1. Call to Order
Commissioner Neustadt noted that due to problems on the Metra train line, Mayor Tully has been delayed and should arrive shortly. Mayor pro tem Neustadt 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 pro tem Neustadt 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, Commissioner David S. Olsen and Mayor Martin Tully Non Voting: Village Manager David Fieldman, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca and Village Clerk April Holden M ayor Tully arrived at 7:03 p.m.
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 pro tem Neustadt 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 - September 2, 2014 M ayor pro tem Neustadt asked for a Motion to approve the minutes as submitted.
Commissioner Olsen 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 Peterson, 6861 Camden Road said he is the owner of Leibundguth Moving and Storage, which has been in the Village since 1928. He has personally been with the company for 44 years. He said the no nothing attitude of the Council last week was a setback for him and many others. He has received many phone calls hoping that the Council would do the right thing with respect to his request to keep his sign facing the BNSF. Mr. Peterson said Channel 7's Frank Mathie came today to take a look at his sign for the 4:00 p.m. news.
Mr. Peterson said he was bothered by a Council member saying his request was a slap in the face to all who have complied with the Sign Ordinance. Mr. Peterson said that to him, it is a bigger slap in the face to all those businesses that advertise along the railroad and have to give that up. When the Sign Ordinance took effect, it was supposed to help businesses thrive and grow. Now he stands to lose $40,000-$60,000 per year, which will cause great problems for him. The Sign Ordinance was to help beautify the area. The railroad provides 12,000-13,000 people everyday who see his sign. He said if a business does not comply with the Ordinance, fines are $750 per day. Mr. Peterson said he thought this was the friendly Village. He noted that when times were bad he borrowed money that he is still repaying.
Mayor Tully thanked Mr. Peterson for his comments.
Laurel Bowen, 829 Clyde, referenced the time spent reviewing the Sign Ordinance. She suggested that this business be grandfathered in. Variances have been granted in the past and she does not understand why this is not granted a variance.
Mayor Tully said the applicant did not request a variance. There was a request for a text amendment that was taken up by the Council and a motion was made that failed for lack of a second.
5. Council Member Reports
Commissioner Hosé said the First Responders Challenge Family Fun Day will be held on Saturday, September 13, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Fishel Park. There will be an obstacle course, band, business vendors, etc. The event is free and open to the public. It is a fundraiser for the 100 Club of DuPage County and the 100 Club of Chicago/Cook County.
Commissioner Olsen said the District 58 Education Foundation of District 58 is hosting the Downers Grove Oktoberfest on Saturday, September 13, 2014, at the Main Street Train Station from noon to 11:00 p.m. It is a great event supporting a great cause.
Commissioner Neustadt said the Village's Recycling Extravaganza will be held on September 20 at Lot H, Belmont Train Station. He said the Village is looking for volunteers to help run the event. More information is available at www.downers.us.
Commissioner Neustadt also mentioned that the Village's website has "Network with Us" and "Stay Connected" links where residents can sign up for Village notifications.
Mayor Tully apologized for being late due to Metra service. He said Council has received a number of calls regarding mosquito spraying. He suggested staff provide a link on our website to DuPage County mosquito abatement information and the perceived toxic effects. Clarke Mosquito Control also has information available on their website.
Mayor Tully said severe weather is expected this evening and ComEd has activated its emergency operating center. ComEd can be contacted at 1-800-EDISON-1, comed.com or by texting the word "OUT" at 26633 (COMED).
Commissioner Durkin asked that residents clean out the inlets in front of their homes if they are able to do so.
6. Public Hearings
Special Service Area #7 M ayor Tully called the public hearing to order at 7:16 p.m. to consider the formation of Special Service Area #7 (SSA) and the levying of taxes affecting said area. The approximate street location for the special service area is the Dunham Subdivision located at the southeast corner of Dunham Road an Crystal Avenue. An accurate map of said terrotory is on file in the office of the Village Clerk and is available for public inspection. Notice of this hearing was published in the Downers Grove Suburban Life on August 20, 2014.
