Green Oaks to ask voters to borrow $18 million for street repairs

  • Rockland Road east of St. Mary's Road in Green Oaks is an example of road repairs village officials want to fund with an $18.8 million bond issue it is putting to voters in March.

    Rockland Road east of St. Mary's Road in Green Oaks is an example of road repairs village officials want to fund with an $18.8 million bond issue it is putting to voters in March. Courtesy of RHMG Engineers Inc.

  • Poor road conditions on Kenton Lane in Green Oaks.

    Poor road conditions on Kenton Lane in Green Oaks. Courtesy of RHMG Engineers Inc.

 
 
Posted2/10/2016 5:30 AM

The first ballot question put to voters by elected officials in Green Oaks' 55-year history comes with a potential big impact for residents in cost and convenience.

Voters in the March 15 primary election will be asked whether the village should borrow $18.8 million through a bond issue to repair nearly all its streets.

 

"The whole problem seems to be the roads, as we test them each year, are deteriorating geometrically rather than slowly," Mayor Bernard Wysocki said. "At some point, you're looking at how much it's taking out of our reserves to keep up patching the roads. It becomes a decision of what the residents want."

If approved, the work would take place over eight years. The annual cost to the owner of a home valued at $300,000 is estimated at $453; $936 for the owner of a $600,000 home; and $1,418 for the owner of a $900,000 home.

The cost would appear on real estate tax bills, Wysocki said, but it is not a municipal real estate tax. Even with the added expense, Green Oaks residents would pay less than homeowners in nearby communities that levy a property tax, he added. Green Oaks has no property tax and each year relies on about $100,000 in vehicle sticker sales and $80,000 to $100,000 from state motor fuel tax to fix roads, but that can address only the worst.

Instituting a property tax was considered but rejected as it would require voter approval and the revenue could not be limited to road repairs.

A utility tax, special service area or grants also were ruled out as being unavailable, insufficient or impractical. To use vehicle stickers to fund the work would mean raising the cost to more than $900 per vehicle and would be difficult to determine whether every vehicle owner purchased one, according to village literature.

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The plan is to repair or rebuild 24 miles of village streets, or about 88 percent of the total in town. That would not include streets in a 300-acre special taxing district established in 2014 to spark redevelopment or others that have been substantially repaired in the past 10 years.

"It's a comprehensive program," said Assistant Village Engineer Ben Metzler. "It's an improvement throughout the village, not just a portion of the village."

Under the program, about a mile of road would be rebuilt. The entire pavement -- typically 4 inches -- would be removed and replaced and/or a new pavement base built on another 14 miles. On remaining streets, the top two inches would be milled and replaced.

Metzler said the proposed work is more extensive than the $20 million authorized by Libertyville voters in 2012.

Reaction was split during four village public information sessions last fall, Wysocki said.

"Since then, I haven't heard 'Boo' from anybody. We've prepared a newsletter outlining this all again so people can be aware this is coming up," he said.

@dhmickzawislak

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