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September 08, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Public comment will be taken electronically and in person.  To submit a comment electronically, please click on the "Submit Public Comment" link on the Current Week's Meeting page of the Village website any time before or during the meeting. Thank you.

1. Call to Order

Mayor Robert Barnett called the regular meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove at 7:01 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Downers Grove Village Hall.

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

2.  Roll Call

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

Absent:  None

Non-Voting: Village Manager David Fieldman, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca, Village Clerk Megan Miles

3.  Minutes of Council Meeting

MIN 2020-8664  - A.  Minutes:  Council Minutes - September 1, 2020

Motion:  Commissioner Hosé moved that the Council adopt the minutes of the September 1, 2020 meeting, as presented.  Commissioner Earl seconded the motion. 

Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried by voice vote.

4.  Mayor's Report

RES 2020-8661  - A.  Materials to be placed on file - Honey Jam Café application for liquor license classification change. 

Mayor Barnett reported that pursuant to Section 3-12 of the Downers Grove Liquor Control Ordinance a public hearing for a liquor license application may be waived if a current license holder requests a change in license classification.  However, the application must be placed on file for a minimum of two weeks subject to public comment prior to the issuance of a new license.  The Village has received a liquor license application from Honey Jam Café LLC d/b/a Honey Jam Café, located at 3000 Oak Grove Road, requesting an upgrade from their existing beer and wine-only license to a full alcohol liquor license.  Mayor Barnett placed the application for classification change on file in the Village Clerk's Office at this time.  Barring any objection, once the two-week objection waiting period has passed, a liquor license shall be issued.

5.  Public Comments

There were none.

6.  Consent Agenda

BIL 2020-8665 -    A.  Bills Payable:  No. 6548 - September 8, 2020

MOT 2020-8653 -  B. Motion:  Award $604,969.60 to A Lamp Concrete Contractors, Inc. for the Springside Avenue and Prentiss Creek Culvert Replacement

Summary: This awards $604,969.60 to A Lamp Concrete Contractors, Inc. for the Springside Avenue and Prentiss Creek culvert replacement

Motion:  Commissioner Hosé moved that the Council adopt the Consent Agenda as presented.  Commissioner Earl seconded the motion. 

Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried by voice vote.

7. Active Agenda

ORD 2020-8638 -  A. Ordinance: Authorize a Special Use for 250 Ogden Avenue to Permit a Personal Vehicle Repair and Maintenance Business

Summary: This authorizes a special use for 250 Ogden Avenue to permit a personal vehicle repair and maintenance business



Motion:  Commissioner Hosé moved to adopt "An Ordinance authorizing a Special Use for 250 Ogden Avenue to Permit a Personal Vehicle Repair and Maintenance Business", as presented. Commissioner Earl seconded the motion.    

Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried by voice vote.

8.  First Reading

9.  Manager's Report

INF 2020-8588 -  A. Information:  2019-2021 Long Range Plan Update

Village Manager Fieldman summarized that this was the last update to the 2019-2021 Long-Range Plan.  He reviewed key issues, new strategies and solutions, and Priority Action Items that would take place over the next several months.  A presentation followed with a listing of the Village's five strategic goals: Steward of Financial, Environmental and Neighborhood Sustainability, Exceptional Municipal Services, Top Quality Infrastructure, Strong, Diverse Local Economy and Continual Innovation. Two key issues were also identified: revenue shortfall and the unexpected public safety pension levy requirements.  Mr. Fieldman also identified objectives:  achieve financial sustainability, maintain service levels, maintain infrastructure at lowest lifecycle cost, and align the Village's response to the magnitude and duration of the economic impact of the pandemic. 

Continuing, Mr. Fieldman discussed the process that would be followed which included a tiered financial approach.  The financial plan for 2021 was presented and Mr. Fieldman explained it would allow the Village to address a gap of up to $8.3 million dollars. Actions, in the order they would be implemented, were depicted on the presentation. The plan called for: 1) controlled expense measures in the General Fund and Risk Fund addressing up to $2.3 million dollars of the gap; 2) revenue enhancements of up to $1.0 million dollars; and 3) a shift of funds from the Capital Fund to the General Fund to cover operating expenses, and if necessary, to use the General Fund's reserve funds.  In addressing the two key components, Mr. Fieldman explained that the Village should continue to pay for public safety pension contributions by levying a property tax increase and, secondly, while revenues are uncertain, the Village should avoid issuing debt. 

