Village of North Aurora Committee of the Whole met April 3.
Village of North Aurora Committee of the Whole met April 3.
Here is the minutes as provided by the Committee:
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Berman called the meeting to order
In attendance: Mayor Dale Berman, Trustee Laura Curtis, Trustee Mike Lowery, Trustee Chris Faber, Trustee Mark Carroll, Trustee Mark Gaffino and Village Clerk Lori Murray. Not in attendance: Trustee Mark Guethle.
Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Finance Director Bill Hannah, Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth, Public Works Director John Laskowski, Police Chief David Summer, Village Attorney Kevin Drendel, Water Superintendent Paul Young, Streets Superintendent Brian Richter.
AUDIENCE COMMENTS - None
TRUSTEE COMMMENTS - None
1. Metronet Cable Franchise Agreement
Village Administrator Steve Bosco stated that Metronet would offer the services of phone, cable and internet to homes in the Village. This agreement would be for 6-1/2 years compared to 10 years that Comcast requested. Metronet would still be subject to all of the PEG access requirements that the Consortium negotiated with the Comcast agreement. Metronet is looking for approval to move forward and they have already met at the staff level. Bosco said that Metronet believes they will build out the Village a year from the time that they start. Trustee Faber asked what kind of speed is provided with Metronet’s fiber lines. John Campbell, general counsel and vice president for Metronet stated that they have a range of packages that top out at a gigabyte to the home. On the business side, they would be capable of delivering specialized services that go up to the higher levels of circuits with higher speeds. Faber asked if the pricing will be comparable to other providers in town. Campbell said that Metronet will give more services for the price or similar services for a lower price and that their prices will be very comparable. The Board was in favor of Metronet moving forward. There were no further questions.
2. TIF Façade Request – 14 S. Lincolnway
The property owners at 14 S. Lincolnway have requested $6,820 for new windows for the business. They secured 3 bids. The lowest bid was $13,640. There were no questions. Staff will move forward.
3. 2017 Road Program Change Order
Public Works Director John Laskowski informed the Board about additional construction activities to the recently approved 2017 street maintenance improvements project. This would include pavement patching, widening of Deerpath Road, resurfacing of Monroe Street alley and addressing some of the hazardous sidewalks throughout town. Deerpath Road will be widened from 23 feet to 26 feet. This is a safety concern since the road is very narrow right now and the speed limit is between 45 and 50 mph.
The total cost of these improvements will be $108,646. Staff is recommending these improvements to the existing contract.
Village Administrator Steve Bosco noted that the Monroe Street alley project will be paved from Funds out of the Route 31 TIF Fund.
Trustee Faber said he is in favor of the additional items, with the exception of Deerpath Road. Faber said that if the Village is going to widen its small stretch of Deerpath Road to 26 feet and the County is at 23 feet, they are not going to follow suit. Faber added that he doesn’t want to throw away money to make a small stretch of road wider.
Bosco said that he will contact Kane County before the Village’s next meeting and see if they have any plans to widen to 26 feet. If they say yes, can bring it to the Board for approval. If not, then the item can be taken off of the agenda. The Board was in favor of Bosco’s suggestion.
4. Broadcasting Village Board Meetings
Steve Bosco said that at the March 6th meeting there was discussion about broadcasting the Village Board meetings since it is something that is provided by the Consortium through the dues the Village pays each month. They would bring in their own equipment and provide staffing. They would broadcast on Channel 10.
Bosco asked if the Board wanted to move forward and if so, which meetings would be broadcasted. Faber said that this can be done on our own and it wouldn’t cost any more than what the Village is paying the consortium. Faber said he is in favor of streaming the meetings and archiving them so that people can back and watch past meetings.
Faber asked what the Village pays the Consortium. Bosco said that the Village receives a 5% franchise fee which is paid by AT&T, Metronet (when they come into the Village) and Comcast. Of that, the Village provides the consortium 40% of those fees. The Consortium reimburses 50% of that back to the Village in many cases. Faber said that if the Village is going to continue with them, the Village needs to renegotiate to a lower amount or the Village can consider doing this ourselves for half that price. Curtis agreed that if the Village is providing $50,000 and broadcasting 24 meetings a year, it is costing the Village $2,000+ per meeting. Curtis said it is not a good use of taxpayer funds at this time.
Trustee Carroll said he is in favor of broadcasting the meetings. This will be another avenue for people to keep in touch with the Board. Trustee Gaffino said he was also in favor of broadcasting the meetings.
Mayor Berman said that residents can get the meeting information from the minutes of the meetings and the broadcasting would not add anything. Faber said that residents will get more out of the discussions of the meetings and residents will be more engaged.
Curtis said she was in favor of televising the meetings but does not feel it should be through the Consortium.
