Roads, flood relief work recommended for funding in Libertyville
More than $12.2 million in projects -- with an emphasis on roads, easing flooding and investments in the water and sewer systems -- will be considered for funding in Libertyville's 2020-21 capital improvement plan.
More than half the projects will be new expenditures, but it's considered a pivotal year for the village because money for this level of investment is running out.
Cash balances in various capital project funds are limited, and there is a finite ability to transfer money from reserves. While the obligations can be met for 2020-21, more funds will be needed to bolster the program in coming years, village officials say.
Capital projects aren't flashy, but they are necessary to move traffic, divert stormwater and preserve the systems that bring clean water and treat sewage, for example.
Capital expenses are part of the village's overall budget and don't include general operating expenses, such as salaries. In the past these projects have been discussed as part of the entire budget process, beginning in late February.
But the practice has changed with the approval in August of Libertyville's first comprehensive, multiyear plan for such work.
"Since capital projects have the greatest community impact, we wanted to take the opportunity to discuss them separately and give the village board a chance to appropriately vet the projects that staff is recommending for funding," Finance Director Nick Mostardo said.
The biggest recommended category is for 28 projects totaling nearly $3.9 million in the utility fund. That includes items such as new water mains and repairing or replacing equipment.
About $2.56 million is recommended for eight storm sewer projects. About $2.2 million of that is for engineering in advance of work on Rockland Road and the flood-prone Burdick/Ames area on the village's southwest side.
"We're ready to go. We can tell residents we're starting to move on stormwater master plan projects," Mostardo said Tuesday during a presentation to the village board.
Funds also are directed to road resurfacing and patching streetscape work on Peterson Road and replacing sidewalks and streetlights.
The biggest expense is nearly $1.2 million to rebuild Rockland Road east of Milwaukee Avenue. That does not account for an 80% federal reimbursement for eligible costs.
Funding the long-term capital plan, which includes $45.5 million in stormwater projects alone, will be a challenge in coming years.
To combat that, voters will be asked on the March 17 primary ballot for authority to implement a 1% non-home rule sales tax. If approved the new tax would generate about $2 million in new annual revenue after an existing dining tax is repealed.
The recommended 2020-21 capital projects rely solely on existing balances or reserves.
"We could really put ourselves in a position to succeed long term," Mostardo said of the non-home rule sales tax approval.
Town hall meetings and talks with local taxing bodies, community organizations and more to explain the request will be coming beginning in January.