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October 20, 2015

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

Council Attendance (Present):  Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner White, Commissioner Vattimo, Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Olsen, Commissioner Barnett; Mayor Tully

Absent:  None

Non-Voting:  Village Manager David Fieldman; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden

The Council meeting is broadcast over the local FM radio station, WDGC. In addition, a tape recording and videotape of the meeting are being made using Village-owned equipment. The videotape of the meeting will be used for later rebroadcast of the Council meeting over the Village cable television Channel 6. 

The Council will follow the rules of conduct for this meeting as provided in Sec. 2.5 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code. These offer the public the opportunity to comment at several points in the meeting. First, immediately following approval of the minutes of past meetings, an opportunity will be given for public comments and questions of a general nature. 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 Active Agenda and the First Reading. 

The Mayor stated that at the appropriate time the presiding officers will ask if there are any comments from the public. Individuals wishing to speak, should raise their hand to be recognized and, after acknowledgment from the presiding officer, approach the microphone and state their name. Remarks should be limited to five minutes, and individuals are asked to 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

MIN 2015-6492 - A. Minutes:  Council Budget Workshop Minutes - October 10, 2015


MIN 2015-6487 - B. Minutes:  Council Minutes - October 13, 2015


Motion:  Commissioner Olsen, seconded by Commissioner White moved to approve the minutes as presented.

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried by voice vote.

4. Proclamation

Mayor Tully read a proclamation declaring October 2015 as Cyber Security Awareness Campaign Month in the Village of Downers Grove.  He noted that this is a serious issue in both the public and private sectors.  The Village believes in transparency, yet must also protect the public it serves. 

5. Public Comments

This is the opportunity for public comments.


1. Dr. Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh, said he had an exchange of e-mails with the Council during the week.  Commissioner Barnett asked him to be more quantitative about his concerns about losing commercial space in the downtown business district.  He said that this came about after he attended a recent Plan Commission meeting regarding development at Curtiss and Washington.  Dr. Goodman said Joe Abel once predicted that special use or residential use in the downtown business district would establish a precedent if there is no business related to the property, and the downtown district will suffer from the lack of business/retail development.  He provided a table to show how much square footage has been dedicated to business use for four pieces of property in the downtown area including 940 Maple, 5100 Forest, 904 Curtiss and 910 Curtiss.  If the proposals presented to the Plan Commission move forward there will be a loss of retail/business square footage in the downtown business district.  Dr. Goodman noted that 910 Curtiss is a catalyst location.  He said what the Village is doing by nibbling away at retail development in the downtown area is not in the public interest.

Mayor Tully said those views will be taken into account when the Council looks at the Comprehensive Plan.  At one time there was a call for a prohibition for anything but business on the first floor if they did not generate sales tax.  That was never implemented, and now there are many businesses occupying first floor locations in the downtown area that are not generating sales tax.  There are many different perspectives in the redevelopment of the downtown area.

Dr. Goodman commented that the key to community is balance, and that is the Council's responsibility.  The amount of sales tax generated in the downtown is small as compared to other parts of the Village.  He said that the Village should be concentrating on support for the people who are moving into the downtown area, who need ways to buy groceries, and other similar types of support.  They should be looking for a balance of various commercial resources to support the residential uses and he does not see this happening.

Mayor Tully said that the balance shifts over time.  Density is also an issue.

2. Rich Kulovany, 6825 Camden, commented that a draft of the Historic Preservation recommendations is on the home page of the Village's website.

3. George Swimmer commented that downtown Downers Grove is dying, and retail is dying.  There are at least two vacant buildings on Main Street.  He urged the Village to put the buildings it owns up for auction.  The TIF is hurting and is deeply in debt. 

Mayor Tully said that the Village-owned parcel has been put up for sale numerous times. 

6. Consent Agenda

COR 2015-6484 - A. Claims Ordinance:  No. 6127, Payroll, September 18, 2015


BIL 2015-6486 - B. Bills Payable:  No. 6222, October 20, 2015


RES 2015-6445 - C. Resolution:  Authorize a Renewal Agreement with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois

Summary:  This authorizes renewal of health insurance claims administration. 




