Construction to improve some River Forest streets and replace a water main on Washington Boulevard could begin a few months ahead of schedule since both items — which are part of a larger project plan for the next fiscal year — were approved last week.

Unlike last year, when a lot of construction was done in July, August and September, the earlier discussion and approval of the projects could allow start times to jump up to April or May, said Village Administrator Eric Palm.

“We can hit the ground running a little bit earlier in the year,” Palm said.

At its Jan. 23 meeting, the board unanimously approved two separate engineering service agreements with Edwin Hancock Engineering Company.

The agreements allow the company to complete designs for a proposed water main replacement in the 7600 block of Washington Boulevard, and for the 2012 Street Improvement Program.

Both projects are part of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), a five-year planning tool that identifies major projects that will be part of the capital budget. The approved projects were both recommended to get done in the 2013 fiscal year, which begins May 1.

The Street Improvement Program will be funded by $728,350 from the motor fuel tax fund, the CIP list says, which includes $39,000 to Hancock for the design phase.

Another project on Washington Boulevard will use $150,000 from the same fund. During that project, the road will be resurfaced between the Des Plaines River and Lathrop Avenue.

The plan recommends $258,630 of improvements to come from the village’s general fund. The fund will take care of rehabilitation of a police detective office, street maintenance and patching, sidewalk replacement and alley maintenance.

Money from the Capital Equipment Replacement Fund, or CERF, will cover a thermal imaging camera and a breathing apparatus for the fire department and two squad cars for the police department. Also budgeted from that fund are a salt spreader, pick-up truck and front end loader for the Department of Public Works. The total for all equipment from the CERF is $374,010.

The $120,000 to fund the Washington Boulevard water main replacement will come from the village’s Water & Sewer Fund. Other recommended projects designated as critical in that fund for the next fiscal year include sewer lining and sewer point repairs at a combined cost of $100,000. Street improvements, curb and gutter repairs and additional vehicles and equipment would cost almost $285,300 combined.

But since the Water & Sewer fund doesn’t have enough money to cover operating costs and pay for capital improvements, the board agreed to fund Water & Sewer capital projects at 50 percent of the target level, Palm said. Consultants at a November meeting laid out options for funding the projects at 50, 75 and 100 percent of the target level, and 50 percent will let the village have a modest capital program, Palm said.

It will be funded by a water rate increase to take effect May 1, Palm said, from $5.40 to $5.92 per 100 cubic feet.

The board will formally adopt the funding level at a future meeting, when they change a village ordinance to increase the water rate.

2012 Street Improvement Program

Ashland Avenue — Madison Street to Hawthorne Avenue

Monroe Avenue — Division Street to North Avenue

Park Avenue — Chicago Avenue to Augusta Street

Iowa Street — Harlem Avenue to dead end

Various streets — pavement patching

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