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May 15, 2018

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 Walus, Commissioner Earl, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner White, Commissioner Hosé, 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 Consent Agenda, 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 2018-7773 - A. Minutes:  Council Minutes - May 8, 2018

Motion:  Commissioner White moved to approve the minutes as presented.  Commissioner Waldack seconded the motion.

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried by voice vote. 

4. APWA Presentation

Mayor Tully introduced Dave Lawry, member of the National American Public Works Association (APWA) Board of Directors and Public Works Director of Schaumburg. 

Mr. Lawry said Nan Newlon was named as a 2018 Top Ten Public Works Leader by the APWA.    This award is about the public works profession and the achievements in an individual's career.  He congratulated her on her exemplary performance.  Since 1960, 580 professionals have received this award; 27 were women and Ms. Newlon is the first woman in the Chicago metro chapter.  He then read the award and presented it to Ms. Newlon.

Nan Newlon, Director, Public Works, said an award such as this "takes a Village."  It takes a lot to bring this award together including innovation, a high level of service and a team to bring all the components together.  She said she has an amazing Public Works team made up of engineers, managers, maintenance workers and people working all hours of the day and night to make sure their level of services is superior.  It is a great team to work with and all departments work together to get things done.  This is not a solitary award.  This is a Top Ten Village and a Top Ten Public Works Department.

Mayor Tully said on behalf of the Council and the entire community, they could not be more proud of her and the award could not be more well-deserved.  He said the Village has celebrated its outstanding Fire Department and Police Department achievements, and Public Works is always there as well, often behind the scenes making sure the community receives the high quality of service they have come to expect.  He noted that this recognition is included in the APWA Reporter publication.  He congratulated Ms. Newlon for her award and thanked Mr. Lawry for attending the meeting and making the award presentation.


Mayor Tully proclaimed the week of May 20-26, 2018, as Public Works Week in the Village of Downers Grove.

He presented the proclamation to Ms. Newlon.  He noted that the Public Works Open House will be held on June 7, 2018.  The Open House has been moved to June in the hopes that more school children will be able to visit this year.

Mayor Tully then proclaimed the week of May 13-19, 2018, as Police Week.  He presented the proclamation to Deputy Police Chief Mike Devries. 

He said the annual ceremony in honor of Officer Richard Barth, killed in the line of duty in 1974, will be held on Thursday, May 17 at 1:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 339 4th Street.  This will be the first ceremony held without Officer Barth's mother, who recently passed away.

Mayor Tully proclaimed the week of June 3-9, 2018, as National Garden Week.  The Downers Grove Club is celebrating its 91st anniversary.    

June Vandervest, President, accepted the proclamation.  She said the Garden Club takes care of the Rigsby Memorial Garden, the military garden at the cemetery and Maple Grove as well as Gregg House garden in Westmont and invited people to visit these sites.

5. Public Comments

This is the opportunity for public comments.

Connie Schmidt, Chair, State of Illinois Sierra Club, noted that the Sierra Club has joined in the DuPage Monarch Project.  Downers Grove was one of the first communities to sign on in support of this project.  June is National Pollinator Month and the State has issued a proclamation of support.  She presented a poster to the Village and asked that it be displayed in the lobby.

Ken Lerner, 4933 Whiffen, said he is with the Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance.  He expressed his appreciation to the DuPage Monarch Project.  He noted that Ms. Newlon has been instrumental in securing a pollinator garden in the vicinity of the Belmont Train Station.

Mayor Tully said he is glad to see this come to this level of progress as he knows there has been interest in the community.  He complimented Ms. Schmidt on the beautiful poster.

6. Consent Agenda

COR 2018-7774 - A. Claims Ordinance:  No. 6261, Payroll, April 13, 2018; No. 6263, Payroll, April 27, 2018


BIL 2018-7775 - B. Bills Payable:  No. 6394, May 15, 2018


MOT 2018-7770 - C. Motion:  Authorize $17,355.00 to Affiliated Customer Services, Inc., for Fire Alarm Systems at Fire Stations #3 and #5

Summary:  This authorizes a contract to replace fire alarm panels and devices.


MOT 2018-7750 - D. Motion:  Authorize $2,792,999.76 to K-Five Construction Corp., Westmont, IL, for 2018 Street Resurfacing Contract B

Summary:  This awards a contract for the 2018 Street Resurfacing Contract B to K-Five Construction Corp. of Westmont, Illinois in the amount of $2,792,999.76.


