City of Wheaton City Council met June 24
City of Wheaton City Council met June 24.
Here is the minutes provided by the council:
1. Call to Order
The Wheaton City Council Planning Session was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Suess. The following were:
Physically Present: Mayor Suess
City Staff Present: Michael Dzugan, City Manager
John Duguay, Assistant City Manager
Director of Planning & Economic Development Kozik
Director of Engineering Redman
Director of Human Resources Schulz
Public Information Officer Thrower
Public Relations Coordinator Bishel
2. Public Comment
Frank Kohout, 128 N Main St., spoke about the parking payment implementation and concerns related to timed versus customer parking in downtown Wheaton. He spoke in favor of keeping customer-only parking as it is now. City Manager Dzugan stated the evening’s discussion will be limited to commuter parking, and the City will address customer versus timed parking in the next phase of proposed changes.
Elizabeth Hain, 724 Warrenville Road, expressed the opinion that the East Roosevelt Road Corridor Plan is not needed, and she would rather the funds for the study be used for other issues facing the City. Ms. Hain expressed concern with the amount of freedom the plan would give to builders to redevelop East Roosevelt Road, and she urged the City Council to consider not implementing the plan’s suggestions.
Ciaran Bradley, 818 Golf Lane, stated neighboring citizens were not invited to participate in the East Roosevelt Road Corridor study process, and he expressed concern that representatives from Camiros didn’t seek input from neighboring homeowners. Mr. Bradley expressed concerns with the effects that this plan would have if implemented on traffic, safety within neighborhoods, flooding, property values and historical properties. He stated he would like for there to be more opportunity for community input.
Eric Kobus, 425 W. Park Avenue, stated he has concerns with a big box store being incorporated into a commercial corridor on East Roosevelt Road. He cited an example of a former car dealership property along Roosevelt Road in Glen Ellyn that was redeveloped and was not successful.
3. Approval of June 10, 2019 City Council Planning Session Minutes
The Council approved the June 10, 2019 City Council Planning Session Minutes.
4. Wheaton Avenue Bike Study
Assistant City Manager Duguay stated at a previous City Council Planning Session, the Council directed the Downtown Streetscape Project consultants to further review the feasibility of adding a bike lane to the portion of Wheaton Avenue in Phase 3 of the project.
Manisha Kaul of Design Workshop reviewed the previously established list of community objectives that came from stakeholders at the beginning of this process in 2013, which the designers used when developing these plans. The top four priorities included space for outdoor dining; parking; trees and amenities; and public art. The plan stated that the 16 blocks of the downtown were the destination, and because of limited right-of-way on the major streets downtown, the plan made recommendations for where to have sharrows and bike lanes.
Based on the Council’s request to look at the possibility of adding bike lanes to Wheaton Avenue, Design Workshop and Primera presented alternatives that included a bike lane and reviewed how the designs would affect sidewalk width, parking and traffic lanes. Alternative 1 would have a 2-way bike lane on the east side of Wheaton Avenue from the Illinois Prairie Path to Memorial Park. Ms. Kaul stated this design would require the loss of 7 parking spaces, and the bike lane would be 8 feet wide (versus a recommended width of 12 feet). In addition, the route could create a perceived safety concern for cyclists where one lane would be facing traffic. This design would not allow for an amenity zone, and there would be 17 less trees than the current design. Alternative 1 is estimated to cost an additional $50,000 plus design and engineering fees.
For Alternative 2, there would also be a 2-way bike lane in the same segment but on the west side of Wheaton Avenue. Ms. Kaul stated the same perceived safety concerns would be present, plus parking depth would be decreased and multiple driveways could pose an additional safety challenge. This design would also not allow for an amenity zone, plus the loss of 10 trees and light poles. The additional cost would be an estimated $180,000 plus engineering and design costs, including reworking some of the Phase 2 streetscape that is already in progress.
Alternative 3 would involve a reduction of one full lane of vehicle traffic for a 2-way bike lane, and Alternative 4 would add one-way bike lanes on Wheaton Avenue and Hale Street.
Some Council members expressed the concern that without a bike lane in this area, the City is not providing a means for bicyclists to travel north/south through the downtown. Other Council members stated they would like for the City to look at other options in a comprehensive way with the Bicycle Advisory Commission, not on a block-by-block basis.
In response to a Council question on Design Workshop’s recommendation, Ms. Kaul stated they would recommend considering a comprehensive plan that treats the downtown as the destination and determines how to get there and where bike facilities are located. She stated they would recommend further studies looking at West Street as a possible opportunity for a bike lane instead of Wheaton Avenue.
In response to Council questions, Director of Engineering Redman stated the previously developed Bike Plan calls for improvements to some of the streets identified, and the City will need to look at all of these areas to see if they’re appropriate for bicycle facility considerations.