The Mayor summarized the procedures to be followed for the public hearing.
Village Manager Dave Fieldman introduced Stan Popovich, Planning Manager to provide an overview of the proposed SSA.
Stan Popovich, Planning Manager, provided a map of the area under discussion, depicting the subdivision improvements. This is a three-lot subdivision that was approved by Council on March 18, 2014. The subdivision will facilitate construction of 12 townhome units in three buildings. The approval included the establishment of a homeowners association to maintain the detention area which is the common area. The SSA will serve as a safeguard in the event that the homeowners association cannot or does not maintain the subdivision's detention areas. It would only be levied if the homeowners association defaults and the Village is forced to step in and maintain the common areas.
There being no further discussion, Mayor Tully adjourned the public hearing at 7:20 p.m.
7. Consent Agenda
BIL 00-05683 A. List of Bills Payable: No. 6142, September 9, 2014
Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
RES 00-05684 B. Resolution: Authorize an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Downers Grove Park District for the Joint Purchase of Natural Gas, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel
Sponsors: Public Works
Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND THE DOWNERS GROVE PARK DISTRICT FOR THE JOINT PURCHASE OF NATURAL GAS, GASOLINE AND DIESEL FUEL
RESOLUTION 2014-49 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Park District, CNG Fueling Facility, Public Works - Fueling Facility
MOT 00-05685 C. Motion: Award a Professional Services Contract for $20,820 to Kenig, Lindgren, O'Hara and Aboona (KLOA), Chicago, IL, for Neighborhood Traffic Study Area 4
Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Traffic Study - Ogden, Fairview, Rogers & Warren
MOT 00-05686 D. Motion: Award $8,550 to M. Gingerich, Gereauz & Associates (MG2A) for 2015 Water Main Survey Services (Otis Street, Lincoln Avenue, Indianapolis Avenue, Williams Street, Douglas Road)
Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Water Main Improvements, Surveying Services
MOT 00-05688 E. Motion: Award $8,050 to M. Gingerich, Gereauz & Associates (MG2A) for 2015 Water Main Survey Services (Wilcox Avenue, Florence Avenue, Grand Avenue, Grant Avenue)
Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Water Main Improvements, Surveying Services
MOT 00-05689 F. Motion: Award $9,090 to M. Gingerich, Gereauz & Associates (MG2A) for 2015 Water Main Survey Services (Birch Avenue, Linden Place, Bryan Place, Gierz Street)
Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Water Main Improvements, Surveying Services
BID 00-05687 G. Bid: Award a Contract for $94,900 to Chicagoland Paving Contractors, Inc., Lake Zurich, IL, for the 2014 Fall Roadway Patching Project
Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Roadway Improvements 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, Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully
8. Active Agenda
ORD 00-05674 A. Ordinance: Annex 332-334 39th Street
Sponsors: Community Development and Plan Commission
Summary of Item: This annexes 332-334 39th Street into the Village.
AN ORDINANCE ANNEXING 332-34 39TH STREET TO THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS
ORDINANCE NO. 5409 A motion was made by Commissioner Neustadt, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Adopt this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt, Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully Indexes: Annexation-332-334 39th Street
ORD 00-05682 B. Ordinance: Rezone Property Located at 332-334 39th Street from R-1, Residential Detached House 1 District to R-3, Residential Detached House 3 District
Sponsors: Community Development and Plan Commission
Summary of Item: This rezones 332-334 39th Street from R-1, Residential Detached House 1 District to R-3, Residential Detached House 3 District.
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE COMPREHENSIVE ZONING ORDINANCE OF THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS, CODIFIED AS CHAPTER 28 OF THE DOWNERS GROVE MUNICIPAL CODE, AS AMENDED TO REZONE THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 332-334 39TH STREET
ORDINANCE NO. 5406 A motion was made by Commissioner Durkin, seconded by Commissioner Neustadt, to Adopt this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt, Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully Indexes: Rezone 332-334 39th Street - R-1 to R-3
ORD 00-05675 C. Ordinance: Authorize a Special Use to Permit the Expansion of a Veterinary Care Business at 4945 Forest Avenue
Sponsors: Community Development and Plan Commission
Summary of Item: This authorizes a special use for 4945 Forest Avenue to permit the expansion of a veterinary care business.
AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING A SPECIAL USE TO PERMIT THE EXPANSION OF A VETERINARY CARE BUSINESS AT 4945 FOREST AVENUE
ORDINANCE NO. 5407 A motion was made by Commissioner Neustadt, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Adopt this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt, Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully Indexes: Special Use - 4945 Forest Avenue
ORD 00-05677 D. Ordinance: Amend Stop Sign Provisions on Randall Street
Sponsors: Public Works and Transportation and Parking Commission
Summary of Item: This amends stop sign locations at Randall Street.
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING STOP SIGN PROVISIONS ON RANDALL STREET
ORDINANCE NO. 5408 A motion was made by Commissioner Neustadt, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Adopt this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt, Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully Indexes: Stop Sign - Randall & Blodgett
9. First Reading
REP 00-05479 A. Discussion: Village Facilities (Discussion to be held in the Committee Room)
Sponsors: Deputy Village Manager M ayor Tully announced that Council would finish the Agenda at this time, and then return to the facilities discussion.
Mayor Tully reconvened the Council meeting at 7:38 p.m. in the Council Chambers to begin discussion on Village facilities. He said Deputy Village Manager Mike Baker would provide information on the topic to date. There will be no vote tonight, and this is merely to provide direction to staff. He noted that Dr. Donald Jankowski will speak on behalf of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Scott Miller, Chair of the EDC is also present. The Mayor said Council would like this to be in a conversational format.
Deputy Village Manager Mike Baker said that this discussion is the early stage of the concept. He noted that a handout of his presentation is available, which began with a history of the topic. The Council discussed this in February and March 2014, and at the March meeting the direction was to focus on two options that involve new construction, merely because of the complexity of those options. The key questions were what to build, where to build it, and how to pay for it. He explained the existing facilities, which include the Police Department and Village Hall, are in need of substantial repair and updates. There are also operational challenges in both buildings.
He noted several options that were examined. He specified that each of the options had pros and cons. Options 1 and 2 focus on what can be done with the existing buildings. Option 1 would update the systems in both buildings. The estimated expenses of Option 1 are $10 million and the estimated revenues available for this Option are $10 million. Option 2 would include major reconstruction and additions with facilities remaining on the current site. The estimated expenses of Option 2 are $30-35 million; the estimated revenues for this Option are $13-14 million. Option 3 looks at the existing site with new facilities constructed. The estimated expenses are $36-41 million; the estimated revenues are $13-14 million. Option 4 involves new facilities at two sites in the Village. This would be broken into phases. Phase 1 would be to redevelop the property on Ogden Avenue at Lacey Road. This would be on commercial property with the Village facilities at the back portion of the property. The facilities would include a police station, fleet maintenance facility, and relocation of Fire Station #1 located in the Ellsworth Business Park in order to lower overall response times. Using this site would allow the Village to tap into the Ogden Avenue TIF funds. The estimated expenses are $34-38 million; the estimated revenues are $18-20 million. Once that facility was completed, construction of the new Village Hall would be at the existing site as well as a commercial or mixed-use development on the site, which is approximately eight acres. The estimated expenses are $12-14 million. The unique revenue source of the existing site would be the land sale and property taxes associated with the commercial or mixed use portion of the development, estimated at $10-12 million.
Commissioner Neustadt asked about Option 1, specifically whether exterior improvements such as tuck-pointing, parking lot, etc., are part of the estimated cost. Mr. Baker replied that the estimate includes all aspects of the building structure.
Commissioner Hosé said that simply putting in a new HVAC system or new roof doesn't solve the operational challenges of the Police Department. He asked about those challenges. Mr. Baker said that those challenges include evidence storage, which is spread across multiple storage rooms within the building and is inefficient. Meeting room privacy is another challenge, in terms of interviewing victims.
