November 7, 2014

Council Update

Councilman Grant Wehrli read the Mayor’s Proclamation declaring November 6, 2014 as Anderson’s Bookshop Day in the city of Naperville. The honor comes about as the store celebrates it’s 50th anniversary.

The group then got down to the business at hand, discussing a proposed $3.2 million tax levy increase, bumping it up to $49.1 million. This would help alleviate a projected budget gap for the next fiscal year, though the city would still be down about $11 million.

Council was reluctant to stick at that number, wondering if there might be other avenues to explore for cutting costs. Some members said, “not really.”

“There’s not a lot of things we can defer, the head count is near about the bottom, that it can be. Maybe we’ll find a position or something that as Councilman Fieseler pointed out through attrition something we don’t have to refill, but I don’t know where we will find these big numbers at this point,” said Councilman Steve Chirico.

With a potential shortfall looming, many feared leaving the city in a position to have to borrow money or dip into their savings to cover debts, thus lowering their bond rating which is currently the highest available. City Manager Doug Krieger reminded the council that the tax levy increase proposed merely needed to be an estimate, and could be adjusted after it was made available for public inspection.
The final decision was to lower the request by $1.1 million, setting it at $48 million. A hearing will be held on the proposed rate on December 2.

The final topic of the night was the 2.4 acre Water Street Development Project. Among the items at issue were the placement of a transformer, as well as parking problems that could be caused when events are being held at the on site banquet center. The developer assured the group that the transformer would be out of the way, hidden in a planter bed. He then addressed parking shortages.

“We did set up contingencies, a valet parking contingency. Valet parking was always part of the equation as a general amenity in the district, but we’ve also added a contingency for offsite overflow parking for high demand events as a contingency. It’s just to handle those high demand special events,” said Jeff Prosapio, Director of Project Management for Marquette Companies.

That wasn’t enough to satisfy all of the members.

“We’ve gone from way too big to too big, we’ve had grossly not enough parking to seriously not enough parking, now the finances are even more in question in my opinion, the traffic flow doesn’t work, so I’m not going to beat on this but it has not improved since 2007 on a lot of levels and I will not be supporting it,” said Councilman Grant Wehrli.

Despite some opposition, the council voted seven to two to move forward with the development. The final step is to work out the financial details, the developer is hopeful he will then get the green light to begin construction in December.

One last bit of business, Bill Novack, Director of Transportation, Engineering and Development agreed to reach out to the contractors on the Rt. 59 construction project to ask them to tidy up the appearance of the area as the holiday season approaches, as a courtesy to local businesses trying to attract shoppers.


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