Naperville mayor: 'Progress' made toward road district agreement
The city of Naperville's proposal to provide road services for about 866 unincorporated homes in the Naperville Township road district now includes the same level of street sweeping, brush pickup and leaf collection those residents currently receive.
The city adjusted its offer to provide six yearly street sweepings instead of two, six brush pickups instead of one and six leaf collections instead of three -- which meets "the level of services township residents currently enjoy," City Manager Doug Krieger said.
The added pickups and street sweeps increase the city's roughly $1 million cost of providing the proposed services by $83,000, but anticipated savings remain about $717,000 a year compared to road district spending of $1.86 million in fiscal 2015, Krieger said.
The change came after city officials met with Naperville Township Highway Commissioner Stan Wojtasiak and a team of his advisers last week. That meeting followed questions about cost savings raised by a crowd of 300 at a testy annual town meeting.
The agreement now would cover brush pickup, 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 49.3 lane miles of roads, which is the distance a snowplow would need to drive to clear the surfaces.
Wojtasiak said he and the city plans to schedule another meeting next week as the two sides still are working out labor cost differences between road district equipment operators, who are not union members, and city public works employees, who are unionized.
The city has said much of the cost savings would come from labor costs because it would not need to hire all six of the township road district employees other than Wojtasiak to take on the additional work.
Mayor Steve Chirico said it sounded like "some progress" has been made toward an agreement on the controversial road services offer and "that's great."
The idea has sparked disagreements since it became public in February. But during last week's annual town meeting, Township Supervisor Rachel Ossyra said city officials actually informed her of it sooner -- last fall.
And in an open letter to the community, Wojtasiak said he first heard about the idea in November in what he called an attempted "hostile takeover" of the district he is elected to manage.
Early this month, Wojtasiak pledged to negotiate in good faith toward an agreement if the finances make sense. Now a draft of the agreement is being adjusted to reflect recent changes, which also include removal of the township supervisor as a signatory, Krieger said.
Chirico said the city listed the topic on its agenda for Tuesday's meeting to give the public a chance to ask questions or share concerns. But no one aside from he and Krieger spoke publicly on the matter. Council member Kevin Gallaher recused himself to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest because his law firm works for the township road district.