Naperville Township road issue solved in deal with Lisle Twp.

 
 
Updated 8/11/2016 11:57 PM
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  • Naperville Township Highway Commissioner Stan Wojtasiak, left, and Lisle Township Highway Commissioner Ed Young discuss an agreement in which the Lisle Township road district will provide services for streets under the jurisdiction of the Naperville Township road district.

      Naperville Township Highway Commissioner Stan Wojtasiak, left, and Lisle Township Highway Commissioner Ed Young discuss an agreement in which the Lisle Township road district will provide services for streets under the jurisdiction of the Naperville Township road district. Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

Three months after rejecting a road services deal with the city of Naperville, the Naperville Township road district has found a new partner to maintain its streets.

Instead of a proposed deal of more than four years, the road district is turning to the Lisle Township road district for an agreement of less than a year.

The pact goes into effect Monday. In it, the Lisle district will provide services for about 20 miles of roads under jurisdiction of the Naperville district.

Brush and leaf collection, tree treatments, mowing, mosquito abatement, storm sewer and road maintenance, and snow plowing will be provided at the same level as residents have been receiving, highway commissioners from the two districts, Stan Wojtasiak of Naperville Township and Ed Young of Lisle Township, said Thursday.

"Everything is pretty much going to be status quo," Wojtasiak said to a group of unincorporated subdivision leaders. "You can tell your residents, put their minds at ease: Nothing will be lost. They may see a Lisle truck helping with the brush pickup and people in Lisle may see a Naperville vehicle helping with snowplowing, but it's a community agreement. We'll be working together and we'll be helping each other and everything will stay the same."

The deal will cost the Naperville district $275,000 for 10½ months until June 30, 2017. The two governments will share equipment to conduct the work for roughly 70 miles.

"It should be a win-win situation. I've got a couple extra guys and we'll be able to come over and supplement what Stan needs to get done," Young said. "We're going to use each other's equipment; whichever is the best tool for the job, that's what we're going to use."

Two equipment operators employed by the Naperville Township road district will report instead to work at the Lisle Township garage; two other equipment operators left for different jobs last week in the wake of a $544,325 budget cut approved in May by township trustees, which left Wojtasiak unable to pay all salaries.

Naperville Township Supervisor Rachel Ossyra said the board's 3-2 vote to decrease Wojtasiak's budget "further propelled" him to find a way to cut costs.

"I do commend the road district for taking action to approve efficiencies and reduce costs for the taxpayers," Ossyra said. "I am happy to see that they have finally taken some action."

The public debate over road services for unincorporated Naperville Township streets began in February when the city of Naperville offered to take over maintenance of about 16 miles of roads, saying it could save about $800,000 a year from recent road district spending of $1.8 million.

Wojtasiak rejected the deal, saying the city's savings calculation was overestimated and failed to take into account the city's labor costs and use of subcontractors. Still Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico on Thursday said it's "great news" that the city's offer may have spurred Wojtasiak to find a cheaper way to maintain the roads.

"At the end of the day, we as a city did not care how this efficiency took place. We were just looking at ways that we could go out there and be a part of that solution," Chirico said.

The $275,000 Wojtasiak will spend on the agreement with the Lisle district is less than half the $533,500 budgeted for the agreement proposed by the city. Wojtasiak and Young said those savings could be passed on to taxpayers through the next property tax levy set to be approved late this year. Ossyra said she expects Wojtasiak to follow through and ensure that happens.

Despite the agreement between the two township road districts, voters in the city of Naperville and in unincorporated Naperville Township will see a question on their Nov. 8 ballots about the proposal offered by the city.

The question in both jurisdictions asks: "Should the city of Naperville and the Naperville Township road district enter into an agreement for combined roadway services as proposed by the Naperville City Council on June 7, 2016, in order to reduce the real estate tax burden on all Naperville Township taxpayers?"

The question is nonbinding.

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