Commissioner Neustadt said there are booking room challenges, leaking roofs, and overall, the building is too small.
Dr. Donald Jankowski of the EDC explained that Mr. Cassa could not be present as he was in Michigan with his father, who had surgery. Dr. Jankowski said he is on the Executive Board of the EDC. He was asked to comment on the economic development impact of the proposed land use of the plan as well as the best uses of the downtown Civic Center and the Ogden and Lacey site. His presentation only concerns Option 4. The central issue is whether an alternative use for the property would unlock economic opportunities, such as with a multi-family use on the site. Upscale multi-family residential development is the highest and best use for the existing property at the Civic Center. A large multi-family property would increase the downtown population and business customer base, and enhance the downtown economy. Dr. Jankowski stated that it would also create a property tax use. The Main Street Metra Station becomes an economic asset and would attract young professionals to the downtown area. He noted that redevelopment of the site creates other opportunities for older properties as well. This would also bring a stronger link between downtown and the Maple/Fairview Corridor, as well as enhance the overall appearance of the downtown area.
Dr. Jankowski then provided an assessment of the Ogden and Lacey property. It has been vacant for decades. It would be preferable to attract a large anchor for the site, but that does not seem likely to happen. Having a Village facility at the rear of the property and commercial out lots in the front of the property would result in the property being developed. New commercial out lots would be created, such as restaurants, multi-tenant buildings, or a single-business site. There are no three-acre sites for auto dealerships on Ogden Avenue, so that is a possibility as well. A traffic signal will enhance the Ogden and Lacey intersection and a commercial intersection would spur economic redevelopment. In addition, this could create opportunities for underdeveloped parcels on the north side of Ogden, as well as generating sales tax revenue from the commercial out lots. The proposed plan would become a significant development project for Ogden Avenue between Middaugh and Pershing, resulting in opportunities for more value and enhancing the overall appearance of the corridor. Dr. Jankowski added that the proposed land uses would bring positive economic development in the area as a whole. This would also be a catalyst for the surrounding properties as well as the downtown area. Mayor Tully thanked him for his presentation.
Commissioner Neustadt commented that he is sticking with Option 4, saying that every time this topic is discussed he gets more information. He referenced the condition of the Police Department. This Council has the opportunity to fix it and spur additional development with its long range planning. He said that Village Hall is too big and the Police Department is too small. They are at a position where they have the right number of people. Building the right size building with the right workspaces is a positive. Moving fleet maintenance and Fire Station 1 allows for space for other partnerships. He noted that it is becoming easier to say "yes" to Option 4. He trusts staff to find funding sources and options, and he's prepared to go into the budget season with this recommendation. Commissioner Neustadt said he appreciates the public interest in this issue.
Commissioner Durkin said he also supports Option 4 as a wise decision. Option 1 is not realistic. This is the time to consider rebuilding because the interest rates are still low. He has concerns about the involvement in fleet maintenance, and asked about partnering with District 58 and the use of their facilities.
Commissioner Hose said that partnering is a big piece of the puzzle to him.
Mayor Tully said it wouldn't have to be limited to just District 58. They would do that even if they stayed in the existing building. They would like to work together with others if they can. He said depending upon the result of this discussion, it might be worth contacting District 58 to find out what the possibilities for partnership might be.
Commissioner Barnett commented that the involvement of the Council is important in partnerships as well. The details need to be developed. He said he would like to hear more about the operational efficiencies that would occur. They have some idea of the ongoing operational costs, and he would like more details.
Commissioner Rheintgen said the question is whether they should invest significant tax dollars in buildings that are not meeting the Village's needs. She said that they owe it to the taxpayers to think about the most responsible use. Option 1 is a gamble. Option 2 will still cost a significant amount of money. Option 3 is the most expensive. Option 4 would provide a more efficient facility, would result in cleaning up the site, providing improved response time and expand commercial redevelopment. There are also the potential multi-family development benefits to the downtown area. There are so many opportunities associated with Option 4 that it would be foolish not to explore it.
