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Village Vision News

Village plans $1.3 million in capital improvements

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Forsyth’s new fiscal year begins May 1 with a $1.3 million capital budget geared toward public works projects, the parks and the library. Capital improvements add to fixed assets in the Village and do not include operations and maintenance.

“We’re looking at about five years out … we’re looking at [projects] for how important they are for this year,” said Village Administrator Heather Kimmons.

To develop the budget, trustees used a priority ranking system based on criteria developed by Village Engineer Chuck Hunsinger. Eight areas were addressed: legal responsibility, safety, asset management, protection of property, civic responsibility, quality of life, economic development and Village standards. Kimmons said a scored list of 60 proposed projects was a starting point for discussion, and projects were not necessarily ranked in the order that staff was recommending they be done. Trustees weighed the projects with an eye on immediate Village needs. Among the capital improvements selected:

  • Village Hall parking lot overlay – $40,000
  • Stevens Creek Pointe overlay – $342,500
  • Ruehl /Elwood streets storm sewers – $50,000
  • Hundley Road sewer extension preliminary engineering costs – $30,000
  • Oreana water line construction – $552,000
  • Shadow Ridge Estates subdivision water main –$161,100
  • Library materials (books, periodicals, audio visual) – $67,000
  • Ball diamond No. 5 improvements (irrigation) – $30,000

The trustees’ discussion lasted more than two hours and included the five-year capital plan and two past priority projects, including a proposed community center with a senior center as a major component. The project was not implemented because the Village did not receive the promised state grants. While Mayor Gilbert encouraged trustees to start planning for the center this fiscal year, the consensus was to move the project to the 2012-13 projects. Trustee Bob Rasho cautioned that money should not be spent until it is known if funding is available to ensure completion of the work.

Likewise, trustees did not support a suggestion from trustee Eric Morr to move forward with an engineering study for a plan to extend the Village’s bike path from Hickory Point Road to Oakland Avenue. Morr gained support for the project during last year’s budget talks, but trustees were reluctant to move forward in the new fiscal year and deferred the project for incorporation in a long-range comprehensive plan, which will be re-examined in the upcoming fiscal year.

County Highway 20 improvements were high on the priority ranking list. Staff designated the improvements “critical” for capital planning. Hunsinger confirmed that the $1.49 million budget for the first phase of the project included all anticipated costs for that phase, which are expected to be shared proportionally with the county. The project is meant to ease flooding concerns in the north end of the Village.

“It’s a Village problem,” Kimmons commented as Hunsinger further explained how phase one of the project will evolve at a later date into more benefits for the east side of the Village. Currently, implementation of the project is dependent on both the county and federal funding. He said the county is a year away from including the project in its budget, but the Village should be prepared to move forward by acquiring land needed for a detention basin east of Rt. 51 and purchasing easements that would allow Ameren Illinois to move power lines. To that end, a total of $210,000 for land acquisition and easements and $18,000 for preliminary engineering costs was budgeted for this fiscal year. For the 2012-13 fiscal year, construction and construction engineering costs will total an estimated $1.262 million.

Hunsinger said the total estimated cost for phase one of the Highway 20 project is $1.49 million. Kimmons told trustees the Village has $3.4 million in its reserve and said it is up to them to “…determine if we want to dig in and how much.”

A public budget hearing on the proposed capital budget will be held during the April 4 Village Board meeting, followed by an April 18 meeting during which approval is expected.

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