Nine Priority Action Items, as identified from the August 18 Village Council meeting, included the following:

Four new projects including 1) an update to the Downtown Design Guidelines and Review process; 2) establish an outdoor dining program for 2021 and beyond; 3) review diversity, equity, and inclusion practices; and 4) negotiate collective bargaining agreements; and three Priority Action Items that were included in the original plan but will not likely be considered by this Council are 1) consider the Downtown Parking Plan; 2) create a stormwater capital projects plan; and 3) develop and implement a facilities replacement and sustainability plan.

Mr. Fieldman emphasized to Council that the plan being presented was representative of Council's policy direction and he was open to comments.  Mayor Barnett summarized the task before the Council and invited input. 

Commissioner Kulovany was fine with what was being presented. 

Commissioner Hosé reminded Council that Tier 2 of the public pension fund was always intended to be a benefit to allow the Village to avoid social security liability, which was the adjustment being seen.  He appreciated the grant application going to DuPage County but was not counting on it.  Overall, Commissioner Hosé supported the plan and extended appreciation to staff's work.  He voiced his support for finding ways to make progress on the facilities.

Commissioner Walus extended appreciation to staff for their work and for Council being able to provide their feedback on the plan since June 2020. 

Commissioner Sadowski-Fugitt extended her appreciation to staff for working on the plan and keeping the Village in good financial health during the crisis.  She supported the plan but pointed out that in the objective to consider modification to service levels excluding substantial reductions, she asked to consider shifting some of the non-filled police positions into social work resources. 

Commissioner Earl supported the plan and felt it was important to continue seeking facilities for the employees and for the public, but could also be on hold for a bit. 

Commissioner Gray reiterated his prior statements for not supporting medical marijuana from an all-cash business perspective, was surprised Council did not discuss other revenue funding sources, and did not want to see the progress made on the facilities project lost.  Lastly, Commissioner Gray voiced the need to adjust service levels so that there is staffing and resources to address those people with mental illness. 

Mayor Barnett supported the Long Range Plan and High Priority Action Items, but emphasized to the public that while the Village was working as a super lean organization it had challenges, especially with the pandemic. He did not believe the Village had the room, within the structure of the organization and the plans made by this Council, to make larger adjustments to the Village's staffing levels. He believed more could be done. As far as new facilities, he was not on the same page as other commissioners and would have hoped to see a few more revenue sources added.  He reminded the residents that the Village Council tried to keep an existing organization intact during the pandemic and find a way to minimize the financial impact on the residents, which has been done.  He recalled the current council and prior council made the commitment to fund the pension system through property taxes. Services to the residents would continue to flow. Appreciation was extended to staff. 

Commissioner Kulovany, while referencing the open positions in the police department and the need for social services, recalled that the minutes from the Human Services Commission did discuss the services that were available through the County and the Township. For the Village to duplicate such services would be challenging. It was important, however, to let residents know about such resources. 

Commissioner Hosé believed that resources needed to be increased and placed appropriately in order to take such responsibilities off of police officers, possibly working with another agency. More discussion would be necessary on the topic. He still struggled with the cannabis matter but also believed that the Village should consider the revenue that could come from it to fund the Village's other priorities. 

Mayor Barnett circled the discussion back and explained what tonight's focus is was. Mr. Fieldman asked whether the topic of recreational cannabis should be a future agenda item. The consensus was yes. Asked if Council wanted staff to consider further revenue enhancements as part of a plan to address a financial gap, the consensus was yes.  Given that information, Mr. Fieldman would return in a couple of weeks with a different financial response plan to increase revenue.  Clarity of the question followed, with staff noting that if a plan was presented in a couple of weeks and Council was not in favor of it, Council could return to the plan being presented tonight. 

If Council wanted more information about changing the plan to further enhance revenue beyond the $1.0 million dollars, Mr. Fieldman indicated he and staff would present various options. Discussion followed among commissioners with a majority of them not in favor of the plan presented by staff.  Mr. Fieldman would make changes to reflect Council's direction. 

Commissioner Kulovany asked how far the facilities matter had gone, Mr. Fieldman indicated that plans had been drawn and money was starting to be spent, but that having certain revenues could restart the facilities project. 

10.  Attorney's Report

11.  Council Member Reports

Commissioner Walus shared that the Bonfield Race/Walk is taking place virtually this year.  Register at

Commissioner Gray reminded the public to take steps to be safe with the pandemic in order to move forward.

Commissioner Earl reminded to mask up to prevent both the flu and the virus.

Commissioner Hosé wished everyone a belated Happy Labor Day and expressed appreciation to first responders, recalling this Friday's anniversary of the 911 tragedy. 

12. Adjournment

Mayor Barnett asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. 

Motion:  Commissioner Hosé made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Commissioner Earl seconded the motion.  

Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 8:11 p.m. 

Respectfully submitted,

Megan Miles

Village Clerk