Naperville reviewing $24.9 million in project delays

 
 
Updated 5/4/2020 4:42 PM

Naperville City Council will consider putting off enough projects to save nearly $25 million from its budgeted spending this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council members are ready to review proposed capital improvement deferments worth $24,974,860 during their meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, the city's third to be conducted as a Zoom webinar since the stay-at-home orders began.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The spending reductions are a combination of partial and full deferments, Finance Director Rachel Mayer said in a memo, with some projects proposed to be halted while in progress and others stopped before they start.

The costliest projects on the list relate to water meters, road construction, downtown sidewalks and a future park.

City staff members are suggesting the city not spend $9 million on automatic water meter-reading technology; $7 million on widening North Aurora Road between Frontenac Road and Weston Ridge Drive; $2.6 million on downtown streetscape enhancements; and $1.1 million on a park at 430 S. Washington St. to be built in partnership with North Central College.

These projects are among 24 total initiatives in line to be delayed as the city takes its first steps to adjust to the economic stoppages caused by efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

If the plan is approved, via an amendment to the city's budget, the 2020 spending plan will decrease from $491,503,165 to $466,528,305.

Financial issues caused by nonessential business shutdowns are "largely based around cash flow," Mayer's memo said. The city expects to receive less revenue from sales tax, food and beverage tax and motor fuel tax, but delays in receipts mean the city does not know the "detailed picture of the pandemic's impact," she said.

Mayor Steve Chirico has said financial measures the city implemented during the past five years to reduce debt and build reserves are providing flexibility in responding to revenue decreases. The city could, for example, spend down some of its $45 million cash reserves to help make up for lost revenue during the economic shutdown.

The finance department plans to present monthly reports about the effects of the pandemic to help the council make decisions. Reports are set to begin May 19.

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