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Elmhurst City Council reviews capital expenditure budget

Published: Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 4:55 p.m. CDT

ELMHURST – The city’s five-year capital expenditure budget includes new projects in addition to the usual expenses.

City Manager Jim Grabowski presented the budget to Elmhurst City Council members Monday.

The budget included $10.7 million for stormwater detention projects specific to Pine Street, Geneva Avenue and Southwest Elmhurst. The projects would require the city to use land owned by the Elmhurst Park District and District 205.

“This is no way indicates approval from the park district or school district for use of their property,” Grabowski said.

In a proactive effort, the city submitted an application requesting $8 million worth of grant funding for the project from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. While Grabowski said he informed the park district and school district about the grant application, the city does not know how much, if any of the grant money Elmhurst might be awarded.

Fourth Ward Alderman Michael Bram questioned Grabowski about the budget for another water management project listed in the report for the Southwest Elmhurst Wet-Weather Control Facility

Improvements to the Southwest Elmhurst Wet-Weather Control Facility for 2014 were budgeted at $8.4 million, although Bram believed the board had budgeting about $2 million less for the project last year.

“My understanding is that there are some additional benefits that we can provide with the design that will cost a little bit more, but will provide a much better project,” Grabowski said.

He expects the council will hear a presentation on the proposed changes to the project soon, but did not have a date.

The five-year budget also included routine maintenance projects like parking lot and street resurfacing, but the IT and Communication budget was larger than usual for 2014, because the city’s outdated phone system needs to be replaced.

Grabowski also presented a $3 million project for a proposed underpass at the Illinois Prairie Path at York Street that the Public Works and Building Committee has discussed, but has not made any final decisions. The budget called for roughly $1.25 million from the city and depended on grants to cover the remaining cost.

While the underpass project hasn’t been approved, the five-year plan budgeted $150,000 in 2014 for the first engineering phase of the project, which Grabowski said would allow the city to apply for Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) funds to bridge the $1.75 million gap.

The first two years of the five-year capital expenditure budget now will roll into the 2014 operating budget, which will be presented to the council in October.

The Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee reported a plan that the city council approved unanimously to refund the 2003 General Obligation bond issue at an interest rate expected to save the city $500,000, in addition to recommending the city bond for $2.25 million in new money that could fund budgeted capital expenditures.

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