City of Genoa City Council met Sept. 17.
Here is the minutes provided by the council:
Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson called the public hearing to order at 7:02 p.m. to consider creating Special Service Areas for Units 4 and 6 of the Riverbend subdivision, boundaries of same, and the Levy of Special Service Area taxes for same. Roll call was taken. Aldermen Wesner, Carroll, Di Guido, Winter, Cravatta, Brust, Lang and Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson were present. There were no comments from the public or the Aldermen. Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson closed the public hearing. Motion to adjourn the public hearing was made by Alderman Brust, seconded by Alderman Winter. Voice vote was taken. All voted yes. Motion carried. Meeting was adjourned at 7:04 p.m.
Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson called the regular meeting of the City Council to order at 7:05 p.m. Roll call was taken. Aldermen Wesner, Carroll, Di Guido, Winter, Cravatta, Brust, Lang and Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson were present. Mayor Vicary was absent.
Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Guest Speaker – A Genoa resident, Vincent Silvius expressed his concern regarding the storm drain at the corner of his lot, located at Central Ave & Stott Street. He stated that every winter, the Public Works Department puts the bobcat scoop down to clear it. He indicated that last year, a bunch of dirt was left on his yard around the drain. They did not clear it out during Genoa Days because with all of the dirt, they couldn’t tell that the storm drain is there. Mr. Silvius suggested possibly putting cement around the drain so it isn’t missed and to keep the dirt from covering it. Public Works Director, Rich Gentile responded that he would look into it.
Motion made by Alderman Winter to approve the minutes of the September 3, 2019 regular City Council meeting, seconded by Alderman Lang. Voice vote was taken. All voted yes. Motion carried.
Motion made by Alderman Lang to approve payment of the accounts payables for the first half of September 2019 in the amount of $93,813.54, seconded by Alderman Brust. Roll call vote was taken. Aldermen Lang, Wesner, Carroll, Di Guido, Winter, Cravatta, Brust and Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson voted yes. Motion carried.
ITEMS FROM INDIVIDUALS IN ATTENDANCE – None
DISCUSSION REGARDING FOOD TRUCK LICENSING: Motion made by Alderman Winter to approve an Ordinance creating Title 3, Chapter 7, Mobile Food Vendors, of the City Code of the City of Genoa, seconded by Alderman Cravatta. Alderman Cravatta began the discussion by stating that he handed out a copy of an email that he received from the owners of Open Door Coffee regarding some suggestions of verbiage that they would like to be considered for the Ordinance. The first suggestion was to reduce the $250 annual fee for vendors that do their primary business in Genoa or are home based in Genoa. There was some concern regarding how to determine if a vendor’s primary business is in Genoa, since it’s a mobile food truck. Response was that it would pertain to a business whose mailing address is Genoa.
After some discussion, City Attorney Jack Slingerland indicated that the City cannot make money on Municipal fees for services that the City provides. He stated that he doesn’t believe that there would be a substantial difference in services that that City would provide to a business not based in Genoa as opposed to one that is. If challenged in court, the City may have a difficult time justifying the fee to a resident versus a non-resident. Consensus amongst Council was to reduce the annual fee to $125 for any food truck business; which would cover an in-house background check, an inspection from B&F Construction Code Services and administration review and processing. The next suggestion was regarding signage; that free-standing signs, flags, banners, etc., shall not create physical hazard for pedestrians or vehicles and a photo of the sign submitted with the permit application. After some discussion regarding the number of signs allowed and the City’s right to request signs be taken down, it was determined that Alderman Cravatta would reach out to the owners of Open Door Coffee and suggest they provide us with regulations from Cities where signs are allowed, so we can compare the information that we already have. The last suggestion was in regard to electricity in the trucks. In the proposed verbiage, it refers to a properly sized UL approved card. UL “card” is confusing, as most people are unsure as to what that is. City Administrator, Art Osten suggested changing the word “card” to “connection”. After further discussion, a voice vote was taken to table this item until additional information has been gathered. All voted yes. Motion carried.
CONSIDER INCREASING THE NUMBER OF “A” LIQUOR LICENSES: Motion made by Alderman Brust to approve an Ordinance amending Title 3, Chapter 3, Liquor Control, Section 8, of the City Code of the City of Genoa, seconded by Alderman Cravatta. Dan Emerson, owner of Gillerson’s Grubbery, provided a brief overview of his business. He stated that he has a location in Aurora that has been in business for 4 years and he is in the process of opening another location here in Genoa. He would like to do his own take on a Diner. His menu will include things like biscuits & gravy, poutine, smash burgers and chicken & prime rib specials. He indicated that the restaurant will seat approximately 70 to 80 people and no outside dining at this time. He hopes to be up and running by November. His information was well received by the Council. Roll call vote was taken. Aldermen Brust, Lang, Wesner, Carroll, Di Guido, Winter, Cravatta and Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson voted yes. Motion carried.
