Oswego to catch up on capital projects? : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Oswego to catch up on capital projects? |
|New budget has funds to repaint Ogden Falls tower, repave streets, install paths |
|by John Etheredge|
A slowly improving economy means the Village of Oswego expects to have more revenue available to pay for capital improvement projects and purchases over the next 12 months.
As a result, the village's proposed 2013-14 fiscal year budget includes funding for 25 separate improvement projects and/or equipment purchases totaling $4.9 million.
That compares with the six separate projects and $3.3 million in funding authorized by the village board last year as part of the village's current fiscal year budget.
The current fiscal year will end April 30. The board is scheduled to review the proposed new budget with village staff during a committee-of-the-whole set for Tuesday, March 19 beginning at 6 p.m. at village hall.
Among the projects targeted for funding and their budget amounts are:
_Relocation of a village-owned water main along Ill. Route 71: $2.2 million. (Year two of project.)
_Ogden Falls Subdivision water tower repainting: $800,000.
_Annual road improvement program: $600,000.
_Police and public works department vehicle purchases: $483,035.
_U.S. Route 30 widening: $100,000 (Local required contribution to the Illinois Department of Transportation for the widening of the highway between Briarcliff Road and Goodwin Drive.)
_Mill Road bike path: $60,000.
_North Adams Street bike path: $50,000.
_Emergency generator for village hall: $50,000.
_Crosswalk improvements at Washington (U.S. Route 34) and Harrison streets in the village's downtown: $40,000.
_Downtown facade improvement program: $30,000.
_Community entry signs: $30,000.
_Curb, gutter, sidewalks in Cedar Glen Subdivision: $17,000.
_Water well No. 7 generator: $15,000.
_Informational or "wayfinding" kiosks for the downtown: $9,500.
The proposed budget also includes $59,325 to remodel the front desk area and re-carpet sections of the lobby at the village police station on U.S. Route 34, across from the Fox Bend Golf Course.
Steve Jones, village administrator, noted that some of the projects and/or purchases now proposed for funding have been deferred in recent years due to budget constraints.
"Catch up is the kind of the theme of this (new) budget," Jones said, adding, "As revenues have increased a bit because of an improving economy, we now have the ability to do some of the things that we had deferred for the past couple of years."
Apart from water service revenues, Jones noted the village's primary source of income are sales tax and state-shared income tax revenues.
Both revenue sources have continued to rise since the low point of the recession in 2009.
Jones noted the village's sales tax revenues have increased over the past year despite the closing of the Lowe's store in the Prairie Market shopping center on U.S. Route 34 early last year.
Jones speculated that many of Lowe's former shoppers took their business to other stores in the village such as Home Depot in the nearby Oswego Commons shopping center.
Concerning other proposed expenditures, Jones said the water tower in the Ogden Falls Subdivision has not been re-painted since it was built in 1992.
He said inspections of the tower have confirmed that it requires both repairs and repainting to reduce any further deterioration.
Jones added that village staff is now researching a possible maintenance program for all five of the village water towers.
A maintenance program may allow the village to spread out the cost for water tower painting and repairs over multiple years, according to Jones.
"Under a maintenance program the costs would be spread out over the contract period and it would be a way for us to avoid the $600,000 or $700,000 shock (to the budget for painting)," he said, adding, "A program would also provide regular inspections so theoretically repairs could be made before they become critical and more costly."
If the board eventually enters into a contract for a maintenance program for one or more of its water towers, Jones said the village will likely not spend close to the $800,000 currently budgeted for Ogden Falls tower for the coming fiscal year.
The proposed crosswalk improvement at Washington and Harrison streets would be intended to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the four lanes on Washington Street, according to Jones.
The project would involve the installation of pedestrian-activated warning lights that are similar to the lights the village had installed at the corner of Main and Washington streets in 2011, Jones said.
"From a police perspective they (the lights) do work," he said, adding, "These lights add a whole new element of safety."
North Adams bike lane,
Mill Road path in budget
Jones said the village is working with the Oswegoland Park District on the proposed bike lane on North Adams Street between Second Avenue and North Street.
He noted engineering plans for the project have yet to be completed and the park district is seeking a grant to help pay for it. As a result, he said actual construction will probably not take place until the spring of next year.
As initially proposed, Jones said the bike lane would be installed within the existing village-owned public right-of-way along North Adams Street.
"There is no land acquisition necessary that we are aware of," Jones noted.
North Adams Street serves as a link between segments of the Fox River Trail to the north and south. Jones said installation of the bike lane will improve safety for the many walkers, cyclists and runners who now must share the narrow street with motor vehicles.
Jones said he expects work will definitely start during the new fiscal year on the installation of a bike path along the north side of Mill Road between Ill. Route 31 and Orchard Road on the village's west side.
"I can't tell you for sure if the project will be bid and let before the end of the year," he said.
The Mill Road bike path will provide a safe passageway for walkers, runners and cyclists between Route 31 and Orchard Road.
New entryway signs
also proposed for funding
The proposed new entryway signs would replace the existing wooden signs that were installed by the village in 1989.
The signs are in deteriorating condition, according to Jones.
In the budget, the justification for the proposed expenditure states: "Entryway signs provide a sense of identification for residents, and help foster a community image for visitors."
Jones said he would expect the existing signs would be replaced over a two-year period.
In addition, the signs feature an outdated logo once used by the Oswego Business Association, the forerunner organization to the Oswego Chamber of Commerce.
The board has not discussed the design for the new signs, but Jones said he personally would like to see the new signs feature the village's newer logo, which is shown on four of the village's five water towers.
"I like the village's logo. I think it is a phenomenal design and it kind of brands us. It shows the river and the prairie-the features that define Oswego," he said.
Jones also noted the village has grown significantly in geographic size since the existing signs were installed and some are no longer located at entry points to the village. He said those signs will need to be relocated as part of the project.
The existing front desk and furnishing in the lobby at the village police station are now over 20 years-old and in need of updating, according to Jones.
In addition to not being compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ACT), Jones said the lobby is open 24 hours every day of the year and receives heavy use.
The parking lot at the village's public works facility at 100 Theodore Drive just south of Oswego High School is also in need of resurfacing after 10 years of use, according to Jones.