Commissioner Olsen said that he disagrees and believes that Option 4 is not the best option. He is inclined more toward Option 1 or a blend of Options 1 and 2. The idea that they need a new Village Hall and Police Department is something he has not found support for. While people are interested in it, they want the Village to continue to provide excellent services. There are systems that need to be upgraded. He appreciates all the work done by staff and the EDC, and agrees that there are benefits to Option 4; however the $14-22 million gap between funding availability and the cost scares him. The Village would have to bond for that type of money and then have to generate additional revenue. He feels we should invest in services provided directly to the community rather than in facilities. He has supported Option 1 since it was first discussed. He does not see Options 3 or 4 as responsible to the taxpayers. To him work habits are always changing and he supports changes to buildings to accommodate those changes. He thinks they can continue evolving with the existing facilities and making renovations to facilitate those work habits. He feels the existing facilities are the most responsible options. Services that are provided out of the buildings are extremely important and he believes that they can continue to provide those services using the existing buildings.
Commissioner Hosé said he supports Option 4 and partnerships. He said that evolution is important. If they were setting up the Village Hall today, they would not want a vacant site on Ogden Avenue. They would not have the fleet services or Police Department at this site either. It is important to consider other uses for the property. He thinks they should look at those steps and take them. Generating taxable property on the site is also the right way to go. He agrees that they can build a Village Hall that is the right size on the existing footprint, and put the additional property back on the tax rolls. He thinks not moving forward with Option 4 would be irresponsible. He encourages reaching out for partnerships.
Mayor Tully commented that he thinks it is premature to talk about the most and least responsible options. We are not there yet and need to explore every option in front of us. This is an opportunity to solve a number of nagging problems, and they need to study those carefully. The Mayor said that they are talking about whether to further explore opportunities. He hasn't heard anyone say to do nothing. Option 1 is $10 million. He asked what they would get for it. Options 2 and 3 are pricey. Option 4 is $14-18 million. He noted a discussion regarding raising taxes is premature, as that they have not yet discussed how to pay for this project. For $10 million you get the status quo. Mayor Tully said if they could spend an amount a little higher than $10 million that solves a number of issues, they should look at it. He spoke of the benefits of using the land at Ogden and Lacey, and developing the Civic Center parcel to its the best and highest use. Interest rates are still low as stated by Commissioner Durkin. If they wait, they may pay the price down the road, and it is not the time to be myopic. He thinks it would be irresponsible not to explore Option 4. For potentially not much more money they can get a lot more benefits, and he favors continuing the exploration. He said that by combining the Village's 911 service with Westmont, both communities are saving up to six figures per year. We owe it to the community to do the analysis.
Commissioner Rheintgen asked whether Commissioner Olsen supports Option 2.
Commissioner Olsen replied that he supports Option 1. If specific operational needs were demonstrated, he would consider Option 2.
Commissioner Rheintgen asked if remodeling included in Option 2 would solve operational deficiencies. Mr. Baker replied that they don't have the full scope of work, but the estimated cost range was to try to substantially meet operational needs. Commissioner Rheintgen commented that it is a significant investment without the gains of Option 4.
Commissioner Durkin asked if they chose to go with Option 4 whether they could add the value of the property at Fire Station 1 to the revenues.
The Mayor asked for audience comments, noting that residents can send in their comments if they choose to do so.
Bill Wrobel said he attended the earlier discussions in February and March. He remembered when the Village was involved in real estate development some years ago and paid a premium price and handed the property to the developer. The market went flat and the Village compromised to get businesses into the development. They subsidized the developers. Option 4 brings back that memory. He feels this would be a sweetheart deal for the developer, and he sees this as the Village going back into the real estate business. This is government. They are not real estate developers. The need for infrastructure is changing as they speak. Space needs will continue to change, and they may not have greater needs. The Police Department may not have as many needs. In 2011 the Council put forth a referendum regarding term limits. Option 4 should be brought to the people by way of a referendum.
