Buffalo Creek improvement project included in Wheeling's proposed 2022 budget

A project designed to boost Buffalo Creek's water quality is among the big-ticket items in Wheeling's proposed budget for the 2022 fiscal year.

Improvements along a stretch of Wheeling Road are planned, too.

The village board is set to approve the budget Monday night. The new fiscal year starts Jan. 1.

Village officials expect to spend more than $101.9 million on infrastructure projects, salaries, equipment purchases and other expenses in 2022. That's up about 4.7% from the current year's $97.4 million total.

One notable project in the budget aims to battle erosion in Buffalo Creek, which runs from south-central Lake County to the Des Plaines River in Wheeling.

The village is targeting a part of the waterway between Northgate Parkway and Dundee Road, Village Manager Jon Sfondilis said. Officials hope to eventually stabilize the creek bank and improve the ecosystem.

"The village of Wheeling is committed to improving its ecosystems and waterways," Sfondilis said. "The stabilization project will reduce sediment caused by erosion of the stream banks and provide native habitat with a native vegetated buffer to the creek."

Engineering work expected to cost about $250,000 is set to begin this spring. The actual, on-site labor is slated for 2024 and 2025.

Elsewhere in town, officials expect to continue engineering work on the planned reconstruction of Wheeling Road between Palatine and Dundee roads. The proposed budget includes $350,000 for that project.

Eventually, sidewalks will be added, new streetlights will be installed and storm sewers will be upgraded. The construction should begin in about five years, Sfondilis said.

"When completed, the Wheeling Road corridor will be a much more functional pathway leading to our up-and-coming town center," he said.

On the other side of the ledger, officials expect to collect about $94.9 million in taxes, fees and other revenue in 2022. That is about 5.2% greater than the current year's $89.7 million budgeted total.

Sfondilis said revenues are projected to rise because the cash stream from income and sales taxes wasn't as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as initially feared in 2020.

"Those revenue sources have been much stronger than (we) anticipated," he said.

Expenses are projected to exceed revenues by about $7 million next year. Officials attributed the gap to a surplus in Wheeling's tax increment financing funds that will be distributed to local governmental agencies, including Northwest Suburban High School District 214, Wheeling Township School District 21 and the Wheeling Park District.

Additionally, officials expect to use reserves accumulated through the years for capital projects in 2022.

Monday's village board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at village hall, 2 Community Blvd. It will be livestreamed on Wheeling's YouTube channel,

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