A $736,279 roadway resurfacing project headed the list of the five-year capital improvement plan unveiled at the River Forest Village Board committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 13.

Matt Walsh

In his presentation, Matt Walsh, interim village administrator, said capital expenditures are estimated to be $18.8 million over the next five years, $5 million of which is expected to be spent in the first year, Fiscal Year 2024, which begins May 1.

The majority of funding, $1.2 million, will come from the motor fuel tax fund, which includes the $736,279 for the Rebuild Illinois Project. Other funding sources include capital improvement fund, $1 million; water and sewer fund, $914,000; capital equipment replacement fund, $808,702; and general fund, $460,000. 

According to Jeff Loster, director of public works and development services, the $736,279 roadway resurfacing project costs will be covered by Rebuild Illinois grant funds that are issued in six disbursements of $122,713 over a three-year period concluding in FY2023.

The Rebuild Illinois capital program will make $45 billion worth of investments in roads, bridges, railroads, universities, early childhood centers and state facilities over the next six years, creating and supporting an estimated 540,000 jobs over the life of the plan and revitalizing local economies across the state, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Of that total, $25.4 billion will fund improvements to Illinois roads and bridges.

Loster explained that the Rebuild Illinois Project will be similar to the village’s annual street improvement project but must be accounted for separately. The funds must be used for a bondable capital improvement with an average useful life of greater than or equal to 13 years, he added. Combining the annual street improvement expenditure of $650,000 accounts for the $1.2 million motor fuel tax expenditure. Funds not expended by July 1, 2025, will be forfeited.

Streets that will be resurfaced under the two projects have yet to be identified, Loster said.

“Staff is still working to finalize the locations and align the project scope with the funding available,” he said. “With a project like this we always try to establish a scope of work with logical termini that also fully exhausts the funds.”

Loster said the summer months would be targeted for the two projects.

“We still have to go through permitting with IDOT and the bid process, but we plan to wrap up those efforts over the next few months.” he added.

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.

In April, a budget will be prepared and recommended to the village board, which will take input from residents, if there is any, at a public hearing. The final step in the process will be adoption of the budget, which is expected in April.

The list of proposed capital improvement projects in FY2024 includes $675,000 for water and sewer improvements, which includes $250,000 for the storm water master plan, $215,000 for water main replacements and $140,000 for sewer relining.

Also on the list is $586,370 for vehicle purchases, including three squad cars for the police department and two dump trucks and two pickup trucks for the public works department.

Although not included in the FY2024 expenditures, fire Chief Thomas Gaertner recommended to the village board that consideration be given to purchasing a quint fire truck to replace the fire department’s engine and ladder truck.

He said the ladder truck is scheduled to be replaced in FY2026 but the order should be placed sooner due to the estimated two-year wait for delivery.

A quint fire truck is an apparatus that combines the equipment capabilities of a ladder truck and the water-pumping ability of a fire engine. As its name implies, it features five main tools to carry out firefighting functions – pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device and ground ladders.

The quint has also become more user-friendly over the years, according to information on the Firehouse magazine website. Advancements in reach and stability, shorter wheelbases and higher-powered diesel engines have made these units more capable of any task on the fireground that is required, according to the website.

The apparatus can combat structure fires, provide continued elevated egress and serve as an elevated master stream all within one unit, the website said.

Gaertner estimated the cost of a quint to be $1.5 million but said the village would be able to cover some of that cost by selling the department’s engine.

Although trustees made comments and asked questions about specific expenses and projects, Walsh’s presentation was accepted without major discussion.

Join the discussion on social media!