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Hinsdale, Illinois |

Published Jan. 18, 2018

Five-year capital plan gets first look

By Pamela Lannom

With $7.7 million worth of capital projects identified for completion over the next five years, Hinsdale trustees and finance commissioners are concerned about revenue reductions that could impact the plan.
   One of those possible reductions involve the sales tax generated by the Hinsdale Oasis, which will be either eliminated or displaced when Interstate 294 is expanded.      The oasis generates about $600,000 a year.
   The village has been talking with Illinois Tollway officials for months.
   “They understand our concerns and they will work with us to protect our interest,” village manager Kathleen Gargano said when the village board and finance commission reviewed the capital plan at a joint meeting Jan. 9. “What that looks like, they haven’t shared with us.”
   She does not anticipate a complete loss of revenue, as the tollway is likely to keep the diesel pumps to serve truck traffic. The pumps generate $200,000 to $300,000 a year in sales tax for the village.
   “They have a customer they have to provide for as well,” she said.
   As part of the state budget settlement, the village’s corporate fund is expected to lose $160,000 in local government distribution fund revenues over fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and a permanent reduction of $24,000 in annual personal property replacement tax distributions. The FY 2018 budget includes a $350,000 contingency that will cover the shortfall.
   The village also could lose $135,000 over the next two years if the state imposes a property tax freeze. The Illinois House approved the measure in November and it will soon be considered by the Senate.
   “This plan is affordable in at least the next five years and for sure the first two years we have enough money to do the capital plan we have before us,” said Darrell Langlois, assistant village manger/finance director.
   Funds on hand will supplement the village’s $1.2 million annual operating fund budget transfer to cover the $1.8 million in projects called for in fiscal year 2018-19.    The two biggest line items are a $324,000 fuel tank/pump evaluation and upgrade and a $275,000 finance software system.
   “Obviously this is a big expenditure for the village and it’s under the public services umbrella but it’s a multi-use facility,” George Peluso, director of public services, said of the fuel facility. “We own it so we maintain it. We want to be proactive with these systems versus reactive.”
   The village uses the tanks to fuel its vehicles and also sells gas to Community Consolidated Elementary District 181, HCS Family Services, the Hinsdale Humane Society, the village of Clarendon Hills and the Gateway Special Recreation Association.
   “Hopefully if we go to the other agencies, they can provide some financial assistance to this project,” Peluso said.
   Even if the village decided to abandon the site, there would be a substantial cost, Langlois said.
   “This isn’t really $324,000 or zero, it’s $324,000 or $130,000-ish,” he said.
   The new Enterprise financial software system has a total cost of $450,000 that will be spread over three fiscal years, with $100,000 budgeted for this fiscal year. The system would handle payroll, the general ledger and water billing.
   “We hope to bring our ticket writing on there as well as our permitting,” village manager Kathleen Gargano said. At some point the village would like to offer online transactions for some purchases, such as village stickers.
   “We have very antiquated procedures for a $50 million organization,” Gargano said.
   A smaller ticket item that generated discussion is a new $40,000 village gateway entry marker sign that would be installed on Amita Health Cancer Institute property on Ogden Avenue just west of Interstate 294.
   “There are five other entry signs that we would like to invest in,” Emily Wagner, administration manager, said. “They will not be to this scale but they will use this same design feature and same limestone materials.”
   Even though the sign would be paid for out of the economic development commission’s food and beverage tax allocation, some elected officials had concerns about the cost.
   Trustees traditionally have let EDC commissioners decide how to spend the $150,000 a year in tax revenue, Trustee Jerry Hughes said.
   “Does this start to feel big enough and questionable enough that the board at some point says, ‘We have deferred traditionally but we feel uneasy’?” he asked. “We are going to have the opportunity to have that conversation.”
   Big-ticket items in the remaining four years of the plan include $600,000 to repaint the Hinsdale standpipe exterior, $580,000 to replace the roof of the police/fire station, $575,000 to replace fire engine E85 and $550,000 to repaint the interior of the Hinsdale standpipe.
   Trustees and commissioners said they would like to see the list of projects prioritized and to know how much of the costs might be shared with other agencies or recouped through increased revenue.
   Gargano assured officials the village would not move forward with the projects if funds were not available.
   “We are ever mindful of what the revenue projections are and should the revenue projections not perform as anticipated, much as I suggested a couple of years ago, the first items we would be taking a hard look at would be capital items,” she said.


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