Naperville road district pledges 'good-faith' talks on city contract
Naperville township delayed a vote on the township road district's budget for a month so officials can hammer out the details of a potential road services agreement with the city of Naperville.
Township trustees voted unanimously Wednesday night to continue a public hearing about Highway Commissioner Stan Wojtasiak's fiscal 2016-17 budget until the next board meeting May 10. The township's budget year began April 1.
The delay will give Wojtasiak time to meet with staff members from the city, which is proposing to act as a contractor for maintenance and landscape services along the 16 centerline miles of roads in the township.
While the city has said the agreement could save taxpayers $800,000 a year, Wojtasiak and a group of his advisers say the savings appear to come mostly from decreases in services such as brush pickup, leaf collection, street sweeping and mulch delivery.
The township road district picks up brush, collects leaves and sweeps streets six times a year, but the city proposes one brush pickup, three leaf collections and two rounds of street sweeping in a possible contract of roughly $1 million a year as opposed to the $1.86 million the township road district spent in fiscal 2015. The township delivers mulch, but the city would not.
Opinions from five township residents who spoke during Wednesday's budget hearing were mixed. Two said they support the proposed contract to decrease costs and improve government efficiency. One said he opposes the deal and two urged careful consideration of whether the city's offer actually would provide the same road-related services at a cheaper rate.
"I'm not anxious to see services diminished, and taxes wouldn't necessarily be diminished," Naperville Township resident Scott Julian said. I'm in favor of saving money, but I'm not quite sure this is the way to do it."
Before township trustees agreed to the delay in voting on Wojtasiak's budget, Township Supervisor Rachel Ossyra asked for assurance that he will negotiate in good faith with the city toward the goal of entering into an agreement.
"I will sit down in good faith and discuss the numbers in order to further consolidation efforts," Wojtasiak said.
City Manager Doug Krieger said he is encouraged by Wojtasiak's offer to meet next week to begin those discussions.
Township board members Paul Santucci and Janice Anderson volunteered to sit in on the meeting because the township board is listed as a party to the potential agreement.
"It's not really rocket science -- it's a contract," Anderson said. "I hope we can get this done fairly quickly and save all the taxpayers money."