City Manager Dzugan stated if the Council would like to consider Wheaton Avenue as part of a bike plan, the City would need to take Wheaton Avenue work out of Phase 3 of the Downtown Streetscape Plan, as the designers are near completion on design plans and the City will be going out to bid for this work shortly.
The majority of the Council expressed the desire to keep the plan for Wheaton Avenue as is and look for future opportunities to include bike lanes which would bring people to the downtown.
5. Compensation Benchmarking Study
Director of Human Resources Schulz stated the City recently received the results of a compensation benchmarking study by Springsted. This is part of the City’s current compensation policy to keep the City’s compensation at the 50th percentile in comparison with the market. It allows the City to effectively compete for qualified personnel and ensures internal equity by grouping similar responsibilities to the same salary range. Director of Human Resources Schulz reviewed the breakdown of union employees and general occupation employees, who are on a step system, and management and department head employees, who are on open scales.
Springsted compared the City with 14 communities similar in size and other characteristics that make them similar to Wheaton. In Springsted’s review of midpoint salaries, 21 of 30 non-union positions are below the midpoint, with an average of 2.63% overall below the other communities in the market. The largest deviation was department heads, which were an average of 6.57% below average, 0.51% below for management positions, and 0.72% for general occupation positions. The consultant’s recommendation was to bring the pay scale midpoints to the 50th percentile by the amount of each group’s average deviation. Director of Human Resources Schulz stated if implemented, the proposed changes would go into effect May 1, 2020 at a cost of approximately $29,000 for the general occupation positions. She stated there would be no initial increase for the other two groups, as they are open scales.
In response to Council questions, Director of Human Resources Schulz stated the study was approved as part of the budget process, and $13,000 was budgeted for the study. She stated the City has had difficulty in filling some positions. City Manager Dzugan stated it is the City’s policy to look at compensation about every 4 or 5 years, and City staff foresees recruiting becoming more of a challenge with several department heads expected to retire in the next several years.
In response to Council questions about why the City tries to keep salaries at the 50th percentile, City Manager Dzugan stated 68% of the City’s employees are in unions with wages at the 50th percentile, so using this benchmark creates internal equity among employees.
In response to Council questions, Director of Human Resources Schulz stated to remain competitive, the City has sometimes needed to hire applicants in the middle of the range for management positions.
City Manager Dzugan stated the proposed changes will be considered by the Council in the next budget process.
6. Parking Payment Implementation Update
Assistant City Manager Duguay provided an update on what will be Phase 1 of the parking payment implementation plan. This part of the plan will address leased and commuter daily fee parking with pay stations that can be paid using an app, with credit card, or cash. In addition, leased parking will be monitored and enforced with license plate recognition technology. The pay stations would be used by the 37 daily fee spaces located on the west side of Lot 10 and metered 12-hour commuter spaces on Carlton. The recommended changes include making the 4-hour and 12-hour spaces on Carlton south of Childs Street 12-hour paid parking spaces.
In response to Council questions, City Manager Dzugan stated the Wheaton Center parking lot on Liberty Drive is a shared parking agreement with the City that allows for paid commuter parking during the day, and Wheaton Center resident parking at night. Wheaton Center maintains the garage.
To answer Council questions about payments with the new system, Assistant City Manager Duguay stated people who have leased parking permits would not see changes to the way they pay, and daily fee customers would have the additional options of paying with an app or by credit card. The pay stations simply require users to enter their license plate number. City Manager Dzugan stated the City will communicate the changes to daily fee users, and pay stations are anticipated to be implemented in late July or early August.
Assistant City Manager Duguay stated users will have the ability to enter multiple license plates for a single leased parking account, so if drivers have more than one vehicle that they might use for daily fee parking, the system has that capability.
7. City Council/City Staff Comments
Councilwoman Bray-Parker thanked the visitors from Wheaton’s sister city of Karlskoga, Sweden, for coming to visit. She encouraged residents to check out the Wheaton Public Library’s artist exhibit of James A. Bowie, and she wished a happy Pride Month to those residents who are celebrating it.
Mayor Suess spoke about the great experience having the mayor of Karlskoga, Sweden and chairperson of their City Council here in Wheaton, along with 75 baseball players and parents. He stated representatives from Karlskoga invited Wheaton representatives to visit Karlskoga for their 100th anniversary of their form of government.
8. Closed Session - Personnel - City Manager Evaluation 5 ILCS 120/2(C)(1) And Review Of Closed Session Minutes 5 ILCS 120/2(C)(21)
Councilman Barbier moved and Councilwoman Fitch seconded a motion to go into Closed Session for the purpose of discussing City Manager Evaluation 5 ILCS 120/2(C)(1) And Review Of Closed Session Minutes 5 ILCS 120/2(C)(21) at 8:29 p.m.