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April 07, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting is being conducted remotely.  Public comment will be taken via e-mail.  Please email your comments before or during the meeting to mayorcouncil@downers.us.  Thank you.

1. Call to Order

Mayor Barnett noted that to people watching the meeting this evening, everything looks different. He stated that in an effort to follow the Governor's stay-at-home order, most of the Council members would be operating by conference call from their homes. Manager Fieldman, Deputy Manager Baker, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca are in the Chambers. Megan Miles (Village Clerk), Commissioners Hosé, Earl, Walus, Sadowski-Fugitt, Kulovany and Gray are participating via conference call.  He asked that the public bear with the Council for this first attempt to meet via conference call. He said every effort would be made to include all comments and proceedings into the meeting. Tonight's meeting is vitally important. He asked that everyone listen and follow the meeting to the end. The Agenda is available online.

Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

Mayor Barnett led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

2. Roll Call

Council Attendance (Present):  Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Earl, Commissioner Walus, Commissioner Sadowski-Fugitt, Commissioner Kulovany, Commissioner Gray, Mayor Barnett

Absent:  None

MOT 2020-8536 - A. Motion:  Conduct the April 7, 2020, Village Council meeting electronically.

Motion:  Commissioner Hosé moved to conduct the meeting electronically.  Commissioner Earl seconded the motion. 

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners Hosé, Earl, Gray, Kulovany, Sadowski-Fugitt, Walus; Mayor Barnett  

Nay: None

Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried.

3. Minutes of Council Meetings

MIN 2020-8530 - A. Minutes:  Council Minutes - March 10, 2020

Motion:  Commissioner Hosé moved to approve the minutes as presented.  Commissioner Earl seconded the motion.

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners Hosé, Earl, Gray, Kulovany, Sadowski-Fugitt, Walus; Mayor Barnett  

Nay: None

Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried.

4. Consent Agenda

COR 2020-8540 - A. Claims Ordinance:  No. 6516, April 7, 2020

 

BIL 2020-8541 - B. Claims Ordinance:  No. 6353, Payroll, February 28, 2020

 

BIL 2020-8542 - C. Claims Ordinance:  No. 6355, Payroll, March 13, 2020

 

RES 2020-8529 - D. Resolution:  Authorize a Second Extension to the Agreement with On Time Embroidery, Inc., D/B/A Unique Apparel

Summary: This authorizes a three-year extension to the agreement with On Time Embroidery, Ind., d/b/a Unique Apparel, Elk Grove, IL, for the purchase of uniforms for Fire Department personnel in a total not-to-exceed amount of $215,000.00.

A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF A SECOND EXTENSION TO THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND ON TIME EMBROIDERY, INC., D/B/A UNIQUE APPAREL

RESOLUTION 2020-18

 

RES 2020-8537  -  E. Resolution:  Authorize an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services

Summary: This authorizes an intergovernmental agreement with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services for reimbursement of unrecovered costs of ambulance transports through Medicaid.  A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING AN INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTHCARE AND FAMILY SERVICES AND THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE

RESOLUTION 2020-19

 

MOT 2020-8539  -  F. Motion:  Authorize a Three-Year Agreement in the Amount of $46,969.75 for a Palo Alto Networks PA-3220 Next Generation Firewall and Subscription Licensing and Maintenance from Burwood Group, Inc. 

Summary: This authorizes the purchase of a Palo Alto Networks PA-3220 Next Generation Firewall along with subscription licensing and maintenance for three years from the Burwood Group, Inc., Chicago, IL, in an amount of $46,969.75. 

 

Motion:  Commissioner Hosé moved to approve the Consent Agenda as presented.  Commissioner Earl seconded the motion.

Commissioner Earl commented that everything on the Consent Agenda is something the Village really needs to have right now.

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners Hosé, Earl, Gray, Kulovany, Sadowski-Fugitt, Walus; Mayor Barnett  

Nay: None

Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried.

5. Active Agenda

RES 2020-8538  -  A. Resolution:  Extending the State of Emergency

Summary: This extends the State of Emergency for the Village of Downers Grove.

