Public Works Committee Addresses Road Repair and Funding Options

October 17, 2011

Village Government

by Rock Rockett

The Public Works Committee (PWC) meeting of September 28th marked my first meeting as a member of the Committee. The other members present were Trustee and PWC Chairman, Erik Spande, and Trustee Tim Allen. Village staff and the Village Engineer were in attendance to provide updates on the progress of several capital improvement projects, primarily road and bridge repair and water main projects. The 2012 road repair schedule and related costs were reviewed.

Realizing that there still are not sufficient funds available to repair all the roads that are in poor or failing condition, the Committee discussed funding options. About $3.5M is needed to bring our roads up to reasonable condition and then about $660,000 is needed per year to keep the roads on an ongoing maintenance plan.

A number of financing options have been tossed around by various Trustees over the past few months, but few of them provide anywhere near the needed revenue to fund a Village wide road repair program. Local sales tax can be increased, but only very incrementally which significantly limits the rate of return from this funding source. A vehicle sticker program could be implemented and those are fairly common among neighboring communities, such as Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Bartlett and Glendale Heights.

Another option is commonly referred to as the “back door referendum,” because there are bond funds that can be issued without approval of the voters. This is a controversial option for that reason since it would increase property taxes without voters having the opportunity to vote on it.

There are grants available, there is the generosity of CDH for a one-time contribution to road repair, and there is the option of hiring a lobbyist to better promote the needs of the Village of Winfield to officials in Springfield. Next step on this issue is to address these various funding options at the next PWC meeting and make a recommendation to the Village Board.

The Committee also discussed the tree survey that is being undertaken to deal with the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) problem. The survey is scheduled to begin this week and then a plan will be formulated for the removal of the ash trees over a lengthy period of time, depending on the number of trees to be removed.

Finally, Trustee Allen brought forth a recommendation regarding extending Beecher Road to the east in order to create a thoroughfare from Winfield Road to County Farm Road. Tim’s argument is that it will be economically advantageous to our Town Center to have this road available to motorists as a way for them to proceed through part of our business district on the way around the train crossings on Winfield Road. The Committee did agree to a version of Tim’s resolution that calls for this project to be explored in conjunction with the Winfield Park District and DuPage County.

The next meeting of the PWC will be held on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. If you’re interested in the discussion of how we finance road repair in Winfield, you might want to attend.

About Positive on Winfield

Positive on Winfield is a blog with articles on local issues, local events, and local interests in Winfield, IL. Positive on Winfield is the blog website of the local civic action group, Winfield United for a Better Community.

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