Winter 2019

In This Issue
Live Christmas Tree Collection
Geneva Wins Best-Tasting Water Award
Plan Your Next Visit To Geneva
Geneva Arts Fair Earns National Kudos
Make Sure To Recycle Properly
City Names 'Art On Fire' Winners
Wine, Cheese & Trees Tickets On Sale
Snow Coming? Move Cars Off Street
Register To Vote In Local Elections
The Latest With City Budget Planning
AT&T Construction Continues
Christmas Walk Memories
City Wins Distinguished Budget Presentation Award
Welcome New Businesses To Geneva
Make School Bus Safety A Priority
From The Blog: Police Chief Offers Winter Safety Tips
Stay Connected To The Geneva Development Scene
Keep Fire Hydrants Clear Of Snow
Recycle Those Old Electronics
Curbside Leaf Collection Update
Schiber Named President Of Public Works Branch
Quick Links
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Thank You for Your Donation!
The City would like to thank the following donors to the Geneva Beautification Committee:

Joy Meade
Steve & Nancie Lillie
Geneva Chamber of Commerce
Dean & Linda Kilburg

Ruth Rovelstad
Emily & Bob Rogers
JoAnn Cregier
Ken & Kathy McNeil

Havlicek Builders
Jim & Sherri Weitl
Lynn Landberg
Safanda Law

Pam Burgeson
Rick & Mary Sturn
Craig & Karen Maladra
Geneva Women's Club

Mike Bruno
SavWay Fine Wines & Spirits
Anne Fleming
Dan & Roberta Edwards

State Bank Geneva
Howard & Valerie Heidlauf
Charles & Barb Radovich

Donations are as of Jan. 1, 2019. For more information on the Beautification Committee, visit the City's website.
Mayor's Message 
Dear Neighbors,
If part of your New Year's Resolution is to read more, then I am proud to recommend perusing a complimentary copy of the City's 2025 Strategic Plan.

Certain to capture the attention of young and old audiences alike, this page-turner is all about the community we call home - Geneva.

Thank you to the citizen volunteers who serve on the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee, who carefully steered this nearly two-year process. The final product is a crisp 25-page document that provides a framework for guiding the decisions that will shape Geneva's future in the areas of Economic Vitality, Strong Governance, Environmental Stewardship, Excellent Municipal Services and Quality of Life.

In the words of the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee, "Through this process, we reflected on our community's accomplishments, identified Geneva's strengths, and acknowledged areas where we must strive to improve. Each and every step in this process has been an affirmation of our commitment to transparency, accountability, and developing a quality plan that will inform decision making."

At its essence, the purpose of the 2025 strategic plan is to "articulate a vision for the community's future."

Deliberately crafted with aspirational language, the strategic plan beckons all community stakeholders to cultivate the multitude of discussions that will ensue and "work the plan" to seize opportunities that present themselves for the betterment of our community.  

I believe we should aspire to be more than just residents of Geneva. We should be "resident artists," together, refining, re-coloring, re-imagining and re-affirming a portrait of a community that we are proud to display in a gallery for all to enjoy. This portrait reflects who we as Genevans desire to be - and become.

Therefore the invitation to participate in the never-ending creation of the painting we call Geneva requires each and every one of us to share new colors, innovative tools, fresh styles and uninhibited creativity. 

The 2025 strategic plan may not make Oprah's Book List, be awarded the Pulitzer Prize and certainly not earn the Caldecott Medal (as there are no pictures), but I can assure you the greatest reward for the work performed will be achieved when we as citizens of Geneva gaze at the portrait we create and respond with a collective, "nicely done."  

My best,

Kevin Burns
Live Christmas Tree Collection Scheduled For January

Geneva residents will have several opportunities to dispose of their live Christmas trees during January.

Trees will be picked up on residents' garbage collection day the weeks of Dec. 31 and Jan. 7 by Lakeshore Recycling Systems, the City's waste hauler. People must place their live tree at the curb no later than 7 a.m. on their scheduled day. No refuse sticker will be required during this timeframe.

