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Village of Westmont takes next step in issuing $11M in bonds, public hearing held Thursday night

Money would be used for needed infrastructure repairs, officials say

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013 11:03 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:57 p.m. CDT

WESTMONT – The village of Westmont is set to issue $11 million in bonds for infrastructure repairs, but the community has a chance to weigh in first.

On Thursday, the Westmont Village Board will answer residents’ questions regarding the bond issuance during a mandatory public hearing at Village Hall.

Of the roughly $11 million in bonds proposed, between $8.5 million and $9.5 million will be used for road repairs and resurfacing while another $1 million to $1.5 million will go toward fixing infrastructure such as alley ways or stormwater systems, according to Spencer Parker, the village’s finance director.

“The streets are in need of improvement,” Parker said. “There has been concern over the years and this is a good step in the right direction.”

A final vote on the bonds by the Village Board is expected in September or October, according to Parker, and projects, if approved, likely would begin in spring.

“Once we issue [the bonds], we have two to three years to spend it,” he said.

The board has identified different ways to pay off the bonds, including the recent 1.5 percent eating tax issued in June.

“It’s not going to hit the property taxes,” Village Manager Ron Searl said. “A portion is coming from the place for eating tax.”

The eating tax was proposed by the Village Board as a way to erase a $3 million revenue loss due to the repeal of home rule status in November.

Officials said the tax would bring in $760,000 annually to the village. A portion of that amount would pay off the bonds for infrastructure repairs, officials said.

Infrastructure issues in Westmont have been put on hold for the past few years, Searl said.

“This is the best opportunity we’ve had in a very long time [to fund the repairs],” Searl said. “I think the residents will appreciate it once they see the result of it.”

Of the village’s 60 miles of roads, 40 miles are in need of repair, officials have said.

Petition can bring bond proposal to the ballots

Westmont residents have until Aug. 30 to file a petition that would put the proposed bonds on election ballots. If 1,059 residents sign a petition and it is validated, a referendum in March 2014 would ask voters whether or not they want the village to issue the bonds. Petition forms are available at village hall.

IF YOU GO

WHAT Public hearing regarding the issuance of $11 million in bonds for infrastructure repairs WHERE Westmont Village Hall, 31 W. Quincy St. WHEN 7 p.m. Thursday

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