RES 2015-6447 - D. Resolution:  Authorize a Renewal Agreement with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois for Stop Loss Insurance Coverage

Summary:  A resolution authorizing renewal of stop loss insurance coverage.




RES 2015-6444 - E. Resolution:  Authorize Renewal of a Group Dental Insurance Contract with Delta Dental of Illinois

Summary:  This authorizes the renewal of a group dental insurance contract. 




RES 2015-6453 - F. Resolution:  Authorize a Vision Insurance Contract with EyeMed

Summary:  This authorizes a vision insurance contract. 




RES 2015-6446 - G. Resolution:  Authorize a Renewal Agreement with Humana

Summary:  This renews the Medicare Advantage Employer Plan. 




RES 2015-6488 - H. Resolution:  Authorize an Amendment to Joinder Agreement with National Insurance Services Trust for Group Life Insurance

Summary:  This authorizes an agreement for group life insurance. 




RES 2015-6489 - I. Resolution:  Authorize Amendment #2 to Joinder Agreement with National Insurance Services Trust for Long Term Disability Insurance

Summary:  This authorizes a resolution for long term disability insurance. 




MIN 2015-6493 - J. Minutes:  Note Receipt of Minutes of Boards and Commissions

Summary:  Transportation and Parking Commission - September 9, 2015


Motion:  Commissioner Olsen moved to approve the Consent Agenda as presented.  Commissioner White seconded the motion. 

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners Olsen, White, Waldack, Vattimo, Hosé, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: None

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried.

7. Active Agenda

ORD 2015-6470 - A. Ordinance:  Amend Certain Provisions of the International Building Code

Summary:  This amends certain provisions of the International Building Code. 



Motion:  Commissioner Olsen moved to adopt "An Ordinance Amending Certain Provisions of the International Building Code," as presented with an effective date of December 1, 2015.  Commissioner Hosé seconded the motion. 

Commissioner White said he has been researching this matter and has learned about cross laminated timber.  The advantages are greatly enhanced fire safety.  It is still a wood product.  It is commonly used elsewhere.  It is considered viable for a 12-story building.  He feels these types of wood products could be incorporated into Type IIIA format that will satisfy a variety of competing interests.  The new technology allows an "and" solution.  We can satisfy the interests of all parties.  It will cost more than Type IIIA but less than Type II construction materials.  There are many issues such as when the 2015 IBC goes into effect which is when cross laminated timber will be incorporated into the IBC.  Cross laminated timber is hard to light; it is similar to concrete.  We do not have all the information we need which is why there is an effective date added to this motion.  He said this could protect all interests. 

Commissioner Olsen said he appreciates Commissioner White bringing this forward and feels it is worth looking into.  He urged that this be explored with some immediacy.  It is also important to move forward.  He is comfortable with passing the amendment today.

Commissioner Hosé said he appreciates the comments.  He supports the ordinance.  The Fire Department and Fire Prevention Bureau have signed off on these changes and the buildings would be fully sprinklered.  The experts are telling us that this is safe.  The cost of an added increment can be very high.  This is an important move that the Economic Development Commission supports.

Commissioner Waldack said he is intrigued by Commissioner White's findings.  He would consider a motion to table as he has serious concerns.  Type III construction is less safe, noisier and has less longevity.  He spoke of construction and sprinklers.  He said assessors would value Type III construction less and insurers charge more for it.  The only argument in support of this change is to be business friendly.  This is developer friendly, not business friendly.  As soon as this is allowed, building will stop and the projects will be re-planned.  This will lower our standards.

Commissioner Vattimo asked if the Ordinance could be amended quickly to incorporate cross laminated timber.

The Mayor said that by making the Ordinance effective December 1, Council can further explore this.