Lakeshore's collection will continue the week of Jan. 14, but residents will need to use a refuse sticker to have their tree removed.

Ornaments, hooks, nails, tinsel, garland, tree stands and other hard materials should be removed from the trees prior to disposal. Trees placed in bags at the curb will not be accepted.

All wreaths and roping must be discarded with the regular trash.

Garbage collection the week of Dec. 31 will be pushed back one day to Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5 due to the New Year's Day holiday. The normal Thursday-Friday schedule will resume the following week.

For more information about Geneva's refuse services, call the City's Public Works Department at 630-232-1501 or visit the City's website.

Geneva Wins Award For Best-Tasting Water In Kane County

(From left): Mike Martens, Water Supply Treatment Supervisor; Nick Burgoni, Water Plant Operator; and Mike Anderson, Water Plant Operator accepted the Kane County Water Association award for best-tasting water Dec. 20.

Geneva took home top honors in a tie with Batavia for best drinking water during the Kane County Water Association's annual taste test competition in December.

Communities competed in the water association's blind taste test where water was judged on clarity, odor and taste. The nine municipalities who participated in the contest included Aurora, Batavia, Elgin, Geneva, Montgomery, North Aurora, South Elgin, St. Charles and Sugar Grove.

This is the third time Geneva can claim friendly bragging rights after previously winning the best drinking water award in 2009 and 2010. The countywide win qualifies Geneva to compete in the Illinois State Taste Test held in Springfield in March during the Illinois section of the American Water Works Association Watercon 2019 conference.

"Winning the taste test competition is great recognition for all the hard work and professional pride that the City's Water Treatment Plant staff takes in providing high-quality drinking water to Geneva customers every day," said Bob VanGyseghem, the City's Superintendent of Water & Wastewater.

The City's Water Treatment Plant was built in 2008. The $24 million investment was made to provide the best municipal treatment technology available, reverse osmosis, where water is passed through a membrane filter at high pressure. The facility produces drinking water at a hardness of five to seven grains, which eliminates the necessity for customers to install water softeners.

To learn more about Geneva's Water Division operations or to view the City's water quality report, visit the City's website.
City Unveils Interactive Visitors Map

Love visiting and shopping in Geneva? There is a (mobile-friendly) map for that.

Whether you are planning a night out, weekend getaway or a staycation, you can discover plenty of options for fun in Geneva with just one click.

Explore Geneva, an interactive mobile map, makes it easy for visitors to explore places to eat and shop, locate services and find fun things to do.

Explore Geneva is a one stop resource for visitors and residents for convenient exploration of all of the City's unique places. The map also helps users find free public parking, choose nearby restaurants and shops, and plan a fun Geneva experience. Helpful markers show the location of businesses with pictures, contact information and live links to websites/Facebook pages. The user can sort by the following categories: Eat, Shop, Play, Stay, and Live.

The Explore Geneva interactive mobile map is a new tool that will enhance the visitors experience by highlighting the bounty of restaurants, shops, and other businesses that make Geneva a premier destination. 

So as you plan your next visit to Geneva, we hope you use the map to hit all your favorite spots or to try a new locale along the way. It is a lovely time of year to experience Geneva. For more information or to make suggestions, please contact the Economic Development Department at 630-938-4555 or email Business Development Analyst Jennifer Becker.

Geneva Arts Fair Ranked As One Of Nation's Best

The Geneva Arts Fair was voted the sixth best arts festival in the country, according to ArtFair Calendar, the No. 1 juried art fair listings website nationwide.

The site's reader survey mentioned the annual summer fair is located in Geneva's beautiful historic downtown and just steps away from the Metra train station, which provides easy access for art aficionados both near and far. ArtFair readers also rated Geneva for hosting the fourth best small town art fair in the United States.