CONSIDER REJECTING BIDS, WAIVING THE BID PROCESS AND AWARDING A CONTRACT FOR ASBESTOS REMOVAL AND DEMOLITION OF 131 SOUTH SYCAMORE STREET:
Motion made by Alderman Di Guido to reconsider the previous vote which accepted the bids of Ironwood Environmental Inc. and Alpine Demolition Services for the asbestos removal and demolition of 131 South Sycamore Street that was passed at the regular City Council meeting on September 3, 2019, seconded by Alderman Brust. There were some questions from Council members regarding the property, the City’s expenses and how much would be recuperated. City Attorney, Jack Slingerland stated that he would explain our options and the process during the upcoming agenda item. Roll call vote was taken. Aldermen Di Guido, Winter, Brust, Lang, Wesner and Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson voted yes. Aldermen Cravatta and Carroll voted no. Motion carried.
Motion made by Alderman Di Guido to reject all bids for the asbestos removal and demolition of 131 South Sycamore Street, seconded by Alderman Winter. Roll call vote was taken. Aldermen Di Guido, Winter, Cravatta, Brust, Lang, Wesner, Carroll and Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson voted yes. Motion carried.
Motion made by Alderman Di Guido to waive the bid process for the asbestos removal and demolition of 131 South Sycamore Street, seconded by Alderman Lang. Roll call vote was taken. Aldermen Di Guido, Winter, Cravatta, Brust, Lang, Wesner, Carroll and Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson voted yes. Motion carried.
Motion made by Alderman Di Guido to authorize the City Attorney and Mayor to execute a contract to Northern Illinois Service Company for the asbestos removal and demolition of 131 South Sycamore Street, not to exceed $29,355, seconded by Alderman Brust. Attorney Slingerland explained that the property owner has always had the option of renovating the home, but chose not to. He also explained the lien process, which is similar to a loan foreclosure. The City totals up its expenses and files a notice of lien with the DeKalb County Recorder’s Office. The next step would be to move to foreclose the lien, which would entail going to court, filing a complaint and asking the judge for a court order which could ultimately result in a sheriff’s sale. Notice would be sent to the property owner regarding the complaint and would be given the opportunity to go to court and admit or deny the allegations of the complaint. After a certain period of time, if there is no response from the property owner, the City would be able to go back to court and ask for a judgement that our lien is effective and order the sheriff’s sale. Notification would need to be sent to the property owner again informing her of the sheriff’s sale as well as notification in the newspaper for three weeks. Once the property goes to sheriff’s sale, the City would receive the amount the property sold for, minus the sheriff sale expenses. A few Aldermen expressed their concerns regarding tearing down a 100 year old home that they believe could be renovated and feel that the City would recoup more of its expenses if the house was sold instead of torn down. Alderman Di Guido expressed that although he agrees with not wanting the house to be torn down, he feels the City owes it to the other property owners on that street to ensure their safety. Alderman Cravatta stated that he would like the opportunity to reach out to the property owner to see if she would consider selling the property to save the house from being torn down and to save the City that expense. Roll call vote was taken. Alderman Di Guido voted yes. Aldermen Winter, Cravatta, Brust, Lang, Wesner, Carroll and Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson voted no. Motion not carried.
CONSIDER THE CITY OF GENOA’S REVOLVING LOAN PROGRAM: Motion made by Alderman Winter to approve the City of Genoa’s Revolving Loan Program, seconded by Alderman Wesner. City Administrator, Art Osten stated that there were just a few minor changes to the program. Alderman Brust asked if the zoning changed for the loans. Mr. Osten responded yes; only the businesses in the downtown area are eligible for this program. Roll call vote was taken. Aldermen Winter, Cravatta, Brust, Lang, Wesner, Carroll, Di Guido and Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson voted yes. Motion carried.
CONSIDER AN AMENDMENT TO THE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT FOR RIVERBEND: Motion made by Alderman Winter to approve an amendment to the Development Agreement for the Riverbend addition to Genoa, seconded by Alderman Brust. City Administrator, Art Osten stated that he and Public Works Director, Rich Gentile, sat down with Brian Grainger to come up with a dollar amount for each unit that would be given to the City to cover the cost of property maintenance, in the event that the property owners or association does not upkeep the properties as they should. In order for this to happen, the Development Agreement needs to be amended. These are one time fees and only apply until the Special Service Area’s kick in. The question was asked why there is such a large cost difference between Unit 4 and Unit 6. Director Gentile responded that the homes in Unit 6 are private, so if there are any water or sewer line issues, they are responsible for fixing them, whereas the homes in Unit 4 would just be landscaping, mowing and signage maintenance. Roll call vote was taken. Aldermen Winter, Cravatta, Brust, Lang, Wesner, Carroll, Di Guido and Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson voted yes. Motion carried.