Mike Hahne said if he was going to plan a community he would put the Village Hall and library in the center of town. He referenced Village squares across the United States. He doesn't see anything wrong with this building. Maybe the Police Department needs a little more space. Options 4 and 3 are absurd. He said they should stick with Option 1.
Anthony Cheng asked how long would the maintenance extend the life of the site if Option 1 is chosen. He asked why Option 1 doesn't take into account drug seizures as a revenue source. He then asked about recurring operational costs for each Option. He asked as to the published marketing analysis for Option 4, and the Mayor said there is none yet. He then asked what the breaking point is for Option 4. Mr. Cheng also asked why they are spending TIF dollars for a building that will not generate tax dollars.
Mayor Tully replied that those are good questions and there will have to be more exploration.
Commissioner Hosé further replied that the TIF dollars would be used for acquisition, environmental cleanup and infrastructure needs.
Laura Hois, a 29-year resident, said she values the community and agrees with Commissioner Olsen that Option 1 is most responsible and desirable. She has had conversations with people who talk about having to move away because they cannot afford to stay here due to taxation. She also spoke about a residential development that never got off the ground, and the development near the parking deck is not full. She values having the Police Department in the heart of town. It needs to be renovated and improved. She thinks the Village Hall is a nice building and there is no need to tear it down. Taxpayers are taxed to the hilt. She prefers Option 1, as this will impact taxpayers the least. She is the Town Clerk for Downers Grove Township, and thinks the Council should listen to the taxpayers. In response to the Mayor, if Options 1 and 4 would have the same effect on taxpayers, she said she would still go with Option 1.
Jim Norris commented that increasing taxes on senior citizens is a burden, but it is also hard on families. He agreed with the sentiments of Commissioner Olsen. Mr. Norris ran for Commissioner and knocked on many doors and over 95% of the people he spoke with were against a new Village Hall and Police Department when he ran. He finds that astonishing, and asked the Council to take that into consideration before voting.
Laura Bowen said she was disappointed in the presentation tonight. She talked about the empty properties located in the downtown area. She said the Village is not in the real estate business. They did not explain functional and organizational issues. She asked about the limitations of Village Hall. Ms. Bowen asked that staff give them information so they can understand the needs. No one can guarantee what the price will be. Residents in the Village have been taxed enough. She commented that the reasons don't seem to lead to spending $22 million. It is up to the Police Department to use their space better. They should figure out a way to make use of the space they have. They should make use of the space in Village Hall for the Police Department. They will need infrastructure on Ogden Avenue. She thinks they need to go to a referendum for this amount of money. She also asked whether they could guarantee it will be built with non-union labor.
Andrew Pelloso commented that he is a new, and appreciates that the Village is taking time to look at these complex issues. He said that they take chances by leaving buildings as they are, and by moving buildings. He asked that as much information is made available as possible. He would like to know about the environmental issues on Ogden and Lacey. Mayor Tully said that the status of the site is well known. Mr. Pelloso said that the Village should put out information about the site, and information to quantify issues. He supports a referendum.
Tom LeCren referenced the last meeting where staff was told to further expand Options 3 and 4. He asked what direction is being given to staff tonight. The Mayor said to further analyze Option 4, look at the costs, revenues, and benefits. Mr. LeCren asked whether the estimates changed from the last meeting to this meeting. Mr. Baker said they have remained relatively the same.
Commissioner Olsen thanked the residents for sharing their thoughts and efforts to become better informed. With regard to the Ogden Avenue TIF funds, he is concerned about using TIF funds for land acquisition for a public building. It is best used for acquisition of commercial property that will pay taxes. He said that District 99 has a facility within a TIF and would have liked to have received TIF funds to improve their facility, but did not. He thinks TIF money should be used exclusively for commercial property. Commissioner Olsen then commented on the previous plans for Village Hall and the Police Department in 2007. Since that time there have been comments made about right-sizing the organization. He thinks the reduction in staff and staffing improvements are remarkable. In the last long range planning meeting the comment was made that perhaps staff should be increased down the line. He said in 2007 it was said that they needed a bigger Village Hall. There is the possibility of many changes going forward. It concerns him that we need a new facility. The Commissioner said continuing to utilize the Village's current assets speaks to him. Regarding a referendum the Village Council can do this without a referendum, but he asked should they do that. He values hearing the residents speak. He thinks for a project of this magnitude they should consider a referendum.