The Geneva Arts Fair has "high quality art exhibitors, an impressive selection of art mediums and styles, and an awesome location in downtown with many restaurants/cafes/coffee shops in the area," the survey stated in Geneva's nomination. "Artists are willing to discuss (their work), and some are working on new pieces, so you can get to know them and watch their magic come to life!"

One additional comment noted Geneva's event provides "unique artists and great small town fun."

ArtFair's seventh annual survey had Geneva competing with much bigger cities, including Chicago which took the top spot for the Old Town Art Fair.

The Geneva Arts fair is sponsored by the Geneva Chamber of Commerce. The 2019 festival is scheduled to be held Saturday and Sunday, July 27-28 along Third Street in the City's downtown.

Make Sure To Recycle Properly

Many people recycle as evidence by the number of recycling carts at the curb each week. But are you recycling right?

Recycling collection companies are constantly challenged by "contamination" of prohibited items ending up in recycling containers. Sometimes one non-recyclable item can spoil an entire batch of otherwise good materials.

Kane County Recycles shared the poster above representing common items accepted in most recycling programs in Illinois. For more information about Lakeshore Recycling Systems program in Geneva, visit the City's website
City Honors 'Art On Fire' Hydrant Design Contest Winners

The Geneva City Council recently recognized talented artists who showcased their creativity in the City's 2018 "Art on Fire" hydrant design competition.

Vinny Siracusano won first place for his "Construction Worker" hydrant located at 1772 S. Randall Road (pictured). Anne Cate Douglass' "I Need A Hero" hydrant at James Street and River Lane, and Kathryn Newcome and Liz Whittaker's "Uncaged" at Route 31 and Fulton Street earned second and third place honors respectively.

The City of Geneva, in collaboration with the Cultural Arts Commission, has sought artists to adopt and paint fire hydrants throughout the community. More than 90 hydrants have been painted the past six years as part of "Art on Fire," and the program has been well received by residents and visitors who have taken notice of the artwork in the downtown and surrounding areas.

You can watch the "Art on Fire" recognition ceremony during the Nov. 5 City Council meeting or take a virtual tour of all our painted hydrants.

Thank you to all the artists who participated in last year's contest.

Tickets On Sale For Wine, Cheese & Trees Fundraiser

(Click the poster to purchase event tickets)

When Snow Arrives, Be Prepared To Move Parked Cars Off The Street
snow plow
When winter weather hits Geneva, residents should be prepared to move their parked cars off the street to ensure the City's plowing operations run efficiently throughout the community.

The City strongly recommends residents and visitors move their cars from the streets when a snow storm is forecasted to avoid being ticketed or having their vehicles towed. Parking is prohibited when snowfall reaches 2 inches on posted " Snow Emergency Routes" (main collector streets with higher speed limits) and 3 inches for residential roadways. These secondary streets include alleys, cul-de-sacs and dead ends.

The Public Works Department's primary objective during winter storms is to remove snow and ice to provide safe driving conditions for motorists and emergency vehicles. The Police Department works cooperatively with Public Works to enforce parking bans declared during significant snow events. With the cooperation from residents and visitors, Public Works crews will be able to maximize the effectiveness of their snow removal operations.

When road conditions become hazardous, "Snow Emergency Routes" are cleared of snow and ice first before crews will transition to residential neighborhoods. Parking is not permitted on secondary streets at any time within 12 hours following a snowfall of 3 inches or more or until a street has been plowed to the curb. During a major snowstorm, secondary streets will receive one pass in each direction to provide access for motorists and emergency vehicles. When the snowfall has ended, all streets will be plowed curb-to-curb.

The Geneva Public Works Department also can call for restricted parking on the basis of a forecast by the National Weather Service or other weather agency for snow, sleet or freezing rain. If weather conditions are predicted to be hazardous to motorists, a parking ban may be put into effect to promote public safety and welfare on the roadways. Access to snow emergency routes and secondary streets is important to providing emergency services to all residents and visitors as quickly as possible.

