Arlington Heights mayor: Village is strong economically
Arlington Heights Village President Tom Hayes called the state of the village "once again, very strong" during his annual speech to the Rotary Club on Thursday afternoon.
Hayes, who is in the third year of his first term, said the years have passed much more quickly than he expected, but he is proud of what Arlington Heights has accomplished.
"As I often say, the quality of life in Arlington Heights is second to none," he said during the lunch held at Clementi's.
Hayes highlighted a balanced budget, healthy bond rating and low crime rate among the current successes, along with continued economic development.
In 2015, Hayes said, 101 new businesses opened in Arlington Heights, 982 new jobs were created and retail sales amounted to more than $1.2 billion.
"We had a very good year in terms of the numbers," he said. "But our greatest strength continues to be our reputation as a stable, family-oriented community."
Economically, Hayes said that in spite of a few high-profile closings such as the Panera and Circa 57 restaurants in downtown Arlington Heights, the village's economy remains strong.
He cited the opening of a new Lexus dealership, which is the largest in the nation, and ongoing progress at the Arlington Downs project as good news. HSBC is also expected to move to the village and bring 1,500 employees later this year.
Hayes said the village's major financial focus over the next few years -- upgrading the village's aging infrastructure -- may not be glamorous, but it's important.
Those infrastructure fixes include spending $9 million on street resurfacing and rehab for the 230 miles of paved roads in Arlington Heights, increasing the funding toward water main replacements, repairing the four village-maintained parking garages near downtown and addressing the results of two recent flood studies.
Studies have outlined millions of dollars worth of needed improvements to the stormwater management system, but the board hasn't discussed which of those to do and how to pay for them.
"That was the easy part," Hayes said of the studies. "The tough part will be coming up with funding for those recommendations."
Building a new police station on the same site as the current one is the other major project on the village's agenda for the next few years, Hayes said. Most recently the board hired an architectural firm for the project, which is expected to cost $27.9 million in construction alone. The project will likely break ground next year and the police department will move in sometime in 2019, Hayes said.
"Arlington Heights continues to be a great place to live and work," he said.