After months of meetings and discussion, Westmont trustees unanimously passed two ordinances last week to enable the issuing of $11 million in revenue bonds to help with road repairs and to alleviate flooding problems.
"We need the bonds to help improve our infrastructure," said Westmont Mayor Ron Gunter. "I'm excited that our public works director will now make a three-year plan to improve our roads."
Stephen May, director of public works, said the village will resurface 50 percent of the village roads, about 30 miles, using funds from the new bonds.
He is expected to begin making a "to-do list" of streets to repave with construction taking place over three years, beginning in early spring. The remainder of the bond money, about $1.5 million, will be used to help alleviate flooding.
The village has never issued bonds, according to officials, but trustees began considering the idea after residents rejected home-rule status in November and the village lost $2 million in revenue per year from the repeal of a gas tax of 2.5 cents per gallon and a sales tax of 0.5 percent.
Westmont achieved home-rule status through a 2007 special census that determined the population was 26,211, which was above the required 25,000. But the 2010 census showed that the population had dropped to 24,685, triggering a referendum question on whether the village should cease home-rule status.
Spencer Parker, village finance director, recently said the revenue to pay off the 20-year bonds will come mostly from a new "place for eating" tax and motor and utility taxes. The village board in June signed off on a 1.5 percent "places for eating" tax that will generate more than $760,000 per year. Village officials needed to pass the tax to help them secure revenue for the bonds.