Naperville Township residents share concerns with city's road takeover plan

  • Naperville Township resident Steve Grobl shares concerns a task force of township residents has discovered in reviewing a road services proposal from the city of Naperville.

    Naperville Township resident Steve Grobl shares concerns a task force of township residents has discovered in reviewing a road services proposal from the city of Naperville. Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/13/2016 10:12 AM

A task force of Naperville Township residents explained concerns with the city of Naperville's offer to provide services now handled by the township road district to more than 300 peers Tuesday at the annual town meeting.

With signatures on 381 petitions, task force members encouraged representatives of both governments to slow down discussions about the potential road services agreement until a more thorough analysis can be conducted.

 

"We don't want (Highway Commissioner) Stan (Wojtasiak) to take any action that could turn out to be disastrous," resident Robert Hoffman said.

The city has proposed to begin conducting brush collection, emerald ash borer treatment and removal, forestry, general roadway services, leaf collection, mosquito abatement, mowing and herbicide, storm sewer maintenance, street sweeping, streetlight maintenance, winter operations and potentially capital services for 16 centerline miles of roads now under jurisdiction of the township road district.

The roads equate to 49.3 lane miles, which is what a snowplow would have to drive to clear the township's roads.

The city has said the proposal would save $800,000 a year from Wojtasiak's fiscal 2015 spending of $1.86 million. But Wojtasiak and the task force of residents say that estimate fails to account for the city's overhead costs and the lower level of street sweeping, brush pickup and leaf collection services it is offering.

"The numbers don't make sense," township resident Doug Engel said.

One resident of the more than 25 who spoke said he supports the proposed agreement. But the rest brought up concerns about safety, lack of representation and the difficulty of going back to road district services if the proposed 4-year agreement proves to be undesirable.

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If the agreement is approved by Wojtasiak and the city council, it could start as soon as July 1 and last until March 31, 2021. The city could buy the road district's trucks and equipment, and Wojtasiak said the road district garage on North Aurora Road would have to be liquidated.

"The decision to eliminate Naperville Township road district services is a one-way street," resident Heather Bejda said.

"If it comes to fruition," Wojtasiak said about the agreement, "there is no going back."

Wojtasiak said he is committed to meeting with city officials to negotiate.

"I know we'll find a solution that's going to be satisfactory to all involved and all taxpayers," Wojtasiak said.

A meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed but is expected to be rescheduled, Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger said.

"I'm looking forward to the meeting to sit down and work through an agreement," Krieger said Tuesday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Mayor Steve Chirico requested to speak during the town meeting but was told he could not because he is not a resident of the township. His house is in Lisle Township.

Residents said they value their ability to call Wojtasiak when leaves clog their storm sewer or a heavy snow falls.

"In a rural area, if we do not get the services to plow our streets, our children are not safe," Robert Moffett said.

While the city says its proposal could provide cost savings, Bejda said that does not ensure property tax savings for residents. Plus, she said, the township road district's line -- at least on her tax bill -- is a small cost.

"To me," she said, "Stan and his crew that take care of my streets is worth way more than $5.86."

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