Commissioner Barnett commented that construction technology is a continuously evolving process, and he has no problem moving forward and making the Village's Code friendlier.  He does not want to rush into something to help three developments.  This subject was given to staff as part of a long-term assignment.  Maple Avenue and TCF Bank were not part of the consideration when this came forward.

Commissioner Hosé said sound-proofing standards are addressed in another part of the Code and would have to be met.  This is hardly being rushed through as it has been discussed since 2011. 

Mayor Tully said this is not a new issue; it has come up countless times.  He said he is not a fan of making policy through fearmongering.  Technology dictates whether this is safe.  The fire safety professionals have spoken in favor of this change.  He does not want people to think that anyone is placing financial gain over safety.  Noise is a design issue, not a build-out issue.  This matter pertains to multi-family structures.  "Business friendly" is being discussed as a broad term.  He also said other towns allow Type III construction.  This is a reasonable and responsible action.  There are very few surrounding communities that ban Type III construction.  It is hardly being rushed, nor is it new.  This is at the direction of the Village Council.  He continues to support this. 

George Swimmer said Acadia on the Green is Type III construction and everything above the first floor is wood.  He has been told that a fire would spread quickly in that building and the water pressure would drop.  Station Crossing is concrete and steel and will not burn down.  He does not like the idea of his insurance rates going up.  This manages risk poorly.  He would like to hear outside experts speak to this as he strongly objects.

Rich Kulovany, 6825 Camden, spoke to the issue of Council taking extra time with respect to this.  He has some concerns about Type III construction.  A concrete and steel building will do better in a fire.  His issue is quality and the Village's reputation.  Acadia on the Green was Type III construction and people complain that they can hear their neighbors.  He asked Council to be more thoughtful with respect to the concerns.  People want the Village to give them some level of protection.  He agrees with Commissioner White's suggestion.  Building to code does not always solve the problems.  He noted that with respect to the floors in his home, they were built to code but they squeaked and he had to rip them up and carpet them to solve the problem.  He is pleased to see the building permit for the Marquis on Maple is for Type II construction.

Commissioner Waldack said that just because a builder pulled a permit, it does not mean they won't come back and change their plan to Type III.  He said he strenuously objects to the term "fearmongering."  It is an insult.  He witnessed a death in Type I construction.  This is a downgrade according to the Assessor's Office.  Type III is less valuable and costs less to construct.  Insurance companies charge more for this type of construction. 

Mayor Tully said no insult was intended. 

Commissioner White said he will vote "no" on this item.  He said that his concern is with Chapter 23 of the Municipal Code, which addresses a one-hour fire rating.  There are other products that can improve the fire rating.  It is not a vote against wood, but he feels we are not taking into account new technologies.   

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners Olsen, Hosé, Vattimo, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: Commissioners White, Waldack

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried 5:2.


ORD 2015-6455 - B. Ordinance:  Repeal Electrical Licensing

Summary:  This repeals electrical licensing.   



Motion:  Commissioner Olsen moved to adopt "An Ordinance Repealing Electrical Licensing," as presented.  Commissioner White seconded the motion. 

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners Olsen, White, Waldack, Vattimo, Hosé, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: None

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried.


ORD 2015-6456 - C. Ordinance:  Amend Electrical Qualification Requirements

Summary:  This amends electrical qualification requirements.   



Motion:  Commissioner Olsen moved to adopt "An Ordinance Amending Electrical Qualification Requirements," as presented.  Commissioner White seconded the motion. 

Commissioner Waldack said he supports the staff getting out of the testing and licensing business, but on this matter, he doesn't think this goes far enough to tighten up measures regarding safety and he will not support this.

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners Olsen, White, Vattimo, Hosé, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: Commissioner Waldack

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried 6:1.


ORD 2015-6457 - D. Ordinance:  Make Amendments to the State of Illinois Plumbing Code

Summary:  This makes amendments to the State of Illinois Plumbing Code.  