The Board was in favor of broadcasting the meetings. Bosco said that there would be a separate conversation about the Consortium. Staff will find out how much it will cost the Village to do this on its own and provide that information at a future meeting.
5. Draft Budget
Bosco thanked the department heads, especially Bill Hannah, for their time spent in preparing for the budget and was happy to present a balanced budget.
Finance Director Bill Hannah reviewed the draft budget.
The following are comments or questions made from trustees regarding the draft budget.
Trustee Curtis questioned spending $15,000 for fitness equipment for a gym at the police department building. Curtis asked if this is something that is needed. Chief Summer said that the space needs analysis was done before the building was built and included this facility. The space is already in the building. At the time it was decided not to utilize the space. Trustee Gaffino said it was due to liability reasons. Summer said that the fitness area was built for police and village employees to maintain their fitness levels. There was a deal made with the Illinois State Police to lease out that space for one of their units up until this spring when they said they would withdraw and move their operations to Elgin. This allowed this space to be used for what it was intended. Bosco said he contacted the Village’s insurance carrier who said they cover villages. They said they would help put signage up by the equipment to make sure the equipment is being utilized correctly. Bosco added that the Village’s labor attorney said that there is no case law that has ever been upheld of someone being hurt at a fitness facility at work, especially if it is off duty, where they can come back and sue the Village. The Village would also have people sign a waiver before using the facility. Curtis said she has noticed that there are a lot of line items for the police lately such as updating vehicles to SUVs, laptops for $23,000 and $55,000 for a new security camera for a 5-year old building.
Bosco noted that the cost of the laptops does look expensive but that is because the laptops the police buy are special tough books and that is why there are $4000 each. Summer added that the laptop is a workstation that taps into the camera system, printers and GPS. It is not a simple workstation that someone would have at home. As far as what should be purchased, Summer deferred this to the IT department which is where the quotes were suggested. Curtis suggested shopping around for the laptops.
Bosco said he can have Dave Arndt come to the next cow meeting for budget discussion.
Curtis asked if the Village is on par with other communities as far as police costs. Curtis said she is starting to question the costs since there are a lot of expenses for the building and equipment for the police.
Trustee Gaffino said that the Lions Club is willing donate money in order to pay for some equipment. Summer thanked Gaffino and said he was not aware of this but that it was good to know.
Summer said that a survey was done involving Aurora, Sugar Grove, Oswego and Batavia and there is a huge movement to move to SUVs. One reason is to be able to get to where you are going no matter the weather conditions. There is also no need to swap out regular tires with snow tires. The amount of equipment in the vehicles is greatly increased. Police have to pick up bikes and other things alongside the road, even stray dogs. This can be done in an SUV much easier than a squad car. Batavia reported seeing an improvement with gas by between 2 and 3 miles per gallon. It is a trend in law enforcement to go to SUVs.
Trustee Lowery said that the cost for the SUVS is $230,000 and asked what the cost would be for 5 regular squad cars. Hannah said he thought it might be a difference of $2,000 or $3,000 per vehicle. Bosco said no matter what vehicle is chosen, there will be an $8,000 - $10,000 change out of any vehicle.
Gaffino asked if the Village hires out the work for the change out or if it is done in-house. Summer said the Village uses a third party vendor and that the vehicle is ordered to be wired a certain way to minimize the work that is needed by the third party vendor. Curtis asked why these vehicles are only lasting 4 or 5 years. Summer said the mileage exceeded 80,000 or 90,000. These vehicles operate in extreme conditions, 24 hours a day in some cases. The engine is idling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Trustee Carroll asked, if money is the problem, if alternative revenue sources are available so that the Village can move forward. Carroll said he want to see our officers fit and engaging in wellness programs and is in favor of the fitness facility. Lowery said that as long as it is utilized, it will be well worth the money.
Curtis said when she looks at the trend lines for all the departments over the last 5 years. The other departments are flat. In the police department, the trend increases each year. What is attributable to this increase? Hannah said the pension costs come out of each department. Faber said the Village has also added contributions to the police over the last few years. Curtis asked if we have seen an increase in demand of our services. Summer said 88% of our budget is based on salaries and staffing. The rest is negligible to that point. When taking into account Union contracts, cost of healthcare, cost of benefits, hourly rates of pay, necessary overtime for critical shortages, 88% of that is salary related. Summer also stated the police department has the highest department as far as employees with 30 sworn officers.
Trustee Gaffino asked Hannah what the plan is for crack sealing. Hannah said that the Village has $100,000 in the MFT Fund for next year.
Bill Hannah said that there will be a follow up discussion and questions on the agenda for the next Committee of the Whole meeting on April 17th. A public hearing will be held on May 1st and Approval of the budget is scheduled for May 15th.
Motion to adjourn made by Trustee Carroll and seconded by Trustee Lowery. All in favor. Motion approved.