A RESOLUTION EXTENDING THE STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE RESOLUTION 2020-20

Motion:  Commissioner Hosé moved to adopt "A Resolution Extending the State of Emergency for the Village of Downers Grove," as presented.   Commissioner Earl seconded the motion.

The Mayor said that Downers Grove is well-prepared and the Village's Office of Emergency Management functions pursuant to State Code and exists to "prevent, minimize, repair and alleviate injury or damage resulting from disaster caused by enemy attack, sabotage or other hostile action or natural causes or man-made disasters." It is a tool no mayor ever hopes to use, yet here we are. On March 14, 2020, the Mayor of Downers Grove proclaimed a State of Emergency exists in the Village of Downers Grove, The state of emergency was proclaimed mainly in response to the Governor of Illinois declaring all counties in the State of Illinois as a disaster area on March 9, 2020, due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Governor Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order on March 20, 2020, for all individuals living in the State of Illinois except as allowed by the Order. All non-essential businesses and operations were ordered to cease in accordance with the order through April 7, 2020. That date has been extended through April 30, 2020. The state of emergency remains an appropriate tool for the Village during this time. The Mayor said that during the state of emergency he has issued the following executive orders:

Regarding liquor laws, allowing R-1 and R-2 liquor licensees the option to sell prepackaged beer and wine for off-premises consumption;

Regarding utility billing, staying the collection of late payments and penalties;

Regarding parking citations and food and beverage tax, staying the collection of late payments and penalties;

Regarding commuter parking permits, authorizing an extension of second-quarter commuter parking permits through September 30, 2020.

Consistent with Sec. 9-19 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code, the Village Council may extend such a state of emergency and any orders issues by the Mayor in connection therewith until such a time fixed by resolution. To that end this resolution has been prepared to extend the state-of-emergency in accordance with and for the remainder of the duration of the gubernatorial disaster proclamation, which is currently set to expire on April 30, 2020. The resolution before the Council this evening further affirms, authorizes and extends the executive orders issued and previously mentioned during the sate-of-emergency.

Commissioner Hosé said he is in full support with the extension of the State of Emergency and the Mayor's Executive Orders.

Commissioner Earl said she is sorry to see it come to this, but understands it must be done. She thanked Mayor Barnett for leading the Council in this difficult time.

Commissioner Gray echoed the sentiments of Commissioners Hosé and Earl.

Commissioner Kulovany said this is reasonable and responsible. He also agrees with the comments made by other Council members.

Commissioner Sadowski-Fugitt said she agrees and thanked Mayor Barnett for his leadership.

Commissioner Walus added her affirmative vote to the resolution and thanked the Mayor and staff for their work during this difficult time.

Mayor Barnett said there was one question regarding the resolution in the section where the number of cases by W.H.O. is mentioned. The question is whether the Council knows how many COVID-19 cases there are in Downers Grove. The Mayor said that the DuPage County Health Department website has updated figures on the number of cases according to municipality and that is where staff obtains its figures.

 

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners Hosé, Earl, Gray, Kulovany, Sadowski-Fugitt, Walus; Mayor Barnett  

Nay: None

Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried.

6. First Reading

There was no First Reading.

7. Manager's Report

REP 2020-8545  -  A. Report:  Covid-19 Financial Response Plan

Village Manager Dave Fieldman presented a report on the Coronavirus crisis entitled COVID-19 Pandemic Financial Response Plan.  The plan consists of seven topics:  Overview of the issue; goals and objectives; challenges; quantify the issue; strategies and actions; results; and next steps.

Mr. Fieldman began with an overview of the issue as it relates to the Village's budget and financial condition.  He commented that simply put, the pandemic will significantly impact the Village's financial position negatively as many revenue sources are expected to decline sharply, and expenses related to the pandemic response are expected to increase.  He explained that the goal of the Village is to be sustainable and resilient during this crisis, and to accomplish its goals of providing essential services during the crisis and throughout 2020, providing essential services in 2021 and beyond, and being financially prepared to respond to a future emergency. These goals and objectives are consistent with the Village's strategic goal of being a "Steward of Financial Sustainability." Additional objectives in its plan include using a multiple fund response, as the General Fund may not be in a position to respond without the resources of other fund sources. In addition the Village intends to maintain robust health and risk funds anticipating an increase in claims. Additionally the Village intends to align its response with the timing and magnitude of the issue, respond in a manner consistent with State and federal responses; and maintain 50% of the General Fund reserves in 2020 in order to respond to future emergencies or disasters. 

