Village ends good year, looks to 150th

The village ends 2022 with a reserve balance of over $5 million, which represents 26 percent of the village's annual operating expenses. Given a predicted recession in 2023, the village's budget for 2023 is even more conservative than usual. The village continues to enjoy a AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor's, a distinction only 8 percent of Illinois municipalities can claim.

Based on positive feedback, the village has formalized its outdoor dining program. The village adopted design standards to provide for consistency among restaurants. This year, the village added outdoor lighting and planter boxes to make outdoor dining even more attractive. We continue to work to improve the outdoor dining experience, which is a great way to attract residents and nonresidents to our beautiful downtown.

The village continues to have vibrant retail businesses. Our 3.9 percent retail vacancy rate is lower than many neighboring communities. Hinsdale remains a much sought-after location for retailers. Another luxury auto dealership is planned for Ogden Avenue, across from the existing dealerships. This addition 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 makes infrastructure improvements a high priority. In 2022, among other projects, the village reconstructed Garfield Street in concrete. Village streets are now all in good shape; a big change from five years ago. In 2023, the village will make further infrastructure improvements, including much needed repairs to the water tower near Hinsdale Central High School. That work, which will cost $1.5 million, will be funded through American Rescue Plan Act funds and a contribution from the Illinois Tollway, requiring very little of the village's own funds.

This year, the village board also approved a historic preservation program to preserve Hinsdale's historic homes. The program's financial and zoning incentives are intended to encourage preservation of these valued structures.

The village board remains committed to minimizing adverse impacts from the I-294 expansion. In 2022, the village negotiated an agreement with the Tollway Authority to expand Woodland Park, and to replace a planned above-ground drainage ditch with an underground water storage tank, thus creating even more parkland.

The Tollway has also replaced the pedestrian bridge between Hinsdale and Western Springs, which is located next to 47th Street. In addition, the village is working with the Tollway to redevelop the Hinsdale Oasis with the goal of increasing revenues the village receives from new restaurants opened at the Oasis.

Hinsdale looks forward to 2023, when the village will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Community volunteers are planning activities to commemorate this milestone.

I want to thank the board members, committee members and the village staff for all their hard work in 2022.

Happy holidays!

- Tom Cauley, village president