Tinley $1.8M Shy on Road Repair Funds
The village only has about $1.5 million of the $3.3 million it needs to keep the roads up to past standards. Will they get the money or lower the standards?
The company that handles the village's pavement says it will cost Tinley about $3.3 million this year to keep roads as smooth as in years past.
Trouble is, the village has about $1.5 million to $1.7 million to pay for the work.
The board discussed the situation in their Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday. It has other funds it could tap for the work, but the board debated whether it would be better to reduce costs and save those funds for a really rainy day.
"To beg, borrow and steal for $2 million this year is a much better option than letting it go for a couple years like some other suburbs have done and having to go to a $20 million bond issue," said Public Works and Boundaries Committee Chairman Tom Staunton.
The $3.3 million plan (which is actually $4.3 million, with the state paying $1 million) would repair 54 streets and a total 14 miles of Tinley Park roads. So the question becomes whether to do some of that, do all of it to a lower quality or to do it all and find the money elsewhere.
The village pays for road maintenance of this type through the tax on gasoline sold at Tinley Park filling stations, Staunton said. There is a reserve fund the village can tap. It's made up of a portion of the vehicle sticker hike of a few years back.
But several board members were concerned about tapping the fund this year when roads have to be fixed every year. Once that money's gone, it's gone.
Village Clerk Pat Rea said the current shortfall shows growing flaws in villages' and cities' system of paying for roads with gas money.
"Yesterday's way of doing it, we really can't afford anymore," Rea said.
The village has a policy to keep roads at an "overall condition index" of 85 percent, but the average for road quality is about 87 percent, Village Manager Scott Niehaus said.
In English, that means a fresh, well-maintained stretch of road in Tinley is an 87. Imagine that going to an 81 or 83.