Mr. Fieldman said the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts present many challenges.  There is a great deal of uncertainty about the duration and impact of the pandemic on the local economy.  No one can predict for sure for how long and to what extent the economy will be affected.  Based on information available now, the magnitude of the potential decline in Village revenues could be overwhelming.  Another challenge is the lag time in reporting of many of the Village's major revenue sources.  He said there is a 90-day lag in the reporting and remittances of sales tax revenue.  Finally there is uncertainty of federal and State financial assistance. He stressed the importance of noting that financial assistance is not assured to municipalities with populations less than 500,000.

Mr. Fieldman noted that a key step is to quantify the issue in terms of the financial impact.  He presented a table providing some background information of the Village's General Revenue fund. Total revenue for 2020 is just shy of $50 million. Many of these revenues are influenced and rely on economic activity. Over $27 million of the budgeted revenue comes from sales taxes, food & beverage taxes, income taxes, and building permit fees.  The current economic downturn is expected to substantially reduce these revenues. He added that about 82% of total expenses are used to operate the Police, Fire and Public Works departments, all of which provide most of the essential services including public safety, emergency storm response and snow and ice control. The General Fund maintains the recommended level of reserves equal to 40% of annual expenses, and there is about $20 million in reserve at this time. A decline of economic revenues while still maintaining essential services could strain the General Fund considerably even while reserves are being used to cover the revenue decline. Staff used a range of revenue projections in the preparation of this financial response plan. The most conservative projections show revenue sources declining by 50% or more and property taxes declining by about 25% or more. The most conservative revenue declines can be described as catastrophic and unprecedented.  He said staff hopes the projections shown are wrong; however, if the current economic conditions persist, these revenue declines are possible. It is imperative that the Village exercise exceptional financial stewardship by preparing for an extended economic downturn. Applying the most conservative revenue projections, total General Fund revenues would decline by about 42% in 2020.  This would result in a $20.7 million financial gap in 2020. Less conservative revenue projections would result in smaller financial gaps to be overcome.  A 17% decline in total revenues would result in an $8.3 million gap.  Staff will show how these gaps can be addressed.

Mr. Fieldman said most other funds that are likely to experience revenue decline are funds related to the general fund, capital projects, stormwater, water and parking.

Mr. Fieldman then outlined the strategies and actions the Village intends to take to address the financial gap created by the projected revenue decline. The plan calls for a multi-tiered approach.  This approach allows the Village to scale our financial response as the situation unfolds. He then reviewed a four-tiered response.  Nearly $21 million is available in this tiered response plan.  While the tiers appear in order of planned use, financial conditions may prompt the Village to use a mix of all of the tiers to respond to the crisis. As a first step, the Village will seek reimbursement and financial assistance from the federal and State governments using all legislation and programs available to us.  It is important to note that the funding for local governments in the federal stimulus package does not provide for guaranteed direct funding to municipalities with populations less than 500,000. This means the Village of Downers Grove is not guaranteed to receive financial support, although staff will vigorously pursue such funding.  He said because the Village population is below the 500,000 we do not count on receiving funds in this category. Tier 2 includes over $1.8 million in expense reductions by implementing a hiring freeze, eliminating all but the most essential purchases of supplies, equipment and vehicles, and eliminating staff travel and training and educational reimbursement. Tier 3 includes deferring the construction of capital projects in the Capital and Major Buildings funds and transferring the funds on hand intended to pay for these projects to the General Fund to help cover operational expenses.  About $6.5 million could be transferred into the General Fund with this approach.  Capital projects in these two funds were recently suspended and will continue to be suspended until revenues return to originally budgeted performance levels.  Mr. Fieldman said the Village is actively implementing the first three tiers now.  Tier 4 includes using money from the Asset Forfeiture Fund and up to half of the General Fund reserves.  About $12.4 million is available in this tier.  The Village is positioned to implement Tier 4 actions immediately, should circumstances dictate. He reiterated that, while the tiers appear in order of planned use, financial conditions may prompt the Village to use a mix of all of the tiers to respond to the crisis.

