Making a plan

Opinion: Editorials

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Our Views

The narrow vote last week in Oak Park to approve the rolling five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) was a bit of political drama. The three newly elected trustees voted nay, everyone else was in support.

Wasn't long ago that Oak Park was so far behind on understanding and funding infrastructure that it didn't even have a CIP. Didn't have any dedicated source of funding for aging infrastructure. So maintaining the planning process is important to us.

Like the trustees in the minority of last week's vote, we have serious questions about some of the projects in the queue. Enough with the bluestone sidewalks on Lake Street. We also need a commitment from a developer before there is any need to Bend Madison Street.

But there is time for those debates. No need to derail the CIP in that process. 

Reader Comments

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Deno J. Andrews from Oak Park  

Posted: October 25th, 2017 12:24 AM

While I typically don't comment on these, I thought it was important to note that voting no on the CIP does not derail anything. My point in voting no is that the CIP has budget implications for future years. It is illogical to approve a plan, that will affect future budgets, before actually seeing next year's entire budget. All I was asking for was to see the 2018 budget alongside the CIP, so that we could make the best logical financial choices. Approving one part of the budget before looking at the other part of the budget is not a sound practice in my opinion. The one valid argument for CIP approval ahead of time is that staff can prepare bid documents. When we get a head start on bids, the village can get lower contract costs. Great! However, there is nothing stopping us from preparing those bid documents before the CIP is approved. Thus, there is no legitimate reason to push through the CIP before we can assess the budget in its entirety, including the implications of the CIP on future budgets. Making sound fiscal choices requires looking at the entire financial picture both now, and into the future.The CIP is an incredible document and staff has done a fabulous job putting it together. Putting off actual CIP approval to the same meeting as the general budget has no downside, respectfully.

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