MOT 2018-7769 - E. Motion:  Authorize an Amount Not to Exceed $100,000.00 to Infrastructure Management Services, LLC, Rolling Meadows, IL, for Pavement Condition Assessment Services

Summary:  This authorizes a contract with Infrastructure Management Services, LLC (IMS) of Rolling Meadows, Illinois, in the amount of $100,000.00 for Community Investment Program (CIP) ST-056. This amount includes a 4.5% contingency.


RES 2018-7764 - F. Resolution:  Authorize a Local Agency Agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation for Maple Avenue Street Resurfacing

Summary:  This authorizes a Local Agency Agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for the use of grant funding to resurface Maple Avenue between Main Street and Fairview Avenue. 




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

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners White, Waldack, Walus, Earl, Hosé, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: None

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried.

7. Active Agenda

RES 2018-7752 - A. Resolution:  Grant Historic Landmark Designation for 1323 Maple Avenue

Summary:  This grants historic landmark designation for 1323 Maple Avenue. 



Motion:  Commissioner White moved to adopt "A Resolution Granting Historic Landmark Designation for 1323 Maple Avenue," as presented.   Commissioner Waldack seconded the motion. 

Mayor Tully said Shanon Tully was unable to be at tonight's meeting, but extended her congratulations to the Millers.

Mayor Tully thanked the Millers for bringing this forward.

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners White, Waldack, Walus, Earl, Hosé, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: None

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried.

Following the vote, Mayor Tully presented a certificate to the Millers.


ORD 2018-7759 - B. Ordinance:  Amend the Wine Boutique Liquor License Classification

Summary:  This amends the Class "W-1" Wine Boutique liquor license classification. 


Motion:  Commissioner White moved to adopt "An Ordinance Amending the Wine Boutique Liquor License Classification," as presented.   Commissioner Waldack seconded the motion. 

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners White, Waldack, Walus, Earl, Hosé, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: None

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried.


ORD 2018-7761 - C. Ordinance:  Amend Provisions of Chapter 9, Office of Emergency Management

Summary:  This amends Chapter 9 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code - Office of Emergency Management. 


Motion:  Commissioner White moved to adopt "An Ordinance Amending Provisions of the Office of Emergency Management," as presented.   Commissioner Waldack seconded the motion. 

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners White, Waldack, Walus, Earl, Hosé, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: None

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried.

8. First Reading

9. Mayor's Report

Mayor Tully said the next Coffee With The Council will be held on Saturday, May 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Downtown Market, Main Street Train Station.

The Downers Grove Township will hold an Armed Forces Day dedication on May 19, at 10:00 a.m. at the Oak Hill/Oak Crest Cemetery.

The 7th annual Cupcake 5K will be held on Sunday, May 20, at McCollum Park.  It will start at 8:00 a.m. for children; 8:30 a.m. for adults.  This supports the fight against Batten disease through Noah's Hope and Hope for Bridget.

10. Council Member Reports

Commissioner Hosé said the annual EDC luncheon was held on Friday, May 11.  Cornerstone awards were presented by Mayor Tully to Packey Webb Ford, Mission BBQ and Ashley Home Furniture.

Commissioner Waldack said the downtown market, sponsored by the Indian Boundary YMCA, will be held every Saturday from May 12 through October 20.  He noted that the Council will not meet for two weeks.  The Summer Nights car show will run from May 25 through August 31 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Fridays.  The Memorial Day parade will be held on May 28.  More information can be found at

Commissioner Earl said the Fishel Park band shell concerts begin on May 29.  The concerts are held on Tuesdays and begin at 7:00 p.m. She encouraged residents to attend.

Mayor Tully said the annual Memorial Day service will be held at Fishel Park at 11:00 a.m. on Memorial Day.  He noted that May is Historic Preservation Month.  He said there are 37 days until Rotary Grove Fest.

11. Manager's Report - Committee Room

Mayor Tully asked for a motion to recess to the Committee Room to discuss the update to the 2017-2019 Long Range Plan.  

Motion: Commissioner White moved to recess.  Commissioner Waldack seconded the motion.

The Mayor declared the motion carried by voice vote and the Council recessed at 7:36 p.m.


INF 2018-7778 - A. Information:  Update to the 2017-2019 Long Range Plan

Mayor Tully reconvened the meeting at 7:44 p.m.  He asked Village Manager Dave Fieldman to introduce the item.

Mr. Fieldman introduced the issue, which is an update to the 2017-2019 Long Range Plan which includes strategic goals, trends and issues, solutions and strategies, and priority action items.  He said three meetings are planned to discuss the Long Range Plan.  Tonight's meeting will focus on General Fund sustainability.  In June, the topic will be priority action items and in July the topic will be the other post-employment benefits (OPEB) action item.  He said that similar to last year, Council is to provide updates or changes to the plan. 

