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Oswego facing street maintenance funding gap : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Oswego facing street maintenance funding gap
Long-range capital plan: state Motor Fuel Tax funds not enough

by John Etheredge


The Village of Oswego will need on average of $1.3 million in additional funding annually over the next five years to pay for the village's street maintenance program, according to a draft capital improvement plan (CIP) prepared by village staff and presented to the village board Tuesday evening.

In a memo to the board, Mark Horton, the village's finance director, noted the purpose and goal of the 20-year CIP is to facilitate board and staff discussions on long-term planning for the repair or replacement of current village infrastructure or for infrastructure that has yet to be constructed.

The CIP identifies $55 million in potential infrastructure improvements that could be completed over the next five years, but notes that the village has only $2.7 million in funding available.

Horton acknowledged the list of potential capital projects and their associated costs is long. However, he added, "None of this is meant to be scary, but to start some thoughtful discussion."

He continued, "Staff is not suggesting the village spend millions of dollars to complete all of the listed projects. Together, we will collaboratively determine what will be done."

The village's annual road improvement program is described in the CIP as providing the "simplest illustration of need" for capital improvements.

Over the past several decades, the village has used state-reimbursed Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) revenues to pay for its annual street resurfacing program. However, the CIP states, "MFT revenue is on the decline and no longer is sufficient to support the estimated total costs of the annual road program expenditures."

The CIP continues: "Additional revenues will need to be allocated to the funding of the annual road program to maintain the current improvement schedule or staff can reduce the miles of roadways scheduled for improvement in a given year. On average, approximately $1.3 million in additional funding is needed over the next five years to complete the annual road program."

Horton told the board if they wish to continue to maintain local streets as they have done in the past, "we have a current shortfall that we will have to address."

Steve Jones, village administrator, advised board members not to expect state officials to increase MFT payments to the village in the coming years.

The CIP identifies the implementation of a local gasoline tax as one potential funding option for the street maintenance program. Motorists would be charged at gas stations in the village and thereby paid by those using village streets.

Why is the village faced with millions of dollars in infrastructure maintenance expenses over the next two decades? The CIP cites the rapid residential and business development that occurred in the village from 2000 when the village's population was just over 13,000 to the current population of more than 33,000.

The CIP notes, "With the increased population came numerous new subdivisions, commercial development and a host of public infrastructure improvements. With the new development came miles of new roadways, curb and gutter, water mains, sewer mains, storm sewers, street lighting, traffic signals, wells and water towers, street signage and landscaping. The village is responsible for the maintenance and future replacement of all this new infrastructure."

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