Monitoring the performance of all Village revenues is key to the successful implementation of the plan. Staff will receive information about key revenue sources budgeted to generate $1.86 million within the next three weeks. By April 30 we should have a better understanding of the likely impact to the Village budget.  However, additional key information will not be available until summer. The availability of federal and/or State funds will not be known until May 1, with other sources not being made available until June or July. Each month the staff will have more information about the Village's overall financial condition. It is conceivable that the financial conditions may prompt the Village to take actions beyond those included in the four tiers.  In that event, the Village could consider using reserves in the Enterprise Funds (water and parking funds), the early retirement of the Ogden Avenue tax increment financing district and using the disbursement funds for general operations, and consider steps which would reduce personnel expenses. 

Mr. Fieldman then addressed the results of the plan if all four tiers are used.  The ending balances in many funds will be affected with this response plan.  If all four tiers are used, the General, Capital Projects, Municipal Buildings, and Asset Forfeiture funds would decline by a total of about $16 million due to the use of reserves and the projected revenue decline in each fund.  Mr. Fieldman then reviewed the capital projects that would continue if all four tiers are used.  They are projects that started prior to the emergency declaration and those funded by grants and bond proceeds. Next steps include continuing to monitor all Village revenues, continuing to seek assistance from State and federal governments if funds are made available; continuing to reduce General Fund expenses; continuing with the suspension of capital projects; preparing for the use of Tier 4 and reporting to the Village Council and the public frequently.

Mayor Barnett thanked the Manager and financial team for their work in developing a plan. He then said that a question was made under public comments regarding the closing of the Library. The question related to whether finances used for the Library could help with the Village's present financial situation. Mayor Barnett replied to that question that the Library is an autonomous government with its own governing board. The Library closing will not affect Village funds.

8. Mayor and Council Member Reports

Commissioner Hosé commented that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our Village and our lives in so many ways, many of which might be long-standing changes. He noted that times such as these spotlights what it means to be a community and love our neighbors. Social distancing and staying at home can be a frustrating inconvenience but it presents an opportunity to show love to our elderly neighbors, sick neighbors, first responders who are sacrificing themselves and their health for those in need, or the supermarket/pharmacy employees who are redefining what it means to be an essential worker by risking their own health and safety so the rest of us can continue to function in their own homes. When we fail to follow the stay-at-home order and gather unnecessarily, we fail all of those who risk their own health and safety for us. Now more than ever Downers Grove needs to truly be a community in which we love our neighbors. We should approach this pandemic as an opportunity-an opportunity to step back from an era of constant motion and over-scheduling and focus instead on those we love; an opportunity to put side the easy isolating distractions of technology and embrace its ability to keep us connected to distant family and friends; an opportunity to say thank you to those who are working so hard to keep all of us safe and healthy, and also take the opportunity to comfort those who are grieving a loss or a sick loved one, or those who have lost their job or business and also those who have lost a sought after milestone, a graduation or other celebration. Remember that "joy cometh in the morning."  It will be morning again in our Village with the vitality that we know returning to our streets and our parks and our downtown, and when it does, perhaps we will appreciate it just a little bit more and be just a little bit more grateful for this wonderful community of Downers Grove.

Commissioner Earl thanked the Village staff, Village Manager, Village Attorney, first responders, police and fire, public works, etc. Go out and check that your house address is visible from the street so first responders can more easily find you. If you choose to use a mask and gloves, please make sure that the disposable masks are used once and then tossed away properly.  Be sure to wash the reusable masks. If you can, reach out by phone to neighbors and friends. Most people don't ask for help but if you ask them you might find that there is something you can help with. She encouraged everyone to stay safe, stay well and stay at home.