The General Fund is the Village's main operating fund.  The long-standing issue with respect to the General Fund is that major revenue sources are flat or declining, and not keeping pace with the growth in expenses.  Solutions and strategies to address the issue are long-standing and include reduction of personnel expenses while increasing operating efficiencies, enhancing the existing revenue base, seeking new sustainable revenue sources, and reducing reliance on state shared revenues. 

Key expenses are personnel including public safety pensions and OPEB liability.  Personnel expenses make up about ¾ of the Village's budget.  The Village is required to make annual contributions to the Police and Fire Pension Funds.  In 2018, the increase was $553,850.  The increase for 2019 is anticipated to be $400,000.00.  In addition, post-employment benefit liability continues to be challenging.   

Recent actions include restructuring the Police Department staffing resulting in a reduction of 2.6 fte and a savings of $400,000.  The plan is to continue to eliminate positions as they become vacant, as appropriate.  Over the last decade, about 75 positions have been eliminated.  He said staff continues to find operating efficiencies.

Mr. Fieldman then addressed revenue that is flat and declining.  With respect to sales tax, $11.4 million was collected in 2018; in 1998 sales tax was $11.4 million.  He noted that on July 1, 2017, the state began holding back 10% of the state income tax for one year, and there is talk of making this permanent.  Utility taxes collected were $5.2 million in 2018 and $5.4 million in 2003.  The state holds back 2% of the home rule sales tax as an administrative cost. 

Mr. Fieldman reviewed recent actions saying that there are four sectors of the local economy that are strong and growing: income, property values, services and on-line retail activities. The challenge is that municipalities under state law are only allowed to tax one of those four categories - property values.  He noted that the Village also implemented a 1% food and beverage tax which is performing as budgeted at about $1.5 million and is likely to grow. 

The Manager said that staff will attempt to solve as much as possible on the expense side, but will also consider recommending increasing rates of existing revenue sources including perhaps food and beverage tax, property tax adjustment, a levy for operations, or adopting new revenue sources. 

Mayor Tully asked about the total contribution for public safety pensions for 2018 and 2019.  Mr. Fieldman said staff would provide that information.

Commissioner Hosé noted that the Village doesn't control the public safety pension amounts. The figure is determined by the state.

Mr. Fieldman said that the amount is $6.5 million.

Commissioner White commented there were no surprises in the report and he thinks staff is on the right path. This report gives him more optimism than what he's seen in the past.

Commissioner Barnett asked what part of the report caused him to be optimistic.

Commissioner White replied the flattening of the revenue and expenses. Pensions will flatten. He thinks staff is doing an outstanding job and has an excellent handle on things. He added that the Village has alternate revenue opportunities if necessary.

Commissioner Barnett noted that personnel is down, and in the last decade payroll has consumed an additional 15% of the total revenues. He said 80 people have been dropped from the payroll. He expressed the need to start thinking about how to manage this when they add in OPEB. He thinks there is nothing in the report that is sustainable. Taxes won't increase and the state won't help the Village. He believes the Village does not have enough money to operate long term.

Mayor Tully said they are on track for the 2017-2019 Long Range Plan. They cannot do this for another eight years. He thinks the best thing they can do is to lay the groundwork for the next Council.

Commissioner White commented that they don't have enough information for long-term solutions. He said he is not inclined to make radical changes until at least after the November elections. The Council is aware of the issues. They have to wait and see what will happen.

Commissioner Barnett said that they have ten years' worth of data available to them, and things have gotten materially worse. They cannot throw a plan out to see how the community reacts. He believes if they miss this opportunity they are doing a disservice to the Village because they know that 2019 is going to be worse materially.

Commissioner White replied that he does not think it is prudent to raise taxes and put the money in the bank at zero interest rate. He wants revenue sources that can be adjusted quickly.

Commissioner Barnett said that they have avoided doing things.

Mayor Tully responded that the Council has the opportunity in the next 12 months to identify options and engage the community on revenue and expenses. He is not suggesting a referendum as they were elected to govern. They don't have an immediate crisis right now to deal with, so the Council can focus on the options and what the community wants the money spent on. He thinks the community needs to be involved in what direction it wants the Village to go.

Commissioner Hosé said that the revenue side is a worthwhile discussion. They have the opportunity to lay the foundation for future Councils. Potential revenue sources that are growing are either not within the Village's power to touch or are not liquid. He thinks they have to try and avoid relying on revenue sources that are declining, and they need to lobby for more tools to solve the problems.

Mayor Tully suggested perhaps they should explore some organizations outside of the area/state to find what other innovative means might be available for future councils.