OTHER BUSINESS (ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION & POSSIBLE ACTION)
DISCUSSION REGARDING PROPERTY MAINTENANCE (POSSIBLE ACTION):
Motion made by Alderman Winter to approve the City’s property maintenance priorities as outlined in the memo dated September 12, 2019, seconded by Alderman Cravatta. City Administrator, Art Osten referred to the memo in the packet regarding property maintenance. He stated that the City would be focusing on the downtown area (TIF boundaries), interior and exterior of apartment buildings with 6 or more units and resident/business complaints. Council expressed concern about charging a business for an inspection fee if they have no violations. Mr. Osten responded that if they aren’t charged, the City will have to pay the inspection fee(s), which would ultimately fall on the taxpayers. Council suggested sending out notifications that this is coming, in order to give people time to correct any issues they may have. Another suggestion was to only inspect places that property maintenance issues are visually noticeable. Attorney Slingerland indicated that he didn’t see any reason why we couldn’t do that. John Shipley, owner of 5 businesses in Genoa provided input from his perspective. He stated that if an inspector came into his businesses that he maintains and has passed insurance audits and gave him a bill for the inspection, he would be very upset. He doesn’t believe that residents and business owners should be held to standards, when the City streets are in such disrepair. He also stated that in his opinion, the City Administrator pushes B&F Construction Code Services with inspections and John doesn’t agree with him. Mr. Osten responded that he is only enforcing what was already in place when he started with the City. Consensus amongst Council was to send out notices to give people the opportunity to clean up their yards or fix property issues. Assistant City Administrator, Alyssa Seguss stated that we need to put something in place in order to help the residents that call complaining of unsafe living conditions. The discussion ended with the decision to take some of the suggestions into consideration, make changes and bring back to a future meeting for approval. Roll call vote was taken. Aldermen Winter, Cravatta, Brust, Lang, Wesner, Carroll and Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson voted no. Alderman Di Guido abstained. Motion not carried.
Administrative Report – City Administrator, Art Osten reported that Council will start receiving correspondence in the packets that are stamped “info only”, so no action will be required on that material. He then stated that Attorney Slingerland already touched base regarding the liens process thoroughly. Lastly, he stated that Assistant City Administrator, Alyssa Seguss will be providing an update on current property maintenance violations. Mrs. Seguss stated that we are looking into 2 complaints regarding businesses in the downtown area; 105 South Emmett Street and 304 West Main Street; the Hirsch Building and the building behind it. She stated that the building behind the Hirsch building has 2 shack type things attached to it. The owner has agreed that they need to be torn down and has agreed to work toward getting it accomplished. There has been no response from the owner of the Hirsch building, so the City will be more aggressive in contacting him. Assistant City Administrator Seguss then reported that due to various complaints from tenants at the Wilshire Apartments, B&F Construction Code Services has had to go over there for inspections. They have found several serious code violations and the fees are beginning to add up quickly. That is why it was proposed to charge the property owner for the inspections. Lastly, Alyssa reported that we put a form on our website so property maintenance issues can be reported anonymously if they so choose.
Public Works – Director Gentile reported that the City has always paid to fix or replace mailboxes that have been damaged during snowplowing. He indicated that it’s not the actual snowplow that is hitting the mailboxes, it’s the snow itself. He stated that mailboxes need repair or to be replaced after several years and a lot of mailboxes hang over the curb, which is out of compliance with the post office. The post and front of the mailbox should be flush with curb. Rich would like to post the mailbox compliance flier on Facebook and our website and also add it to the community calendar, to educate the residents and help alleviate having to replace so many mailboxes every year. Rich was asked if we have any dash cams on the plow vehicles to have footage in the event of an incident. He responded no, but he will look into getting some pricing. Resident, Gordon Jones questioned why the City is doing the post office’s job by notifying the residents that their mailbox is out of compliance. Rich responded that the post office won’t do it and the flier includes snow plowing information, which does not pertain to the post office. Lastly, Rich reported that with the City’s approval, IDOT has designed and will be putting in “bump outs” in the downtown area. The City will only be responsible for 20% of the cost, which would only be approximately $8,000. Our Finance Officer, Jan Tures confirmed that we have the money to do this. The bump out’s will promote crosswalk safety, as it will allow pedestrians to be more visible.
Police Department – Chief Smith reported that Homecoming is this Friday. The parade will be at 3:30 pm. There’s a new parade route this year. The parade will turn right on Washington St and finish up by the Middle School. The speed trailer will be moved to Route 23 by the Elementary School. Chief stated that he followed up with the couple on Joshua Lane regarding the parking issues. They indicated that it has improved somewhat. The head coach of the football team apologized to them and brought them flowers. The new police truck is being assembled and equipment is in the process of being installed. Lastly, the School Resource Officer has not left for maternity leave yet.
Mayor’s Report – Mayor Pro Tem Stevenson stated that Closed Session is cancelled due to the lengthy discussions during the regular meeting. All of the Aldermen believe they will be able to attend the next City Council meeting on October 1st.
ANNOUNCEMENTS – Lloyds Landscaping 25th year celebration, September 18th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fall Crawl, Saturday, September 28th.
Motion to adjourn the regular meeting of the City Council was made by Alderman Wesner, seconded by Alderman Cravatta. Voice vote was taken. All voted yes. Motion carried. Meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.