Village of La Grange Park

Village of Roses
Photo from La Grange Park

2016 Bond Referenda - Background Information

Overview
Here residents will find valuable information on the Village’s upcoming Bond referendum to finance a $10 Million Road Improvement Project and $1.2 to finance a new ladder truck and ambulance for our Fire Department. Because these needs can no longer be delayed, the Village Board voted unanimously to place two referendum questions on the March 15, 2016 ballot (presidential primary election). The Village is committed to providing high quality services in a fiscally responsible manner. For this reason, it is important that residents stay informed on the bond referendum and understand why the road project and equipment purchases must take place.

Existing revenues are not sufficient to maintain the Village’s 35 miles of roads at a sustainable pace and replace essential fire department equipment. As a result, the Village Board determined the need to prepare for a general obligation bond issuance. The Village is required by state law to receive approval from the voters in order to issue new bonds supported by property taxes (non-home rule). The bonds would be financed over 10 years and the estimated impact to a homeowner’s tax bill is $109 per year per $100,000 of property value. The Village is required by state law to go to referendum in order to issue general obligation bonds supported by property taxes. Because the law considers road projects and fire vehicles to be distinct uses, the Village must allow voters to vote on each question separately.
 
Propositions to Issue $11.2 General Obligation Bonds
#1 Shall the Village of La Grange Park, Cook County, Illinois, undertake road improvements in and for the Village, including street resurfacing and sidewalk repair, all on property owned by the Village or over which the Village has sufficient easements, and issue its general obligation bonds to the amount of $10,000,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof, said bonds bearing interest at not to exceed the rate of 6.00% per annum?
#2 Shall the Village of La Grange Park, Cook County, Illinois, purchase fire safety vehicles and equipment for the public welfare and safety of the Village, and issue its general obligation bonds to the amount of $1,200,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof, said bonds bearing interest at not to exceed the rate of 6.00% per annum?
 
Village Evaluates Financing Options
The Village is limited in its ability to increase revenues. Through a local revenue study, the Village has taken measures to increase revenue where possible, but it is not enough to support the amount of road work or fire equipment needed. Further, the Village has limited options for financing debt. Because the Village has a strong credit rating, bonds are a cost effective way to finance large road projects and equipment in a shorter time period and these funds cannot be used for operating costs or other capital purposes. In addition, the property tax is usually income tax deductible for homeowners.

Revenue has not kept up with ever increasing costs to provide essential services and the Village has had to postpone necessary capital projects and purchases. Through strategic planning, the Village Board has undertaken a number of cost saving measures since the recession in an effort to do more with less. However, the Village must spend over $1M annually on roads to get to a 35 year repaving cycle. At this time we are on a 70 year street repaving cycle - we are losing our roads and we need a more robust road improvement plan or we will get even further behind.

Residents should take note that our Village has the lowest property tax rate per capita when compared to surrounding communities and is projected to continue to have the lowest per capita property taxes with the proposed bonds.

Road Improvements are a Top Priority
If approved, the Village anticipates that the road improvement program would be completed within six years or less, resurfacing 26% or nine miles of the streets that are in most need of repair. Without passage, the Village will continue its pay-as-you-go program where the Village completes street projects in accordance with any available capital funding (2-3 blocks per year and more patching), competing with other critical capital needs. Protecting and improving our local streets is a top priority of the Village given its impact on vehicle and pedestrian safety, the safety to and effectiveness of emergency responders, property values and economic development.

Fire Safety Equipment Needs Replacement
Fire Department equipment includes the replacement of our ladder truck and one ambulance. Our ladder truck is 25 years old and mechanical and maintenance costs continue to increase with each year. The vehicle is also rusting, some of which was repaired, but rusting will continue over time. The Village uses the ladder truck regularly as our Standard Operating Guidelines dictate that the ladder truck is placed directly at the front line of response for incidents, fires, smoke investigations, and alarms. Our ambulance is 16 years old and due to its age, is need of replacement and a new ambulance will meet all current safety standards. Timely equipment replacement in the Fire Department ensures that our first responders continue to provide high quality service in the care of its residents, their homes, schools and business community.