VILLAGE OF NORTH AURORA
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING MINUTES
March 15, 2021
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Village Board meeting was conducted live remotely
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Gaffino called the meeting to order.
In attendance: Mayor Mark Gaffino, Trustee Laura Curtis, Trustee Mike Lowery, Trustee Mark Guethle, Trustee Mark Carroll, Trustee Tao Martinez, Trustee Carolyn Salazar
Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Finance Director Bill Hannah, Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth, Village Attorney Kevin Drendel, Public Works Director John Laskowski, Police Chief Dave Fisher.
AUDIENCE COMMENTS – See below
TRUSTEE COMMENTS – None
1. Fairview Concept Review
Administrator Bosco introduced the item, a concept plan for an industrial development off of Fairview Ln. between Smoketree Plaza. and Sullivan Rd.
Director Toth introduced Ben Harris with Ridgeline Property Group. They are interested in developing the 26 Acre site between Sullivan Rd and Smoketree Plaza. The 26 acres is a culmination of two properties, a 22 acre property and an adjacent 4 acre property. The concept includes two buildings. Building A is 258,750 square feet with a height of 36’. Building B is 148,200 square feet with a height of 32’. The proposal includes an eight foot berm as well as a six foot wall to surround the property. Mr. Harris estimates two to four tenants per building.
Mr. Harris explained that the trucks entering and exiting the property will utilize Smoketree Plaza from Rte 31/Lovedale Ln.
Mr. Harris offered job projections, based on similar projects and equations of one employee per 200 square feet in an office setting and .75 employee per 1,000 square feet in an industrial setting, with a total estimate potential of 425 jobs.
Mr. Harris went on to explain the possible positive impact on the “Economic Ecosystem”.
Director Toth thanked Mr. Harris for his presentation and detailed proposal. Toth also explained that there would be zoning issues that would need to be addressed, that would need to go through the public hearing process.
Trustee Lowery asked how far away is the residential area to the west. Director Toth explained that between the proposed site and the residential area is a train track and Evergreen Drive. The residential area is Aurora.
Trustee Curtis brought up the area to the south of the site along Sullivan Rd, which is currently a mix of a few businesses as well as residential. Director Toth said the area is predominantly commercial, the comprehensive plan calls for the area to be utilized for commercial use. Trustee Curtis stated that the project should not be of great impact on residential use. Trustee Curtis stated that she was pleased with the project.
Trustee Guethle also said that he was pleased with the project.
Trustee Carroll expressed concern over the truck traffic entering and exiting the property utilizing Smoketree Plaza from Rte 31/Lovedale Ln. Director Toth explained that Smoketree Plaza was designed for truck traffic, however the intersection would be part of the traffic study, should the project move forward.
Mayor Gaffino asked if there was an estimate of daily truck traffic expected, both Director Toth and Mr. Harris stated that information isn’t available currently, prior to a traffic study.
Trustee Martinez stated that he liked the project.
Trustee Salazar agreed with Trustee Carroll’s concerns about truck traffic moving from Smoketree Plaza to Route 31, however she stated that she liked the project.
Mayor Gaffino stated that he would like to be ensured that there will be ample landscaping between the proposed site and the Comfort Inn.
2. Petition 21-01: Opus 1-99 Corporate Park
Director Toth reminded the Board that this is the third time this project has come before the Board. The primary reason the petition is back before the Board is due to the landscaping issues the Board has previously had with the project.
Director Toth introduced Josh Bauer from Opus Development who stated that it was important that Opus improved the landscaping plan for the benefit of the residents that boarder the project on the north end. Mr. Bauer stated that they have added numerous evergreen trees, they plan on placing trees so there is complete screening coverage, no gaps between trees once fully grown.
Trustee Lowery stated that he felt the plan has vastly improved.
Trustee Martinez agreed and said that he felt that Opus has put forth every effort to give the Board what they’ve asked for.
Trustee Salazar, Trustee Guethle and Mayor Gaffino appreciated the improved landscaping plan.
3. Outdoor Dining
Administrator Bosco stated that the Village Staff had, in the fall, been looking in to helping reimburse business for their outdoor dining expenses during the colder months, he went on to explain why those efforts did not develop in to action. Administrator Bosco stated that the Board decided to refund the liquor license fees for restaurants, breweries and taverns for the current fiscal year and next.