During major snow events, people can find plowing updates posted on the City's website. People can subscribe to receive those updates by clicking the "Notify Me" button and selecting "Community Alerts." Information also will be available on the City's Facebook and Twitter accounts.

In the event of a light snowfall of less than an inch - and plowing operations are not necessary - salt will be lightly applied to snow routes, schools, hills, curves and intersections with stop signs.

Geneva plows 244 total lane miles during a snow storm. More information about the Geneva's snow plowing operations can be found on the City's website. Plowing questions can be directed to the Public Works Department via an online request that can be accessed by clicking the "Report A Concern" button
Make Sure To Register To Vote In Upcoming Local Election
With local elections coming this spring, Geneva residents should make sure they are registered to vote.

The Consolidated Election is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, and voters will be casting ballots for candidates running for the Geneva City Council among other local races. One seat in each of the City's five aldermanic wards is up for election in 2019.

Election information, including a candidate list, registration details and early voting sites, will be posted on the Kane County Clerk's Office website.

As a reminder, campaign signs should be placed on private property and not on public parkways, which are typically found between the sidewalk and the street. See the graphic below for proper placement of campaign signs on private property. Signs found in the parkways will be removed by the City's code enforcement officer.

Local elections make the biggest impact on issues impacting Geneva. Make sure to exercise your right to vote.

City Council To Review Draft Budget In January

As Geneva rung in the start of 2019 earlier this week, the City's budget planning process for 2019-20 and beyond is well underway.

The City Council kicked off the budget process in November during a strategic planning workshop with the City staff's senior management team and a member of the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee. During a day-long workshop, the City Council prioritized goals from the strategic plan that provides the roadmap to the budget development process.

The 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal year budgets will be presented to the City Council Monday, Jan. 7 for their initial review and discussion. Following the meeting, the draft budget will be available for review on the City's website and at City Hall, 22 S. First St. The community will be able to weigh in on the budget during a public hearing, which is tentatively scheduled for the Monday, Feb. 4 City Council meeting.

Between Jan. 7 and Feb. 4, a part of each City Council and Committee of the Whole meeting will be dedicated to reviewing the various fund budgets. In addition, questions/responses regarding the budget posed by aldermen will be posted to the City's website each week.

Geneva residents supported the City's non-home rule sales tax referendum last spring which provided for an additional 0.5 percent sales tax to help supplement other revenue streams that have either fallen flat or have declined. As such, the proposed 2019-20 fiscal year budget includes increased expenditures in public safety pension contributions, general capital projects and capital equipment purchases.

The property tax rate also will decrease during the next budget year from 0.605411 to an estimated 0.562045, an overall decrease in the tax rate of 2.9 percent. What does this mean for homeowners? A home valued at $350,000 will see an approximate $48 decrease in the City's portion of their next property tax bill.

The City's budget is actually a combination of 37 individual budgets, all having different purposes and different legal restrictions. Elected officials and professional staff are committed to a balanced and fiscally sound budget plan that will continue to provide high quality public services, support the vision as set forth in the strategic plan and manage challenges that each new year brings.

AT&T Starts Construction On Geneva's West Side

AT&T will be replacing outdated cable television, Internet and phone service equipment located in utility easements throughout Geneva, starting on the City's west side.

Construction was originally scheduled to begin in October, but the project was postponed as the company selected a new contractor. Work started Dec. 10 and will continue through mid-February, weather permitting, primarily along Peck Road from Keslinger to Bricher roads. The impacted subdivisions include Prairie Ridge, Westhaven and Prairie View.

Crews are boring through the easements, which are typically a strip of land running along the street, sidewalk, rear lot line or between two lots. New conduit is then installed underground.

After construction is finished, AT&T will restore lawns this spring where digging has occurred. Residents are then encouraged to water the impacted areas following the grass repairs.

Questions regarding the project should be directed to AT&T manager Manessa Monson at 847-888-6846 or via email.

