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Government

Elmhurst's proposed $242.4M capital budget includes train, police station upgrades

The city of Elmhurst is looking at major capital projects on the horizon as it establishes its capital expenditure budget for fiscal years 2019 to 2023.
The city of Elmhurst is looking at major capital projects on the horizon as it establishes its capital expenditure budget for fiscal years 2019 to 2023.

ELMHURST –The city of Elmhurst is looking at major capital projects on the horizon as it establishes its capital expenditure budget for fiscal years 2019 to 2023.

The preliminary capital expenditure budget, which city staff presented to the Elmhurst City Council at its Sept. 17 meeting, is $242.4 million, which includes $130.1 million of funding from general obligaton bonds or loans, $25.6 million from federal and state grants, and $23.2 million from the capital improvement fund. The capital improvement fund comes from sources including state income taxes, a 0.25-percent home rule sales tax and a telecommunications tax, according to the presentation.

Proposed projects include $18.2 million for facility improvements to Elmhurst's Metra station, $16.8 million for stormwater pump stations and $23.1 million for police station improvements, according to a memo accompanying the five-year capital expenditure budget document.

City Manager Jim Grabowski said at the meeting the city plans to spread out stormwater management projects over the course of the five years, and the fire station project may get delayed until 2023, or maybe even later.

"There are a number of big projects city-infrastructure-wise that we thought the council needed to be aware of for long-term planning so we can look at everything," Grabowski said.

He said in an interview Oct. 10 that not all of the projects are five-year projects, and the capital expenditure budget is more of a plan for what projects might need funding and what the priority of the projects is.

The fire station replacement is a proposed project, Grabowski said. The station, which was built in 1980, is outdated and needs improvements, according to the budget document.

Grabowski said the city has asked the state to deed it the property between Lake Street and Interstate 290 to the city at no cost, and the acquisition of the property may take a few years. The fire station would move to that property, freeing up the current location, which is at 404 N. York St. in Elmhurst, for retail space, he said.

"A new station is sometime down the road. ..... This is a City Council decision, but in my opinion, the Police Department takes priority over a new fire station," Grabowski said.

A recent space study for the Elmhurst Police Department has indicated the department needs additional square footage and better heating and air conditioning, he said.

Alderman Kevin York said at the meeting that the Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee would be working with Director of Finance Thomas Trosien to provide a more in-depth look at the city's debt that would be presented around the time of the budget process this year.

"I guess there's no good way to bring a $10 million project to council, so this is what staff does. This is what they have to do," Mayor Steve Morley said at the Sept. 17 meeting.

Morley said the capital expenditure budget is the city budget that tends to change the most.

"Our needs could change from year to year," he said.

The capital expenditure budget is projected to have $41.9 million for 2019, including $12.4 million for general fund expenses, $22.4 million for the municipal utility fund and $1.5 million for stormwater detention projects, according to the budget document. The general fund proposed for 2019 includes $6.8 million for street maintenance and $1.4 million for the Police epartment project, while the municipal utility fund proposed for 2019 includes $10.6 million for the wastewater treatment plant, the document stated.

The Public Works and Buildings Committee has been discussing in recent meetings what stormwater projects should take priority.

Grabowski said in the Oct. 10 interview that increases in taxes are determined on an annual basis, and the capital expenditure budget provides the City Council with an idea of what the city wants to do "in the big picture" and the financial implications.

Trosien said in an Oct. 10 interview with Grabowski that he would estimate 99.5 percent of the projects would go through the standard process of having city committees make recommendations to the City Council.

The capital expenditure budget portions allotted to each year are moved into each respective year's operating budget, Grabowski said.

The city will hold a public hearing on the 2019 operating budget Nov. 19, and the City Council is scheduled to approve that budget Dec. 3. If a tax levy public hearing is needed, it would be held Dec. 3, and the levy approved Dec. 17.

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Know more

To learn about the city of Elmhurst's capital expenditure budget for fiscal years 2019 to 2023, visit elmhurst.org/1607/2019-Budget.

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