Administrator Bosco went on to detail what orders the Village Board has passed in the past year.
• Executive Order 1 allowed establishments to deliver liquor to homes and sell curbside. This applied primarily to beer and wine. This has since become a state law that expires June 2, 2021.
• Executive Order 2 was to allow businesses to expand outdoor dining or create outdoor dining in adjacent parking lot spaces. This is in effect until there is 100% capacity for indoor dining or until the Village repeals the order.
• Executive Order 3 was an extension of the first Executive Order with the addition of mixed drinks/cocktails in tamper proof containers. This is also due to expire on June 2, 2021.
• Executive Order 4 extended outdoor dining hours from 10pm to 12am on the weekends and 11pm on weeknights.
Kane County did have a program that reimbursed businesses for outdoor dining expenses.
Trustee Curtis stated that the Village should step aside and allow the businesses to get back to business. She said that she felt that the Village has done enough with waiving the liquor license fees and that there are other state and federal programs that business can seek help through. She stated that while the Village has provided assistance for restaurants and bars but not for other businesses in North Aurora.
Trustee Martinez agreed with Trustee Curtis’ statement however he stated that continuing to extend the courtesies such as outdoor dining could help the businesses.
Administrator Bosco responded by saying that the Village can allow some of the current Executive Orders as long as the State does, specifically the Orders regarding alcohol sales. Administrator Bosco stated that he felt that the Village has more control over zoning issues such as extending outdoor dining in to parking lots.
Trustee Martinez asked for clarification on the level of control that the Village has with the Executive Orders. He asked if the state repeals an Order, does the Village have to follow suit.
Administrator Bosco explained that the businesses that have a liquor license in fact hold two liquor licenses, one with the State and one with the Village. Businesses must adhere to State laws, the Orders passed by the Village are structured based on State orders/laws.
Trustee Carroll stated that the Village is in a good financial position to assist the other businesses within the village. He said that he would like to see the latest Federal funding passed along to the Village’s businesses. He suggested waiving business’ water bill as a way to offer financial relief.
Administrator Bosco explained that the funding from the Federal Government comes with restrictions and we are yet to know what those will be.
Trustee Curtis expressed that she understood Trustee Carroll’s stance and his benevolent gesture however she stated that the Village did take a financial hit with the Covid related situations. She also commented that the ways of assisting the businesses that Trustee Carroll had suggested would end up being inequitable.
Trustee Guethle stated that the Village has done plenty of work to assist businesses and the Village should wait and see what the next round of stimulus does to help.
Administrator Bosco said that once the Village knows what guidelines are in place for the third round of stimulus, that information will be passed along to the Village Board.
Trustee Salazar asked if there was any type of relief that the Village offered to businesses aside from dining establishments.
Administrator Bosco stated that the $50 Business Registration fee was waived for all businesses.
Mayor Gaffino agreed with Trustees Curtis and Trustee Guethle, and the Village should stay the course and see where the next round of stimulus leaves the Village and the businesses.
Trustee Lowery said that the Village should stay within the parameters of common sense and stay out of the way while businesses recover and let things happen as it naturally would.
