Capital costs key part of spending plan

Some $2.4 million in five-year plan will be incorporated into village’s FY2023 budget

As staffers finalize the fiscal year 2023 budget for the Village of Hinsdale, one important component is the capital improvement plan.

The five-year CIP identifies $12.5 million worth of expenses slated for 2023-27. Next year’s budget includes $2.4 million — $958,500 for public services, $550,000 for parks and rec, $484,600 for police, $251,280 for administration/finance/information/technology, $135,000 for economic development and $69,000 for fire.

Village manager Kathleen Gargano noted the village does not always spend the allocation in the designated year. For example, only $396,000 of the police department’s $589,000 budget was spent last year because supply chain issues are affecting the availability of squad cars.

“We’re running into a significant problem with that,” she said.

The 2023 capital budget includes $100,000 to reconfigure space in the Memorial Building, which houses village offices and the board meeting room.

“We have aging facilities, this being one of them,” Gargano said. In addition to improving the mechanicals, the village also is looking to reallocate space in the building after HCS Family Services moves from the basement to its new location on Elm Street.

“We want to be making smart decisions,” she said.

About $64,000 has been set aside to upgrade technology in the village board room to make digital presentations easier to see. The Enterprise Resource Planning software system will see a $34,000 investment to help provide more online services to residents. They now can pay their water bills online.

“That is up and running and we’re working on the building permit modules,” Gargano said.

The village expects to have $771,000 in grant funds to put toward various capital projects.

Grant money is expected to help pay for a $250,000 upgrade to the gun range in the police station basement. The space currently is unusable after it failed an air quality test, Chief Brian King said.

“The biggest chunk of that grant money is actually going to the air quality filter in that range, less so the cosmetic stuff,” King said.

A $295,000 Metra grant will pay for improvements to the Highlands train station. Another grant is expected to pay for a $50,000 improvement project for the pedestrian walkway from the parking deck off Garfield Avenue onto First Street.

The largest line item for public services is $220,500 for a new truck. A new tractor carries a price tag of $92,000.

The plan introduces several annual expenses in public works, including $20,000 a year to replace crosswalk bricks.

“The brick crosswalks have been a nice addition to the downtown, but there has been some chipping of the bricks,” Gargano said. “We need to bring them up to what they looked like a few years ago.”

Another $50,000 is earmarked through 2027 to enhance the wetlands gardens in the Woodlands for better functionality.

“We’ve seen significant erosion,” said George Peluso, director of public services.

The parks and recreation line item includes $180,000 to replace playground equipment at Burns Field, $125,000 to tuckpoint the KLM building currently used by a Montessori school, and $75,000 for new bleachers and fence repairs/replacement at Peirce Park.

In a typical year, the village transfers $1.25 million from its operating budget to the CIP. With lower revenues in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, that amount was reduced to $625,000. Recent positive revenue trends led officials to raise it to $2 million for 2023 and $1.4 million annually after that.

In the CIP’s final years, expenses outpace available funds, and officials discussed whether the operating fund transfer should be increased.

The capital plan often changes from year to year, Gargano said, based on deferred expenses or revised bids or grant money that comes in. She recommended continuing with the $1.4 million transfer in the next few years unless circumstances warrant increasing it.

Trustees are expected to review the draft budget at their board meeting Tuesday, Nov. 15.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean