What's proposed in Naperville-area road deal

 
 
Updated 10/13/2016 1:26 PM

The question about road services in Naperville Township that's on the ballots of city of Naperville and Naperville Township voters references a specific date and a specific agreement.

The deal proposed June 7, 2016, by the Naperville City Council is recorded in a 25-page document that says the city would handle 10 categories of work for 16 miles of road district streets for four years and three months starting Jan. 1, 2017, and ending March 31, 2021.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Brush collection, emerald ash borer treatment, forestry, general roadway maintenance, leaf collection, mosquito abatement, mowing and herbicide, storm sewer maintenance, street sweeping and winter operations would be covered by the contract. Two other categories could be added at the township highway commissioner's discretion: capital maintenance and sidewalk repair.

The city says the agreement will save roughly $800,000 a year from the road district's recent spending of $1.8 million.

But the road district says its average yearly spending is closer to $1.4 million, and the city has never proven it can do the work cheaper without experiencing cost overruns and passing those along to road district taxpayers.

The city proposes its yearly costs as follows:

• Jan. 1, 2017, through March 31, 2017 (starting with a shortened year with no capital maintenance or sidewalk repair to align with the township road district's fiscal year): $180,790.

• April 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018: $980,101.

• April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019: $1,001,453

• April 1, 2019, through March 31, 2020: $1,019,697.

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• April 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021: $1,041,841.

Without capital maintenance or sidewalk repair, yearly costs for the four full years would be $531,301, $543,677, $552,766 and $552,766, respectively.

The ballot question asks voters if the two sides should approve the agreement "in order to reduce the real estate tax burden on all Naperville Township taxpayers."

Supporters say the savings are clear and promised by the contract's defined prices.

Opponents say the savings are presumed but not guaranteed because of other clauses in the contract that allow for changes and additions.

Here's a deeper look at provisions in the proposed agreement:

• The highway commissioner would convey equipment and machinery to the city.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• An annual service plan for each fiscal year of April 1 through March 31 would be agreed upon in July of the previous year, including the work to be completed and its cost; the plan could be changed if additional or modified services are needed.

• If an annual service plan can't be reached, the city would provide the services listed in the agreement for the listed cost.

• Until March 31, 2021, the annual cost of services would follow a chart in the agreement; however, additional or modified services still could change the final price. Changes more expensive than $30,000 would require an amendment to the intergovernmental agreement.

• During unforseen circumstances, "the city may provide the services as it deems most efficient" and discuss changes with the highway commissioner afterward.

• The city would retain the right to subcontract all services outlined in the agreement.

• The highway commissioner would not control the performance of services.

• The sides could choose to meet quarterly to review performance.

• Payments would be due quarterly.

• The highway commissioner would continue to levy property taxes to pay the city for road services.

Audience members at a forum about the referendum hosted by the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation were advised to choose their vote based on their answers to two questions:

• Do you think the city has made its case for potential savings? If so, vote yes. If not, vote no.

• Do you think the city of Naperville or the Naperville Township road district should service unincorporated roads and landscape needs of unincorporated properties? If the city, vote yes. If the township road district, vote no.

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