies that moved to or expanded in Downers Grove in 2013.  The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) opened their headquarters in Downers Grove, as did Advocate Health Care, Grundfos, Havi Global Solutions and Univar.  Midwestern University opened a medical clinic and started construction on their auditorium.  Other businesses include Powershares, Ray O'Herron, Shop & Save and Art Van Furniture.  An Aston Martin dealership opened and Lamborghini will be moving to the Village.  The Mayor said sales tax revenue increased by $400,000 in 2013.

Innovation in the Village is continuous and contagious.  Innovation was demonstrated through the creation of the Fairview Fire Protection District special service area.  This provides a permanent funding source for the cost of fire and EMS services for this area, facilitates the elimination of the Fairview Fire Protection District and reduces overlapping governments.  The creation of the Green Business program improves and enhances Village relationships with the business community.  Three businesses, Competitive Lawn Service, Bales Mold Service and Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, were named as green businesses in 2013.  Another innovation was the launch of Council rEmarks which provides residents with the ability to comment online.  Additionally, interactive community maps were created to provide residents with information about Village projects, amenities and events from any computer or mobile device.  The Village also facilitated the relocation of a demolition company out of a residential neighborhood.

In terms of achievements, the Mayor addressed the awards received by the Village in 2013.  These include the Governor's Sustainability Award, the Clean Cities Coalition Green Fleet Award, the Illinois Traffic Safety Challenge, the GFOA Distinguished Budget Award, and the GFOA Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.  The Village was named as one of the top ten best cities in Illinois.

The Mayor said the state of the Village of Downers Grove is strong.  We are now underway with projects for 2014-15.  None of these successes would be possible without staff, volunteers, partners, the vision and dedication of the Council, and the support of the community.  Mayor Tully referenced the goal of the Blackhawks, "One Team, One Goal."  He thanked everyone who helped the Village toward its successful year.   Indexes: State of the Village

11. Manager's Report

Mr. Fieldman said that the snow and ice work has been ongoing since December 1, 2013.  He asked Judy Buttny, Finance Director, to provide a snow and ice financial report.

Judy Buttny, Finance Director, said the FY14 snow budget is $637,763.  So far there have been 33.14 inches of snow, 24 snow events, and the Village has spent $438,079 to date, as compared to $82,000 last year.  Snow removal is part of the General Fund.  She said the budget is $43 million.

 In response to Commissioner Durkin, the Manager said staff will break out all the associated costs.  He noted that Public Works employees have driven their equipment 60,000 miles since December 1, and there has been some maintenance on equipment due to excessive use.

Commissioner Barnett asked as to expenses from January to March in FY12 and FY13.  Mr. Fieldman said typically January and February represent 30% of the snow budget each of those two months.

Commissioner Rheintgen asked about road salt supplies.  Mr. Fieldman said there is a regional supply issue.  The Village has only experienced one or two days in "conservation mode," but it is an on-going issue.

The Mayor noted that this issue is best managed by the professionals.  Needs and services may shift in order to be best managed.  He thanked the staff for their work.

12. Attorney's Report

Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting two (2) items to the Council:  1)  An ordinance amending alarm code provisions to provide for wireless radio systems; and 2)  An ordinance establishing a crosswalk at Carpenter Street.

13. Council Member New Business

There was no new business.

14. Adjournment

The Mayor said Council will adjourn into Executive Session.  He asked for a motion  to permit Commissioner Olsen to participate by phone.

MOT 00-05475 Motion:  Permit Electronic Attendance at Executive Session - February 4, 2014

Summary of Item: This allows Commissioner Olsen to participate in the Council Executive Session meeting by telephone. A motion was made by Commissioner Neustadt, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Authorize this file.  Mayor declared the motion carried unanimously. Indexes: Council Rules Motion to Adjourn to Executive Session

Commissioner Neustadt moved to adjourn into Executive Session pursuant to Section 2 (c)(2) of the Open Meetings Act to consider collective negotiating matters.  Commissioner Durkin seconded the motion.

VOTE:  AYE:  Commissioners Neustadt, Durkin, Hosé, Rheintgen, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried and the Council convened into Executive Session at 8:23 p.m.