Commissioner Barnett commented that those conversations are not quick. The process for laying the groundwork takes time. This is a community that has embraced situations that has cost them a lot. He is concerned and they should start the process now.

Commissioner White said that Downers Grove is willing to pay for quality services. He thinks the way to lay the groundwork is to explain that ISO, CALEA, Community Development, Public Works services are not free. He thinks the public should know that if they do not support certain services, they should tell the Village. The public needs to know that if you do support the services, when something occurs, the Village will have to raise taxes. He thinks they can engage the community similar to how District 99 did. He also thinks staff is doing what needs to be done.

Mayor Tully said this goes back to something they talked about a while ago, and he referenced a slider scale with the cost of services for key services so that people could select services and see what it costs. That made people realize that the services had costs connected to them.

Commissioner Walus said she appreciates the staff bringing this to the Council now so that they can research/survey potential options.

Commissioner Waldack said there are three things to consider which are to increase revenue, cut costs and improve services. These are just good business decisions. He said the Council knows what they are facing and they can only cut out so much. There are band-aids available and there are options. He said they have to think about property taxes. The Village has a good reputation and a good bond rating. The Village stands in good stead as compared to some other municipalities and he would like to see all of the municipalities get together and have a serious revolt against Springfield. Commissioner Waldack said that they need to have a strong public relations move to explain what the Village is doing and what it costs to get it done. He thinks they do a good job of explaining pension costs and meeting Village obligations. Short term, he said the Village is on target; however, long-term, there are challenges. He favors a big fight with Springfield.

Commissioner Earl noted that there is a big community event occurring in 37 days. She suggested they should utilize that opportunity to provide educational materials and reach out to the community to determine what they think.

Mr. Fieldman said that staff recognizes the unsustainability of the General Fund. Staff lives this every day and there is a day-to-day balance-the-checkbook action that is challenging and real. Actions on the staff and Council side over multiple years included cutting police staff by several positions while still increasing accreditation ratings. On the Fire Department they cut staffing and raised the ISO rating twice. They cut the General Fund staffing and raised the bond rating twice. He said that it is possible to cut personnel and increase services. He noted that when this began in 2008 staff/Council demonstrated they could cut expenses and raised the tax levy twice. In 2013 the Village created the stormwater utility and the creation of 20 educational videos. He noted the institution of a food and beverage tax last year. The Manager pointed out that there is a commitment on the part of Council and staff. He said this has been a decade of tough policy-making revenue decisions and of increasing revenue when they needed to do so. He noted that staff doesn't think this is a situation where they are asking for anything tonight, because if there were major issues, they would have heard about them tonight.

Commissioner White responded that is why he is optimistic.

Mayor Tully stated that they accomplished this with thoughtful, mindful planning. They need to use this time and their resources to plan for the next issues down the road.

Mr. Fieldman said that in June staff would present some priority action items.

Commissioner White commented that the tax burden in Downers Grove is among the lowest for DuPage County.

Mayor Tully agreed that they should use the Rotary Grove Fest opportunity as well as the Coffee with the Council to address the community.

Commissioner Waldack said he did not doubt that this Council would step up and do what it has to do.

Commissioner Barnett reiterated that there's a lot of work to be done to explain the issues and subjects. There are many residents who have no idea of the challenges the Village faces in providing the services the community wants.

Commissioner White added that he thinks the EDC needs to manage and aggressively grow and be laser-focused to preserve the sales tax revenue the Village has now.

Commissioner Waldack asked when the last survey was conducted and the cost.

Deputy Village Manager Mike Baker said it was done 12 years ago. 

Commissioner Waldack said it was probably time to do it, and was interested in the cost associated with it.

Commissioner Barnett commented that they have to think about the long-term, decide whether the goal is to do more better or do everything they've already done and hold it at that point.

Mayor Tully noted that they have learned that people do want to pay for things, but depending upon the cost they may not choose to do so.

1. Rich Kulovany suggested showing the public a chart of the expenses and revenues, when expenditures are greater than revenues.  He also referenced the dollar bill chart included in the budget that is a breakdown of the percentage of distribution to local government entities from a typical tax bill. He referred to the real estate transfer tax that would be part of a closing. Mayor Tully said that they would need a referendum to do the real estate tax.

Commissioner White asked if they could also do a vehicle registration without a permit. Mr. Fieldman said they are looking at this with the Secretary of State's office.

12. Adjournment

Motion:  Commissioner White moved to go into Executive Session pursuant to Section (2)(c)(1) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act to consider personnel matters.  Commissioner Waldack seconded the motion.

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried by voice vote and the Council convened into Executive Session at 8:43 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

April Holden

Village Clerk