A five-year capital improvement plan totaling $17 million was unveiled at the Jan. 27 River Forest Village Board meeting. In the first year, fiscal year 2021, which begins May 1, capital expenditures are estimated to be $4,257,854. Expenditures are estimated to rise to $5,019,371 in FY 2022, then level off for the next three years. Expenditures are estimated at $2,715,776 in FY 2023, $2,996,238 in FY 2024 and $2,222,930 in FY 2025.

Lisa Scheiner, assistant village administrator, who presented the plan to the village board, explained that certain vehicle purchases and projects in the first two years of the plan, while more costly than some projects proposed for the remaining three years, will provide improvements in public safety and customer service.

She said work on the plan began last August. “Each year staff works diligently to manage the village’s facilities, fleet, equipment and infrastructure,” Scheiner said. “The plan that was presented to the board represents a significant effort by staff to ensure the day-to-day needs of the community are met and our resources are well maintained.”

Unveiling the capital improvement plan is the first step of the budget process.  Officials said the plan is generally amended during the budget process as determinations are made for items to be moved forward or to be deferred based on current information. This month, officials from the village departments will meet with the budget team, consisting of Scheiner; Eric Palm, village administrator; and Rosey McAdams, finance director. In April, a preliminary budget will be prepared, a recommended budget will be presented to the village board and a public hearing will be held. The final step in the process will be adoption of the budget, which is expected at the Monday, April 27 village board meeting.

Proposed expenditures were grouped in three categories — critical, recommended and contingent.

Critical expenditures total $2,126,190; recommended, $1,731,664; and contingent, $400,000. 

Heading the list of proposed capital improvement projects considered critical are $825,000 for street improvements and $475,000 for water main replacements. 

Streets to be resurfaced under the street improvement program include Oak Avenue from Thatcher Avenue to Bonnie Brae Place; Quick Avenue from Lathrop Avenue to Bonnie Brae; Jackson Avenue from Chicago Avenue to Augusta Street; Franklin Avenue from Oak to Chicago; and Keystone Avenue from Chicago to Thomas Street. Also, Forest Avenue from Chicago to Thomas; Iowa Street from Keystone to Forest; Jackson from Lake Street to Quick; Monroe Avenue from Lake to Oak; and Keystone from Lake to Oak.

Scheiner explained that the first two years of the plan include an expanded street improvement program, using the new infrastructure improvement bond fund to complete additional projects. The fund utilizes the $525,000 in proceeds the village collected from the 2020 general obligation bond that was issued using the village’s available debt service extension base.

The water main replacement projects will replace 1,500 feet of water main on Iowa and Thomas streets from Keystone to Forest and on Augusta Street from Thatcher to Keystone.

Other large, proposed capital improvement projects considered critical are $175,000 for a large public works dump truck; $140,000 for sewer lining; $100,000 for street maintenance; and $100,000 for deployable leak sensors.

Although a few trustees had a few comments and questions, presentation of the capital improvement plan by Scheiner was accepted without major discussion.

The exception was the request by Village President Cathy Adduci that a street camera implementation project be given higher consideration than contingent. The proposed street camera implementation, with an estimated expenditure of $365,000, would expand the village’s street camera system at key locations throughout the village, specifically in the Madison Street corridor, to enhance public safety. 

Scheiner noted that projected expenditures included in the capital improvement plan are cost estimates that may vary from the actual costs. However, she noted these projects typically come in under budget. 

The capital improvement plan is divided into six categories — buildings & improvements, vehicles, equipment, information technology, streets, sidewalks & alleys and water/sewer improvements.  

In addition to the infrastructure improvement bond fund, capital improvement projects are funded through nine sources — the capital equipment replacement fund, capital improvement fund, general fund, motor fuel tax fund, water & sewer fund, water & sewer fund/capital equipment replacement fund, grant revenues, parking revenues and tax increment financing district revenues.

For FY 2021, over half of the capital improvement expenditures are estimated to be covered by the capital improvement fund and the water & sewer fund with capital improvement fund expenditures estimated at $1,564,330 and water & sewer fund expenditures estimated at $992,300.

Other estimated expenditures by fund are capital equipment replacement fund, $646,224; motor fuel tax fund, $550,000; infrastructure improvement bond fund, $275,000; and general fund, $230,000.

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