AT&T has indicated its underground equipment and infrastructure will be updated throughout the City, but the company has applied for only one construction permit to date. A construction map and more information are available on the City's website.   
Geneva Christmas Walk Creates Holiday Memories

The Geneva Christmas Walk brought cold weather but plenty of holiday cheer in early December. Relive the memories through photo galleries posted on the City's website and Facebook page.
City Administrator's Office & Administrative Services News: Budget Award

The City's budget practices continue to earn national acclaim after Geneva received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the ninth straight year.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada honor reflects the commitment of the City "to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting," according to the association. Geneva's 2018-19 budget runs from May 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019.

Geneva had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation to earn the award. These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity's budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device. Budget documents must be rated "proficient" in all four categories, as well as the 14 mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.

Award recipients have "pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America," according to the association. The Government Finance Officers Association is a non-profit organization serving nearly 19,000 government finance professionals.

Both past and present budgets can be found on the City's website.
Economic Development Department News: Check Out New Geneva Businesses

Find the latest businesses that now call Geneva home with our interactive New Business Map. Thank you for supporting our local merchants and commercial outlets.

Police Department News: School Bus Safety
No matter how late a driver may be to work or an appointment, passing a stopped school bus is never a good idea.

School bus laws are designed to ensure children get to and from school safely. The Geneva Police Department urges residents to be extremely cautious when driving near school buses and to remember the rules of the road to avoid potential accidents.

Drivers are obligated to stop on a street or highway at least 20 feet from any school bus that is stopped and displaying flashing red warning lights. State law applies to drivers on:

Two-lane roadways

All motorists must come to a complete stop regardless of their driving lane.

Four-lane roadways

Drivers following the bus are required to stop. Cars approaching the bus from the opposite lanes of traffic should slow down but do not need to stop.

Any vehicles required to stop cannot proceed again until the bus resumes forward motion and the flashing red warning lights are turned off. Stop arms are an additional form of communication between bus drivers and motorists. However, the lack of a stop arm is never a reason to pass a school bus while the red warning lights are activated.

The penalty for first-time offenders is a three-month driver's license suspension. A second conviction within five years could result in a one-year license suspension. Fines range from $150 for the initial offense to $500 for additional convictions.

The Geneva Police Department thanks residents for their cooperation in helping keep the City safe for students.
From The Blog: Chief Shares Winter Safety Tips
We all know that with living in Illinois, a snowy drive to home, work, or other activities is inevitable. Some basic safety tips can go a long way to reducing the likelihood that you experience an accident due to snowy or icy roadways. These tips include:

* Clear your windows, headlights, and tail lights of snow and ice. Each year we respond to accidents that were caused by a driver who failed to clear their windows enough to clearly see the roadway.

* If it is snowing or raining and it requires the use of your windshield wipers, state law requires that you have your headlights on.

* Leave early and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

* Leave ample room between you and other vehicles, including snow plows. Stopping distances are much longer.

* Make sure your cell phone is charged prior to leaving for your destination.

* If you are driving a long distance, make sure someone knows your itinerary.

Warming Up Cars
We all like to get into a warm car in the cold weather months. This includes criminals who may take the opportunity to take an unoccupied, running vehicle. Each year, communities throughout the Chicago area, inclusive of Geneva, experience vehicle thefts. It is very common to observe drivers run into the gas station or convenient store and leave their unoccupied, unlocked vehicle running. It only takes a matter of seconds for someone to hop into your vehicle and drive away. These are crimes of opportunity. If you are going to warm up your vehicle, the use of an automatic car starter would be the best option. If you are going to leave your vehicle unattended, make sure that it is turned off, locked, and that all valuables are out of view.

Vacation Watch Program
Geneva residents who are traveling this winter or are snowbirds can ask the Police Department to keep an eye on their home while they are gone. Find a registration form and learn more about this free service.

We hope that you have a safe winter season. You can find other great tips and information from the Police Department by subscribing to the City's Safety First blog.

