There has been coverage in the Volunteer newspaper regarding this project. It has been discussed in length throughout the years and goes back to the Mike Sweet era. It had been held-off due to other projects in the past. The current building is owned by the Durand Sanitary District. It is in disrepair and has not served its purpose adaquately for many years. With water main breaks, sewer lagoon accidents and lift station repairs, public works employees can be, and have been, exposed and submersed in toxic, human waste and sewage. For safety reasons, a shower, locker room and change of clothes are necessary to address the situation as soon as possible without contaminating family and personal vehicles. The building will house ALL equipment, vehicles & accessories (approximately $1.5 million sitting outside year-round right now), and allow for vehicle and equipment maintenance to be done on-site. Of course, there will be proper rest rooms, rest space, break room and office space which allow for safe rest and recovery from extended periods of snow removal or emergency situations.
Had this project taken place years ago, costs would have been lower. Unfortunately, costs have increased. The Village wished to obtain a bank loan, however since the cost is over $1.7 million, the bank attorney suggested Bonds. The plan is to purchase all or most items not specifically pertaining to the structure of the building, be paid out-of-pocket using funds that have been set aside in Capital Improvement Accounts for this project over the years.
Normally, if the cost of Bonds are to be repaid from property taxes, a referendum would be required. However, the Village wishes to abate the Bond Repayment, and NOT extend repayment to the property owners within the Village. The published notice in the RRSTAR paper contained the legally required verbiage regarding any potential default on repayment.
The Water Tower Bonds were abated and never passed along to the residents. It was fully repaid December 2023. The Square Bonds are also being abated and NOT passed along to property taxes.
The $3.5 Million amount that is seen in the publication, in RRSTAR, is a high-end, contingency amount. Meaning, whatever amount is chosen when the process begins is as high as can be borrowed. The amount can not be increased later if there is a problem. It works more like a “credit limit”. However, the final, borrowed amount can go as low as needed. (Example: the Square Project high-end was $800,000 but the Village only Bonded $400,000 over 10 years). The Public Works Project is estimated to end up being more like $2.4 million over 20-25 years.
Unfortunately, there are NO grant funds available for public works facilities. We have checked with the Village Grant Writers, County and State level grant programs. Congressman LaHood mentioned having possible federal funds but most are only to be used for infrastructure or economic development. Thankfully, the Sanitary District will be allocating some funds towards the project.
This is just a situation where we need to do what needs to be done.
The Bond Public Hearing will be held before the regularly scheduled Village Board Meeting on Monday, February 12, 2024.
If, after reading these details, a petition to stop Bond Process is still desired, please stop by Village Hall for the petition form. It will be printed and available for anyone who wishes to take one.
Aaron Kahl, Public Work Superintendent may be reached at 815-248-2201 or for any specific questions regarding the project.