4. Formal FY2021-22 Draft Budget
Finance Director Bill Hannah introduced the Fiscal Year 2021-22
FY 2020-21 Budget PROCESS
• Began Process in early December
• Provided Mid-Year Financial Update to Board on January 18th
• Provided Update to Operations Committee on March 1st
• Draft Budget Finalized Last Week
• Committee of the Whole Budget Overview March 15th
• Follow-up COW Discussion April 5th
• Official Budget Public Hearing April 19th
• Scheduled Approval of Budget May 3rd
Overview of Economic and fiscal Environment
• Better than expected Village fiscal performance during “COVID-economy”
• Fiscal Reallocation/Transfer of Funds via Budget Amendment for future capital projects and vehicle/equipment/IT purchases
• Continued strong development trends in the Village
Lincoln Valley on the Fox
Industrial / Multi-family / Mixed uses development
• Total sales taxes revenue growth (regular 1% and 3% cannabis) up 20% in current year, probably leveling off
Challenging traditional retail environment offset by increase in Use Tax distributions
• 6th strong year of EAV increases and consistent new construction
• Capital funding increased by new MFT TRF and RBI funds
• 2020 Census positive impact per capita revenues
• New American Rescue Plan (ARP) federal funding for States and Local Governments
Financial Overview Summary
• Total Revenues: $24,803,030
• Total Expenditures: $29,133,839
• Revenues Over/(Under) Exp: ($4,330,809)
($6,259,963 w/o Police Pension Trust Fund)
• Total Revenues: $12,962,980
• Total Expenditures: $12,903,695
• Revenues Over/(Under) Exp: $ 59,285
Personnel Changes Draft Budget
• Continuation of staffing to meet service demands and achieve more consistent “effective” staffing levels
Addition of 2 Public Works Laborers (Public Works and Water,)
Est. Cost $75,000 Annually Including Benefits
• Hiring of a new Planner position
Proactively address long-term development issues and challenges, better utilization of current staffing
Est. Cost $80,000 Annually Including Benefits
• Budget takes into account a pause in recruitment ensure no fiscal surprises next few months, will likely move forward later in the summer
• Pay Adjustments for non-union staff of 1.75% to 2.0% based on position ($40,000 adjustments)
Police Officers MAP 2.5%; Sergeants FOP and Public Works Local 150 contracts expire May 31, 2021
• Health insurance costs flat, net decrease with -4% HMO change, $827,562 net employer costs
• No significant changes to overtime, on-call or other payroll costs
• Authorized staffing levels 64 full-time and 4 regular part-time (IMRF 1,000 hours eligible)
Personnel Staffing History
• Incremental increases over the past five years
Police Pension Funding
• Additional Contributions most years between 2014 and 2021 totaling $750,000. Solid % funding and healthy assumptions.
• Net pension liability $13.5M at 5/31/2020. 100%+ funding policy 2040
• 32 Sworn Police Employees
IMRF Pension Funding
• Contributions increasing slightly to $265,000
• $8,960,000 Total GO Debt Outstanding May 31, 2021 (ARS Sales Tax and Water)
• Library bonds paid off January 1, 2021, no more debt backed by property taxes
• Police Station Bonds paid off 1/1/29; Water Bonds paid off 1/1/32; AA+
Capital Fund/Infrastructure Improvements
• 2021 Road Improvement Program Estimated to be $1.9 Million; 3.2 miles; MFT Fund $1.2M RBI/TRF; Capital Fund $700,000
• Public Works Facility Expansion Development
$120,000 Engineering Site Analysis
$500,000 Architectural Design Development
• Tanner Trails Storm Sewer Improvement Project $700K-$1,200K
• Engineering Orchard Gateway Design Phase I $244,266 (funded with STP funds)
• Road PCI Update $25,000
• Ridge Road Storm Sewer Maintenance/Improvements $100,000 (root intrusion)
• Orchard Gateway/Hansen Street Light Replacement (59) C/O Project $475,000
• Rt. 31/Airport Road Phase I Design Improvements $65,000 TIF
• Rt. 31 Sidewalk Connections Project $150,000 TIF
• C/O Riverfront Park Improvements $375,000
2021 Road Program
• Road segments in Pine Creek subdivision
Water/Capital Infrastructure Improvements
• Completion of new Water Tower $1,920,000
• Well #5 Improvements, pump, motor, pitless adapter, demo house, etc. $590,000
• Well #6 Maintenance, rehab pump and motor $235,000
• Completion of RRA/ERP $15,000
• Study watermain river crossings $35,000
• Lead line replacement study $25,000
• SCADA Assessment/Improvements $40,000
• Ongoing replacement/update treatment plants $77,000
• No watermain replacement for 2021; further analysis of comprehensive list and funding priorities during upcoming year, possible future projects 2022-2023
• Focus on maintenance of infrastructure, valves, hydrants, upgrade of meters as needed.