Motion:  Commissioner Olsen moved to adopt "An Ordinance Making Amendments to the State of Illinois Plumbing Code," as presented.  Commissioner White seconded the motion. 

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners Olsen, White, Waldack, Vattimo, Hosé, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: None

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried.

8. First Reading

Mr. Fieldman said Items A and B will be discussed in the Council Chambers.  The remaining discussion regarding facilities will take place in the Committee Room


ORD 2015-6460 - A. Ordinance:  Authorize a Special Use for 2212 Ogden Avenue to Permit an Automobile Fueling Station

Community Development Director Stan Popovich said that this is at the northwest corner of Ogden and Finley, at the Shell gas station.  He showed the site plan on an overhead slide.  Mr. Popovich described the property stating the petitioner proposes to redevelop the property, and dedicate a portion of the site to the Illinois Department of Transportation.  The convenience store will be relocated and the car wash will be removed. The fuel tanks will remain, and no new retention areas are required.  Access points will be relocated.  He described the traffic flow for tanker trucks and stacking for fuel stations.  Mr. Popovich noted that this proposal is consistent with the Village's Comprehensive Plan, and all special use standards have been met.

Commissioner Barnett asked whether there is any additional green space included in the proposal, and Mr. Popovich said there would be additional green space on the south and north sides of the site.

Ron Ambrose, petitioner, stated that he prepared the plans before the Council.  He would like to bring this revised facility to the Village.  The car wash is being eliminated, and they have greatly increased the green space.  They have also reduced the size of the canopy.  He believes this provides a better experience overall than what is there presently. 

Mayor Tully said that the petitioner is requesting a special use that is essentially the same as what is already on the site.  This proposal will improve the traffic flow and increase the green space.



ORD 2015-6461 - B. Ordinance:  Adopt the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget in Lieu of Passage of an Appropriation Ordinance

Mr. Fieldman said this is the fourth public meeting regarding the budget, and staff will respond to questions. 

Mayor Tully said there have been many hours of discussion regarding the 2016 budget.  He said the budget is driven by the Long Range Plan and the direction of Council.

Commissioner Barnett spoke regarding the transfer of funds, $300,000, to the stormwater fund.  He said he would like to find a way not to put the full load of pension increases on residents as this time.  He referenced Commissioner Waldack's comment with regard to there being no increase in social security benefits in 2016. There has not been much discussion about the pension levies.  He said they could talk about revenue sources and expenses to attempt to minimize the pension levies.  He recommended putting the $300,000 in the General Fund and increasing the stormwater utility.

Commissioner Hosé agreed with Commissioner Barnett.  The utility should be operated as it was designed.  He said the $300,000 should be used to pay a portion of the pension fund increase.  It should not be transferred to the stormwater fund until Council has a larger conversation.

The Mayor said this was discussed during the Saturday budget workshop.  He has said he is interested in fully funding the stormwater utility.  He is prepared to go forward with the budget.

Commissioner Barnett asked to see what the effect on the tax bill and water bill would be under his recommendation.  If they have a choice to lower the burden on residents, they should consider doing that.

Commissioner White noted that property taxes on seniors can be frozen, so the impact is mitigated.  If the increase is on the stormwater utility, those on fixed incomes will be paying the increased fee.

Commissioner Vattimo said if the $300,000 is transferred to the stormwater fund, the stormwater utility will not increase in 2016 and the Village would still go ahead with projects.  People would still pay the fee, but it would not increase.  People do not want fee increases.  We need to look at the projects and timeline and what people need.  We need to look at the entire scope of the project.  She agrees with the transfer as presented in the budget. 

Commissioner Hosé said that scenario does not raise the stormwater utility fees, but it keeps property taxes $300,000 higher than they otherwise would be.  He thinks is more equitable to raise the stormwater utility fee than the property taxes.

Commissioner Barnett said it is the Council's obligation to set the stormwater utility rate.

Commissioner Olsen said he supports the budget as presented with the transfer.

