ELBURN – The village’s first take on a rolling five-year capital improvement plan includes $26 million in capital improvements, major maintenance activities and planned replacement of existing capital assets, and important process, according to Village President Jeff Walter.
“Without a map, it’s hard to get where you’re going,” said Walter, adding there are a lot of capital items the village is responsible for maintaining, and that without a plan that lays it all out into the future, the village will find itself getting caught off-guard.
The capital items identified in the plan include vehicle replacements for police officers, major equipment purchases for public works, road extensions and street maintenance, and water main replacements, among others. The cost of a new police department building, estimated at $14 million, accounts for more than half of the total amount.
Not all of the items will make it into the final plan, and the village board’s next step will be to prioritize the needs, as well as to identify additional funding sources to pay for them.
The first step toward identifying the need for additional space for the police department, based on the projected growth in the population of the village, will be to conduct a space needs analysis. Police Chief Nick Sikora said the standard industry best practice is to identify what the village’s police protection needs will be 20 years into the future.
Walter said he also wants to have an analysis done of the village’s current streets and their condition, in order to create a viable plan for their maintenance over time. Engineering Enterprises, Inc. recently completed a similar analysis for the roads contained in Blackberry Township.
Other street improvements include the Anderson and Thryselius roads extensions, guardrails for Anderson Road on either side of the bridge, and a traffic light at the Route 38/Anderson Road intersection.
The village also will look at the water remediation technology (WRT) currently employed to remove radium from the village’s drinking water, to determine its current effectiveness, as well as the possibilities of other, newer available technologies.
“I hope we’ve opened your eyes to the dollar amounts,” Village Administrator John Nevenhoven said. “These are the hard-core, government, this- is-what-we-do items.”
Walter said that there are also other things village residents want – parks, for example.
“We don’t have enough revenue to do what we need to get done every year,” he said. “We have to look at other ways to increase revenue.”
Finance Director Doug Elder said additional revenue sources to consider include tax or bond referendums, an increase in the local sales tax or an increase in user fees. He estimated that with an increase in sales tax of 1 percent, the village would receive an additional $1 million a year in revenues.
Walter said that a sales tax referendum is something the village definitely needs to do. In addition, for projects as large as a new police station, he said the village should consider a bond.
Walter said that with Elder’s expertise, the village has made great strides in getting its finances planned out.
“We’ve come a long way. (Trustee) Ken (Anderson) and I have talked about it for a long time,” Walter said. “It’s nice to see what we have and what we need to do. “It’s a great first step for more sound financial planning for the village.”