By Megan Dooley
With little ado or discussion, the River Forest Village Board of Trustees swiftly approved a balanced budget for fiscal year 2011 – 2012 at their meeting Monday night.
In the new budget, the board voted to expand the five-year Street Improvement Plan (SIP) that is currently in place in the village. The village will spend additional Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds to complete street improvement projects that will include rehabilitation, resurfacing, and reconstruction work that goes beyond the microsurfacing projects completed through the SIP in its first year, 2010. The work is projected to cost an additional $328,000 in MFT funds from last year.
According to Phil Cotter, Director of Public Works, the recommendation for a more aggressive SIP was made because the impacts of a rough winter increased the need for improvements on many village streets.
The budget also included a 12 percent increase to the village water and sewage rate, which will help the village meet the cost of operation. Trustee James Winikates, who is also a member of the village Finance and Administration Committee, said last month that the cost for individual residents will vary depending on their water use, but the prices will be in line with other municipalities in the area.
"It's great," said Trustee Catherine Adduci of the budget.
In other business, the board continued their trend of acknowledging village residents for their service to River Forest.
Nancy Dillon was recognized for 20 years of service on the board of trustees. "She's truly a role model that any woman in the community can look up to," said Village President John Rigas, who was sworn in as a trustee the same night as Dillon, now 22 years ago. The board designated the 500 block of Forest Ave. Nancy Dillon Way, and presented her with an honorary street sign.
Dillon said that she was touched when she heard the village had honored former village president Frank Paris and former trustee Dale Rider last month. "I just thought it was marvelous," she said. Lo and behold, she soon got a call herself. "I was flabbergasted," Dillon said.
"I loved being on the board. It was a real thrill. Many thanks for everything."
Former village president Thomas Cusack Jr. was also thanked for his years of service. Rigas praised Cusack for his willingness to offer advice, and to steer away from controversy. "He'll take you aside and he'll talk to you one on one without trying to cause animosity in a public setting," Rigas said. "I've always appreciated his counseling and guidance."
Cusack was presented with a sign for Thomas Cusack Way, which will hand on the 400 block of Ashland.
"I want to thank everybody for all your action," Cusack told the board. "I appreciate the work that you people are doing right now."