Hinsdale ending the year in a good place

The financial impact of the pandemic on Hinsdale lessened in 2021, with many revenue sources rebounding to pre-pandemic levels. We will end 2021 with a reserve balance of $6.7 million, which represents 37.2 percent of the village’s annual operating expenses. Because of the village’s financial strength, throughout the pandemic we were able to maintain the same level of first-rate police, fire and public works services that residents have come to expect. Moreover, the village has continued to maintain the highest bond rating, the AAA rating, which is a rating that less than 10 percent of Illinois municipalities can claim.

Our restaurants have largely recovered from the pandemic as well. Outdoor dining has been a success during the pandemic, weather permitting. We are currently exploring whether to continue the outdoor dining options in the downtown and elsewhere in the village after the pandemic ends, and, if we do, how to make outdoor dining locations more aesthetically pleasing. In any event, with the new parking deck that was completed at the beginning of the pandemic, Hinsdale’s downtown restaurants and retail shops should see a further uptick in business post-pandemic.

Also, our retail vacancy rate is just 1.4 percent, which is phenomenal given that the average vacancy rate for the Chicago area is 6 percent. A new luxury auto sales group, Current Automotive, is opening in December 2021 on the property previously occupied by the Land Rover dealership on Ogden Avenue, which will further strengthen the village’s sales tax base. The village board remains committed to doing all that it can to ensure that our local businesses prosper.

The village board continues to make plans for further major road, sewer, water and drainage improvements in the coming years. As a result of our road-improvement efforts, over 97.5 percent of Hinsdale’s roads are now rated in “good” or “excellent” condition, as compared to 52 percent at the beginning of my first term as village president. In 2021, the village completed replacement of the 100-year old water main under Chicago Avenue. Other sewer and water improvements were made this year as part of the East Eighth Street Reconstruction Project. In 2022, we will redo South Garfield in concrete, as opposed to asphalt, to accommodate Garfield’s heavy truck and car traffic.

The village board remains committed to minimizing the impact of the expansion of Interstate 294 on residents and to maintain the revenue stream that the village previously enjoyed from the Hinsdale Oasis, which was removed as part of the expansion project.

I want to thank the board members and the village staff for all their hard work in 2021.

Happy Holidays!

— Tom Cauley, Village President