Public silent at Westmont board bond discussion

WESTMONT – Residents of Westmont raised no questions for the Village Board at Thursday's public hearing regarding the board's plan to issue $11 million in bonds for infrastructure repairs.

Although no residents spoke out at the meeting, Trustee Bob Scott said it's important for everyone to understand what this plan means.

"We're looking at an $11 million loan over 20 years," Trustee Scott said. "That's 20 years that we have the revenues to be able to pay them back and try to take care of the infrastructure that this village needs desperately."

Village Manager Ron Searl said the board has already begun investing village revenues in different infrastructure plans, prioritizing street repairs and storm water issues.

"We don't want those efforts to go to waste," Searl said. "This is an opportunity for us to work towards the goals."

Of the roughly $11 million in bonds proposed, between $8.5 million and $9.5 million will be used for road repairs and resurfacing. 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.

A final vote on the bond issue by the board is expected in September or October, according to Parker, and projects, if approved, would likely begin in spring 2014.

The board has identified several different ways to pay off the bonds within two or three years of receiving the loan, including the recent 1.5 percent eating tax issued by the board in June.

"It's not going to hit the property taxes," 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 2012.

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

"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."