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Glen Ellyn Village Board mulls $22.5M bond for capital projects

The Glen Ellyn Village Board discusses funding options for future capital projects Monday.
The Glen Ellyn Village Board discusses funding options for future capital projects Monday.

GLEN ELLYN – The Glen Ellyn Village Board is weighing options for funding future capital projects, including taking out a $22.5 million bond.

The board heard an update Monday on outstanding major capital projects that have not been started. Among them are improvements to the downtown streetscape and stormwater system and construction of a new police station.

In order to better fund those projects – or partially help pay off the bonds – the village would have to reduce costs elsewhere. Village Engineer Bob Minix proposed cutting annual road construction.

Minix suggested the village could resurface roads instead of reconstructing them. Costs for road work would be seven to eight times less by doing so.

Over an eight-year period from 2016 to 2024, Minix said the village would save about $13.7 million.

Trustee Pete Ladesic said he felt it would be wiser for the village to look at roads on a case-by-case basis to determine how much work would actually be needed.

"If it's just a matter of the actual roadbed," Ladesic said. "I think we need to step up our efforts on road patching … before we go all-out construction."

The potential bond would not result in any increase in taxes, but rather, rates would stay the same from the 2008 bond rate.

Several trustees expressed hesitation at taking out a bond for capital projects.

"In general, I think we have a duty to our constituency to not borrow unless it's necessary," said Trustee Tim Elliott.

The bond discussed Monday would be $30 million and have a lifetime of 20 years. The board looked at estimated costs of the total projects and was able to reduce the cost of a potential bond to $22.5 million.

The biggest place where the board discussed cuts was on construction of a new police department, listed at $15 million in board documents.

Price estimates brought up during the meeting ranged from $8 million to $23 million. Trustee Diane McGinley felt the board should aim for the lower number when building a new station.

"I'm not interested in building a country club," she said. "I'm wanting to build a police station."

Trustee Jim Burket felt a number between $10 and $15 million would be wise for future police department plans. His concern was that going too low with a budgetary number could put the village in a bind down the road.

"I just don't want to be building something that, 10 to 15 years down the line, is going to be judged as too small, too out of date, too whatever, too 'fill in the blank,'" Burket said.

The board also cut $8 million in proposed downtown beautification to $4.5 million, mostly because some downtown storefronts did not look as though they were being beautified as well.

"I think until we start getting more pride from our business owners … I have a hard time throwing $5 million at that," Burket said.

In an interview Wednesday, Burket clarified his statement, saying he meant storefronts should be fixed up by landlords and building owners rather than the owners of a business or someone who may be renting a space downtown.

Of the $8 million, $5 million would have been used specifically for beautification projects, while the other $3 million would be used to repair roads downtown.

The board cut $7.5 million from the initial proposal, but Village Manager Mark Franz said committees will continue to look at the numbers to attempt to get more accurate figures for the board.

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