Commissioner Barnett said Council has a choice to raise taxes or cut costs to cover the increase in the property tax.  He would like to have this conversation.  Council has not discussed sales taxes.  He would like to minimize the impact of the increased pension amount.  There are choices he would like to discuss.

The Mayor said he would recommend increasing the stormwater utility fees to where it was planned to be. 

Commissioner Barnett said he would like to see what the budget would look like if staff was charged with finding $800,000 in savings and the amount of revenue that could be generated by a sales or gasoline tax increase.  He would like to find a way to cover the pension costs without raising property taxes.

Commissioner Olsen said he does not support increasing sales tax at this time as it does not align with the objective of being business friendly.

Commissioner Waldack said people have made it clear that they do not like the stormwater utility and he does not support an increase.  He would like to get rid of it.  He would not mind reducing projects by $300,000 but he knows through the Council conversations that this would not be supported.  People need to know about pension costs.  He is willing to accept the budget as it is.

In response to Commissioner Hosé, Mr. Fieldman said the estimated increase in revenue from a planned increase in stormwater utility fees for 2016 was $300,000.

Commissioner Barnett said sales tax and hotel/motel tax can be funded by people other than residents. 

Regarding the stormwater projects, the Mayor said we have compromised the projects to fit the funding; $300,000 is not enough funding for the projects that need to be done.

Commissioner Olsen said that they are talking in circles and he does not see people changing their minds.

Commissioner Hosé said reducing the property tax levy by $300,000 reduces a homeowner's tax bill by $14.83 per year; increasing the stormwater utility fees by 8.7% increases a homeowner's utility bill by $10.20 per year.

Commissioner Barnett said he appreciates the conversation. 

Mayor Tully asked if the pension amounts have to be levied.

Mr. Fieldman said other revenue sources can be used.

Commissioner White said Council members have talked this issue out and do not agree.

The Mayor said he will support the budget.

Mr. Fieldman said the local gasoline tax can be changed by Council.

Commissioner White said Council members were asked in June to bring forth increases or cuts.

Commissioner Hosé said Commissioner Barnett has been consistently saying we should examine service levels.  It is presented in the budget as well.  He would be interested in seeing what the service levels would look like with cuts.

Mayor Tully said he struggles with the lack of specificity.  If there is something Council members would like to see changed, he suggested they bring it up in the long range planning sessions.  It is not fair to staff to ask them to figure out how to offset the pension increases.  We owe staff mindful direction.

Commissioner Olsen said he felt the long range planning process was great.  Many ideas are offered and considered and decided upon.  The budget is informed by the Long-Range Plan.  This budget is consistent with direction Council gave in the Long-Range Plan.  He is comfortable moving forward.

The Mayor said Council should probably move forward because this budget seems to strike a balance for most Council members.

Commissioner Barnett noted that staff has the best opportunity to be specific.

Commissioner Olsen said this budget strikes a balance.  It aligns with the Long-Range Plan and Council objectives and acceptable outcomes.  It reflects the consensus of the Council.

The Mayor noted that it strikes a balance for 2016, but tough decisions will have to be made in 2017.

Commissioner Barnett asked if he should pursue any additional service cuts or different alternative revenue for 2016.

The Mayor suggested setting the vote for the budget as soon as possible.

Commissioner White he would have to see what the cuts or additional revenue would be before answering Commissioner Barnett's question.

Dr. Goodman said this has been a useful discussion.  There has been no support or consensus for any changes in the budget as proposed.

9. Mayor's Report

Mayor Tully announced that Helping Girls Navigate Adolescence (HGNA) is celebrating their 10th anniversary.  Their annual pancake breakfast is at Ballydoyle's on Saturday, October 24 from 8:00 - 11:00 a.m. 

The Mayor reported that there will be a 5K/10K race, "Be a Hero for Hope," in support of Family Shelter Services on Sunday, October 25.

