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Chicago City Wire

Thursday, November 21, 2019

City of Wheaton City Council met September 23

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Nov 7, 2019

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City of Wheaton City Council met Sept. 23.

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

Councilman Barbier

Councilwoman Bray-Parker

Councilwoman Fitch

Councilwoman Robbins

Councilman Rutledge

Councilman Zaruba

Absent: None

City Staff Present: Michael Dzugan, City Manager

John Duguay, Assistant City Manager

Vince Laoang, Director of Public Works

Robert Lehnhardt, Director of Finance

Paul Redman, Director of Engineering

Sarang Lagvankar, Senior Project Engineer

Kevin Maloney, Forestry Superintendent

Al McMillen, Water Superintendent

Nathan Plunkett, Streets Superintendent

Susan Wallace, Administrative Superintendent

Sean Walsh, Sewer Superintendent

Samuel Webb, Fleet Superintendent

Susan Bishel, Public Relations Coordinator

2. Approval of Sept. 9, 2019 City Council Planning Session Minutes

The Council approved the Sept. 9, 2019 City Council Planning Session Minutes.

3. Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan

City Manager Dzugan stated as requested by the Council, City staff has prepared the 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan before the Council begins the budget process and sets the annual tax levy. City staff also provided information on fund balances, identifying excess reserves that could be used for other purposes. City Manager Dzugan reviewed the fund balances of the City’s major operating funds, which in total have excess reserves (above the policy reserve target) of approximately $5 million. He stated the Council could use these reserves for capital projects, pension liabilities or other purposes.

Assistant City Manager Duguay stated the 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan is a long-term planning tool that City staff uses to identify public infrastructure needs, and it includes 13 categories. Staff has summarized projects and identified expenses and funding sources when they are known. Twenty-one of the projects/concepts fall into the “unfunded” category, with some being defined projects that have been deferred, and some being undefined because they are multi-year, multi-million dollar projects that have not been fully vetted.

Assistant City Manager Duguay reviewed projects that have been completed, such as LED streetlight replacements, new sidewalks, and the Finance Department renovation.

Finance Director Lehnhardt reviewed funding types the City uses for capital projects, including “pay- as-you-go” projects, debt financing (limited to major projects), those from designated funding sources, and capital projects. Accounting funds include the General Fund, Capital Projects Fund and 2018 General Obligation Bond Fund, Motor Fuel Tax Fund, TIF District Funds, and Debt Service Fund. These funds call into the category of enterprise funds, which charge rates/fees needed to provide the fund’s services, or replacement funds.

Finance Director Lehnhardt reviewed the City’s history of capital projects funding from 2011/12 ($5.6 million) to recommended amount in 2020 ($21.1 million). While a significant amount of the total for 2020 is due to the Downtown Streetscape Project, the average over the time period is $10.5 million per year.

Assistant City Manager Duguay reviewed some of the infrastructure studies and programs approved by the Council, such as the pavement management report, sanitary sewer reports and new sidewalk construction program. City staff used the Capital Improvement Plan from 2019 as a base, then reviewed the status of projects and which ones will carry over to 2020. Then, they ranked projects starting with mandatory work, then those that involve risk or liability, followed by those with the ability to use leveraged funding, such as the collector street resurfacing project, which will have approximately 62% of costs covered by federal funding.

Water Superintendent McMillen reviewed capital projects including replacing the stand-by generator at President Street, water main replacement in conjunction with the annual road program, and the replacement of possible lead service lines. In response to Council questions, Water Superintendent McMillen stated staff estimates there are approximately 1,000 lead service lines on private property, and about 100 on public property. Once the meter replacement program is completed, staff will know the exact numbers for the lead private service lines.

Assistant City Manager Duguay reviewed the capital projects fund and staff’s prediction that expenditures will meet revenue levels in two years. The City is proposing $5.4 million in projects.

Senior Project Engineer Lagvankar reviewed capital engineering projects, including the LAFO/FAUS projects, which leveraged federal funding. He stated for the pedestrian tunnel, investigative work is under way and construction is anticipated to occur next year. Other projects coming soon include the Glencoe concrete panel replacement project in the coming weeks, and engineering for the reconstruction of part of West Front Street beyond the boundaries of the Downtown Streetscape Project.

City Manager Dzugan stated the City is nearing the conclusion of the ash tree replacement program, in which the City has spent close to $4 million to remove parkway ash trees and replant new trees over the past 5 years. Forestry Superintendent Maloney confirmed that this is the last year of the reforestation program.

Sewer Superintendent Walsh reviewed the proposed $1.1 million in capital sewer projects proposed, including replacing the forcemain at Elm, and the rehab lining program.

In response to Council questions, Senior Project Engineer Lagvankar stated the City has been using the lining process for more than 30 years, and it is a successful solution in most cases.

To address a Council question about a significant amount in reserve in the sewer fund, City Manager Dzugan stated the City has been purposefully saving, so funds can be used for reducing sanitary sewer backups. The plan should be presented in the next few months. He stated the City will also need funds available to replace lead service lines.

Assistant City Manager Duguay reviewed the parking fund, which has $2.1 million in reserve, but the City will be looking to perform a rate analysis next year. To answer a Council question, City Manager Dzugan stated the capital projects planned include interior painting of the parking garage.

In response to a Council question, Director of Finance Lehnhardt stated the anticipated increase in the parking fund expense is due to costs associated with the new parking payment system, but the City anticipates it will recoup this once an analysis is completed. Director of Finance Lehnhardt confirmed that parking ticket revenues go directly to the City.

To answer Council questions about storm sewer projects in the unfunded category, Senior Project Engineer Lagvankar stated the cycles of heavy rainfall have sped up the need for various dredging projects.

City Manager Dzugan stated the City will need to address the issue of reconstructing ditches in some areas with curbless streets, where in many cases residents have not maintained the ditch design, and they no longer exist. He stated in the past, residents have not been receptive to having ditches reconstructed in the parkway for the conveyance of stormwater.

Engineering Director Redman answered a question about the City’s ability to add storm sewers where no underground stormwater system exists by stating this would be very costly, and the City would need to find somewhere for the water to be contained, which would be very challenging.

Some Council members expressed the desire to complete the Council’s strategic planning session to determine whether there are additional projects that should be added to this project based on new goals, and if some should be removed. City Manager Dzugan stated the projects listed in the Capital Improvement Plan are those identified and dictated by the Council’s strategic goals. He stated this work is planned to address the major concerns expressed by the Council, such as sanitary sewer backups, stormwater issues and street conditions.

4. City Council/City Staff Comments

Councilman Rutledge, Councilwoman Fitch and Councilwoman Bray-Parker thanked staff for their work on developing this long-term plan well in advance of the budget process.

Councilwoman Bray-Parker attended the Illinois Municipal League Conference, and she stated she appreciates the City’s membership and learned a lot.

Mayor Suess acknowledged the PADS Run 4 Home, a successful community event, and he welcomed two new restaurants that recently opened: 302 Wheaton and Altiro.

5. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

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City of Wheaton City Council