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Local News

Lockport details plans for $50 million in construction projects

LOCKPORT – City officials in Lockport have a plan to accomplish close to $50 million worth in construction projects over the next six years using existing revenue sources and grants. 

At Wednesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, city officials presented to the Lockport City Council a multi-year capital improvement plan to complete infrastructure improvements and replacements for roughly $50 million. Between 80 and 90 projects – from fixing bridges to sidewalks to roads – would be scheduled for completion under the plan. 

Funding for the annual capital improvement projects would come from funds in the city’s budget such as the water and sewer fund, motor fuel tax fund and capital fund. Money for the projects would also come from grants and other revenue sources. 

The ambitious plan would come with no new fees or taxes on residents, said City Administrator Ben Benson. 

“We felt that it would be irresponsible to try to go after new revenues when we’re sitting on good reserves that we can spend now,” he said after the meeting. 

According to the plan document, the city’s ability to achieve its goals will be based on the drawdown of the city’s fund balance, low interest on an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan, issuance of bonds, the use of annual existing revenues and state grants. 

The capital improvement plan is a fluid document, said Amy Wagner, city engineering director and one of the authors of the plan. Expenses and schedules for projects would be adjusted each year based on revenue levels, funding and any unexpected events that may occur. She said much of the engineering costs for the projects will occur in the first couple of years of the plan so they can be ready for bidding in advance.

“If we have a plan and we have committed to the plan, we can get going on the engineering of these projects immediately,” she said. “We can have them engineered, we can have plans ready to go and sitting on the shelf.” 

The total number of projects and costs – including future engineering costs – under the plan each year:

• 2014: 14 projects, $8.8 million

• 2015: 20 projects, $13.4 million 

• 2016: 14 projects, $10.9 million

• 2017: 13 projects, $5.5 million

• 2018: 9 projects, $3.7 million

• 2019: 9 projects, $3.7 million

• 2020: 5 projects, $3.4 million 

Council members are not set to vote on the plan just yet and Lockport city officials are asking residents for input.

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