The Mayor said that Hope's Front Door is hosting a fundraiser on October 23 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Hinsdale Community House.  Tickets are available at

The Mayor also reported on the death of former Community Events Committee member Ellen Pendola.  She was the epitome of celebrating Downers Grove and the Heritage Festival.  She lost her battle with cancer.  She will be greatly missed.

10. Manager's Report

11. Attorney's Report

Pursuant to Section 2.5 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code, the following are presented for Village Council consideration:


  1. An ordinance authorizing a special use for 2212 Ogden Avenue to permit an automobile fueling station


12. Council Member Reports

Commissioner Vattimo said the Economic Development Commission executive committee met last Friday.  Topics discussed included enhancing the sales tax base and changes to the building code.  She also reported that Art Van Furniture will have a holiday light display beginning Wednesday, November 4, 2015.

Mayor Tully called for a recess at 9:24 p.m. to the Committee Room.


INF 2015-6491 - C. Information:  Facilities Sustainability Plan - Committee Room

Mayor Tully reconvened the meeting to order at 9:31 p.m.

Deputy Village Manager Mike Baker said this is the second meeting on facilities planning, a top priority action item.  Specifically, this meeting will involve discussion of the resources that could be used to fund the plan, and will allow the Village Council to identify which resources it would like to consider prior to options being identified and evaluated.

Mr. Baker outlined potential resources including existing revenue, new revenue, existing Village-owned assets and partnerships.

Findings from individual Council member conversations included broad support for the use of existing revenues, significant disagreement on the use of new revenues, unanimous support for the use of existing assets, and significant disagreement on the use of partnerships.  With respect to partnerships, there was an interest in exploring partnerships with other governments, but concerns included that partners were unlikely to provide significant financial support and would potentially increase the project's complexity and uncertainty.  The majority of Council members prefer not to consider use of TIF or private developer partnerships.

Mr. Baker said conclusions reached at this point are that staff should begin to prepare options for Council consideration that would include the use of existing revenues, existing Village-owned assets, and pursue simple partnerships with other governments.

Mayor Tully said he will try to keep all options open, be flexible and consider outsourcing.  He said innovation calls for creativity, flexibility and open mindedness.  He suggested they think of partnerships as not just partnering with another agency to pay rent to the Village, but also on things that need to be outsourced. 

Commissioner White urged staff to follow the directives as stated.  A space needs analysis is needed.

Commissioner Olsen said he agrees with the staff conclusions and agrees that we should start with the broad consensus.  He prefers no new revenue or the use of TIF funds.  New options can be developed if necessary.  He said he is comfortable with staff's conclusions.

The Mayor asked for examples of financial tools to capture revenue from private developers.

Mr. Fieldman said there are a myriad of options regarding new financial tools.

Commissioner Hosé said he would like to see a breakdown of each of the challenges of Village Hall and the Police Department in terms of the stated maintenance and operations.  Options should be analyzed in light of the maintenance and operational issues.  He is concerned as to what the solutions to the problems will cost.

The Mayor said if the solutions do not fully address the issues, it will be necessary to look further.

Commissioner Vattimo said she will be open-minded.  She noted the need for a state-of-the-art Police Department.  She said she supports the direction as stated.  She does not want to move the Police Department and she does not want to raise taxes.

Commissioner Waldack said he agrees with the conclusions.  He would like to know the needs, the price tags and he would like to see proposals.  He will be open-minded. 

Commissioner Barnett said he will wait to see what comes next.  The Village has already spent $300,000 and has previously looked at options.  Complex solutions should be considered in terms of partnerships, financing options and revenues.   

Commissioner Olsen thanked staff for their work on this item, both in terms of preparing materials and meeting individually with Council members.  He is excited about the next steps and seeing options.

Tom LeCren said the referendum was clear:  people do not want to buy a building and do not want the services to move out of the downtown.

Mr. Kulovany asked if the Police Department and Village Hall could be swapped.

13. Adjournment

Commissioner Olsen moved to adjourn.  Commissioner White seconded the motion. 

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried by voice vote and the meeting adjourned at 9:57 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

April Holden

Village Clerk