Eric Passarelli
Geneva Police Chief
Community Development News: Stay Connected To The Geneva Development Scene
Want to stay in the loop with the latest developments taking place in your neighborhood? Residents can find information about a proposed historic district and several other development applications being reviewed on the City's online interactive map.

The enhanced map includes individual project pages that now provide even more transparency regarding development applications filed with the City. Notifications will be sent out regarding public hearings and throughout each step of the development review process.

So staying connected to development in Geneva has never been easier. All you have to do is subscribe.

Fire Department News: Keep Fire Hydrants Clear Of Snow

When snow hits Geneva, the Fire Department wants to remind residents to clear out the closest fire hydrant to their house.

A fast and adequate water supply for the Fire Department can make the difference between minor damage and major destruction during a fire. The City's Public Works Department is aware of the hydrants and tries very hard to avoid covering them with plowed snow. However, the situation can be unavoidable on some streets, such as cul-de-sacs, where there is not much space to pile the snow between the driveways, mailboxes and fire hydrants.

Residents fortunate enough to have a hydrant in front of their house can do the Fire Department and themselves a huge favor by clearing a 3-foot by 3-foot area all the way around the hydrant to make them visible and accessible from the street.

For more information, call the Geneva Fire Department at 630-232-2530.

Public Works Department News: Recycle Those Old Electronics

Geneva residents can dispose of old or unwanted electronics during their normal garbage day each week. Residents must tag each item or bundle of devices with the appropriate number of refuse stickers (see chart below). The required number of stickers will remain constant throughout the five-year contract with Lakeshore Recycling Systems.

Electronics recycling includes, but is not limited to, computers, monitors, televisions, printers, keyboards, fax machines, VCRs, portable digital music players, DVD players, video game consoles, computer mice, scanners, digital TV converter boxes, cable receivers, satellite receivers and small-scale servers.

Required Refuse Stickers
TV and Monitors
Any size
15 stickers per item
Bundles of E-Waste
Small box, under 50 lbs
5 stickers per box
Single/Small E-Waste
Shoebox size box
1 sticker per item/box

Have questions? Call Lakeshore Recycling's customer service number at 630-581-8650 or send them an email.

Kane County also offers both drop-off recycling locations and collection events during the year. Visit the County's website for more information.

Curbside Leaf Collection To Resume In March

Curbside leaf collection taking place in March? Yes, the news is true!

The City's annual curbside leaf collection consists of three rounds of pickups for all residents. Given the inclement weather, the City's contractor was only able to complete two full pickup cycles for each neighborhood last fall. The third and final collection was postponed until March, so stay tuned to the City's website in the coming months for an announcement.  

The City's 2018 leaf bag program and special brush collection programs concluded in December. For more information about Geneva's refuse services, visit the City's website or call the Geneva Public Works Department at 630-232-1501.

Brian Schiber Named President of Fox Valley Public Works Association
Geneva's Assistant Public Works Director/City Engineer Brian Schiber has a new title to his resume. 

Schiber (center) was named 2019 president of the American Public Works Association Fox Valley Branch during a December ceremony. Schiber was joined by City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins and Mayor Kevin Burns at the event.

The Fox Valley Branch  is comprised of the public works leaders from DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, McHenry and DuPage counties. The group focuses on providing educational opportunities to increase the awareness of the vital role public works plays in our communities, supporting causes to advance the profession, and offering a forum to exchange ideas and information.

In Geneva, Schiber is second in command at the Public Works Department and oversees the City's Engineering Division. Congratulations Brian on this well-deserved honor.

About Geneva
Located 40 miles west of Chicago along the Fox River, Geneva is home to 21,495 residents and serves as the seat of Kane County government. The City's character is found in its distinct architecture, historic buildings and picturesque natural areas. With festivals and events year-round, Geneva is a special destination for unique and award-winning shopping, restaurants, galleries and more. Home to excellent schools, library, parks and a vibrant cultural arts scene, Geneva continues to be one of the premier cities in the Chicago area to live, work, play and raise a family. For the latest news, visit the City's website.