Commissioner Neustadt asked what the threshold is for holding a referendum. The Council is elected to be make decisions. He referenced the number of public meetings. The Village has adapted to change, to the recession, and he has faith that the staff will right-size this in the correct way. It is important to know that they have the trust of residents when they are elected. They have terms of four years and now have term limits. The Council has the authority to make big decisions. He doesn't feel that governing by referendum is the process they follow.
Commissioner Olsen said that they bring the residents into this conversation in many ways. The engagement of residents through websites, social media, etc., is excellent. He doesn't think there is a level at which you should go to a referendum, but the scale of this project, which will significantly change the community and how and where the Village will provide services, is an appropriate issue for which to seek an advisory referendum. He said that a referendum adds seriousness to the project and a level of engagement.
Mayor Tully said that once you go to referendum you minimize your ability to engage the public. If the goal of a referendum is to educate people, it is a poor substitute for what we are doing now. The Village can't promote information. The Village has more ability to engage residents now than we would under that situation.
Commissioner Olsen said that having information from residents is important. A referendum engages the community in ways that meetings do not. He does not agree that the referendum limits the ability to educate the public. Multiple processes allow feedback from different sources.
The Mayor said he would not want to limit the information that goes to the public.
Commissioner Durkin said that this is a huge project that will redesign the Village. He said he would not want to penalize the Village's ability to provide information to the public. Commissioner Durkin then said that he wants to be sure that the e-mails become part of the FAQs on this issue, and the Mayor agreed.
Mr. Fieldman said that staff needs this direction as they prepare the FY15 budget. He said they will get out more information and will plug it into the budget. The next steps are more decisions over nine budget meetings.
Commissioner Durkin asked that they earmark the next Coffee With the Council for facilities discussions.
Laurel Bowen commented on the proposed change to Fire Station 1, asking what firehouse would take over the Ellsworth Park area if it were moved. The Mayor said the proposed site improves response time. Ms. Bowen said that maybe they aren't concentrating on maintenance of the existing facilities. Indexes: Village Facilities
10. Mayor's Report
Materials to be Placed on File
11. Manager's Report
12. Attorney's Report
Future Active Agenda
13. Council Member New Business
Commissioner Barnett said he has two issues he will forward to the Village Manager to have on the agenda: 1) A motion to amend the stormwater utility fee as it relates to tax-exempt parcels; and 2) A Research & Development Department. The thinks these items will have no impact on the budget.
Mayor Tully asked that Council make a determination as to the future of the Community Grants Commission. He asked that staff provide the history of the Commission, a description of its mission and a history of the organizations that have benefited from its funding. He also asked about the financial consequences to the Village if the Community Grants Commission is returned to its former state.
Commissioner Rheintgen asked whether they are open to searching for an alternative source of revenue. The Mayor said yes; however, if organizations have found outside funding they may not need Village funding. Commissioner Rheintgen spoke about the concept of a Village foundation whereby organizations would leverage their relationship with the Village to get funding.
Mayor Tully adjourned the meeting for five minutes at 7:31 p.m. after which time the meeting would reconvene to discuss Village facilities. He noted that this discussion would take place in the Council Chambers.
Following the facilities discussion, the Mayor asked for a Motion to adjourn.
Commissioner Neustadt moved to adjourn. Commissioner Durkin seconded the Motion.
VOTE: AYE: Commissioners Neustadt, Durkin, Hosé, Olsen, Rheintgen, Barnett; Mayor Tully
Mayor Tully declared the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 9:48 p.m.