Commissioner Gray said he is amazed at how well run the Village of Downers Grove is. He said the Village's sacrifice is apparent in times like these. None of us has ever experienced anything as far reaching global corona virus pandemic, and ripple effects will be felt. He said that coping with shelter-in-place puts all of us in this thing together. Recognize worry, boredom and fear and find and extend grace and kindness. He encouraged us to check on individuals in our personal circle, and to remember in chaos that there are better days ahead. If anyone is in need of help reach out and stay strong together.

Commissioner Sadowski-Fugitt thanked the Village staff for the report. The report is more than remarkable and eases some anxiety. If anyone is struggling to find positives, she sees them. If anyone is having a hard time, reach out to friends or contact the Village and get resources if needed from a support community. She asked that we respect the sacrifice of others, be kind as we approach the peak. She wishes everyone to be well.

Commissioner Kulovany thanked the Mayor and staff for the extra effort that's been put in these past weeks. To the budget team and department managers he said they are to be lauded for the fine work they've done. This crisis has had a significant impact on the Village. It's like a primary breadwinner in a family being laid off without employment benefits. He said that people have been asking what they can do to help. He said they should be intentional about shopping in Downers Grove, as the budget relies on sales taxes.

Commissioner Walus commented that health and safety are our top priority. She thanked the staff and Mayor and first responders. This has brought an opportunity to emphasize and be compassionate. She said to keep scheduling virtual happy hours, buy local to keep Downers Grove businesses operating. Remember that we are all in this together. Reach out to someone. Appreciate life on this journey. She is proud to be a member of this community as we live in the best Village. Stay safe, stay healthy and stay home.

Mayor Barnett said the last meeting in Village Hall was on March 10. Old routines have changed and new ones have been established. This is not easy. We miss visiting, miss going to restaurants and seeing friends or visiting houses of worship. But the stay-at-home order is important. Words that didn't make sense before make us think and plan differently. The importance is to know that we can do the impossible. COVID-19 has changed things for years to come. We have to reconsider things that give us meaning. Doing less can mean experiencing more and experiencing differently. Our community is experiencing each other differently - apart, but still together. There are many stories of inspiration and innovation and caring and community; stories that demonstrate yet again that we have the capacity to face any challenge that comes our way. He referenced local business owner Tom Murray and his business, NorthCape.  His company should be getting its outdoor furniture ready for the busy summer season. Instead, his employees are making personal protection equipment now. Mr. Murray said they realized they can do better and this helped to keep their people employed. Mayor Barnett said he has seen people help in big and small ways and he wants people to know that they are seen and heard. He thanked businesses like Great Harvest Bread Company for stepping up for PADS - a critical organization that is stressed now more than ever before.  He thanked residents working independently as the DG Mask Makers making thousands of masks for our healthcare workers. He thanked the churches for adding food pantries, developing distance distribution and extending hours or creating sack lunches for those most in need in our community.  He thanked the high schools for using their 3D printing abilities to make face shields for those on the healthcare front lines.  He thanked local residents for setting up meal trains.  He thanked local restaurants, like Scuttlebutts for donating and facilitating efforts to feed front line people at Good Samaritan Hospital. He thanked the Rotary Club for assisting the Village in securing much needed PPE's as well as supporting a supply drive for Good Samaritan Hospital. He thanked parents and friends for window messages, drive-by birthday parties and scavenger hunts. He thanked everyone who displayed candles and lights last Wednesday evening to shine a little light in a dark time.  In this isolation we are not alone. Our ancestors survived much more. By each doing our part, we can save lives and save jobs. He asked that we continue to look out for each other. We are all in this together. We have to ignore our differences and see each other as human. When this is over we will look back on this time and remember board games, puzzles, the dogs that got three walks a day, and the clean closets, etc. He thanked everyone for watching the meeting and for their efforts to help one another and for pulling together as a community.

9. Public Comments

This is the opportunity for public comments. Please email your comments before or during the meeting to mayorcouncil@downers.us.

10.  Adjournment

Mayor Barnett asked for a motion to adjourn.

Motion:  Commissioner Hosé moved to adjourn.  Commissioner Earl seconded the motion.    

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners Hosé, Earl, Gray, Kulovany, Sadowski-Fugitt, Walus; Mayor Barnett  

Nay: None

Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 7:51 p.m. 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Megan Miles

Village Clerk