A roof replacement at the public works garage, a new dump truck and fire engine and other critical upgrades could be on the docket as River Forest trustees have started preparing next year’s budget.

A capital improvement program of $4.345 million was unveiled Jan. 25, a spending package that also would allow for upgrades to the village’s information technology infrastructure plus street and sewer improvements.

Don’t look for all of the money to be spent during the fiscal year that starts May 1, village administrator Eric Palm said, for it will depend on whether staff can get continued use out of some equipment that has exceeded its useful life.

As an example, if a fire department air compressor bought about 17 years ago goes down, River Forest can use Oak Park’s and Forest Park’s gear while new one is purchased, Palm said.

“We are able to postpone the purchase of a lot of equipment because we take good care of it,” Palm said. “Some may have exceeded their useful life so if they may break down and die, we need authorization to buy something new.”

Staff also found some creative ways to save money. Approximately $45,000 had been in the budget for a new cargo van, a critical need for the water department. But the department decided instead to repurpose a reserve ambulance, which was to be sold at auction.

“We weren’t getting much for it,” said Palm, referring to the ambulance. 

A collaborative approach to buying equipment also could be explored as the village weighs buying a new street sweeper and a piece of equipment that can be used to treat streets in advance of a snow storm.

One of the three roofs over village hall needs replacing. But that could be delayed depending on whether a feasibility study shows that a third floor can be added to the nearly 20-year-old facility. 

That extra space could be used if more communities join the west suburban consolidated dispatch center or if other governmental entities need room. Village President Catherine Adduci made the request to get better use out of government buildings. 

Here is the breakdown of some of the expenditures. These are only estimates:

Public works garage improvements, $465,000

Fire engine, $575,000. Specifications are being drafted, and bids for it could go out this spring. The truck could be ready for delivery next January.

Large dump truck for public works, $145,000

Street maintenance and upgrades, $730,000

Water main replacements and sewer improvements, $692,500

Upgrades to the village’s information technology systems, $218,600.

The final version of the capital budget will be considered in March when the operations spending plan is presented to the board. 

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