• Purchase of 4 replacement patrol vehicles for Police $203,000
• Purchase new 5-Yard Dump Truck Public Works $170,000
• Purchase replacement vehicle Code Enforcement $25,000 and Water $46,000
• Purchase new vehicle for Village Engineer $39,000
• Continued evaluation of police body camera options $200,000 (high estimate)
• Consolidation of police records data files in current Hexagon system $100,000
• Replacement of Facility Security Access System $50,000
• Purchase replacement Exchange service and licenses $75,000
• Evaluation and potential implementation of document management systems $60,000
• Strategic planning facilitation next year $10,000
• Analysis of Police records workflow processes $25,000
• Contracted Police social worker at PD for 8 hours a week $10,000
• Continued maintenance and repair of Village facilities, HVAC systems
• Update of Village’s Comprehensive Plan
• Landscaping of Village entryway signs $20,000
Revenues – Property Taxes
• Six consecutive years of strong growth
• Taxable 2020 EAV est. at $591,029,613, 5.8% increase from 2019
• New Construction $4,546,544 for 2020
Revenues – Property Taxes
• Tax rate declines 10% for 2019 and 13% for 2020; Debt Roll-off
• $2,585,467 total revenue upcoming extensions
Revenues – Sales Tax
• Total sales taxes estimated to be $5,820,000, a decrease of 1.0% next year; 3% cannabis tax included in numbers
Revenues – Income Tax
• Increase in Revenue in Current Year (19.1%; ext. of filings last year)
• LGDF Distributions; new census numbers impact revenue next year
• Significant variability in receipts, effects of increase in State income tax still being realized, unpredictable
Revenues – Building Permits
• Estimate of $325,000
Revenues – Use Tax
• 26% increase in distributions in current year; Trend continues for next year; $900,000 budgeted for FY 21-22; Increased collection efforts Wayfair
General Fund Revenues Over/(Under) Expenditures and Reserve Level
• Expenditures expected to go down to 62%, policy is 40%-50%
Capital Projects Fund
• Total revenues and transfers in for next year include $500,000 from General Fund
• Reserve at beginning of year $3.6M; End of next year $4.5M (Minimum $1.5M+ Cash Flow Purposes and Future Projects)
Water Fund Revenues
• Water Charges impacted by change in use, efficiencies, weather, increase in ‘21
• Rate increase from $3.55 to $3.70 two-years ago
• Increase in Users to the System; Still One of Lowest Water Rates in Area
• Complete wells and tower projects in ’22
• Analysis of future watermain replacement projects to schedule/stagger (Rt. 31, Backyards, Other Areas)
• Water fund projected ending unrestricted net position of $4.1M at 5/31/2022
Other Fund Notes
• Motor Fuel Tax Fund
Increase in road salt budget to $300,000, crack filling projects $115,000, completion of OG light replacements, use of funds for 2021 roads
Revenues at $1.1M current fiscal year and next fiscal year ($475,000 in years prior to 19-20
• Liability Insurance Fund
No increase in coverage costs last 4 years at $293,610; unknown based on current claims experience if an increase will happen in 2022 costs
• Tourism Fund
Hotel taxes decreased about $20,000 during the year, projected back to prior levels at $75,000; 90% remitted to Council
• Special Service Areas Fund
Same levies as prior years
• TIF Funds
Rt. 31 Increment increase to $535,000, $1.6M in Rt. 31 TIF at end of year; TIF Consolidation process ongoing
• Sanitary Sewer Fund
Major projects completed; maintenance/repair projects under consideration; $1.4M in reserve at end of year
Draft Budget PROCESS
Trustee Curtis asked about the Village’s participation in the Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. Discussion ensued regarding the tax collected from Hotels, of which 90% goes to the AACVB. Trustee Curtis asked if the Village could further investigate the option to eliminate the hotel tax altogether.
Trustee Lowery asked where the remaining 10% of the tax went, Administrator Bosco stated that it went to the Village’s tourism fund which pays for things such as North Aurora Days.
Discussion about what the Bureau and its benefit to the Village and hotels was had, resulting in the idea to have a representative from the AACVB come before the Board to discuss the topic further.
The Trustees and Mayor thanked Finance Director Bill Hannah for his efforts and presentation of the Draft Budget.
EXECUTIVE SESSION – None
Motion to adjourn made by Trustee Curtis. All in favor. Motion approved.