Naperville council to mull $17.3 million in new capital debt

<p>File Photo</p>

File Photo

Naperville is poised to take out a loan of up to $17.34 million to cover some major public projects in the coming year. Officials say the new debt won’t inflict much pain on the taxpayer, though.

The city’s 2015 Capital Improvement Program comprises some $54 million worth of work, and the municipal coffers have enough cash on hand to fund about two-thirds of the work. City Council members will decide at their meeting Tuesday evening whether to go ahead with the sale of general obligation bonds to cover the remainder.

The estimated annual $1.2 million debt service cost coming out of the new bond sale would translate to “roughly 2 cents of property tax,” Finance Director Karen DeAngelis said in an email, although the municipality’s added interest expenses won’t be that much.

“Since the city is retiring $6.8 million of old bonds this year, the net increase in borrowing is only $10.5 million and the increase in the debt service payment will be $0.7 million a year,” DeAngelis said.

Among the anticipated sums to be borrowed for the planned projects are:

$6,775,000 for the city’s portion of the new Water Street parking garage, which will add 404 public spaces to the downtown; some of the costs associated with expansion of the parking deck on Chicago Avenue east of Washington Street; and parking lot maintenance.

$550,000 for improvements to the Riverwalk, including connections from the lower walkway under the Washington Street Bridge to Washington Street and the Moser Bridge.

$1,160,000 for costs related to construction of bridges taking the eastern extension of 95th Street over the DuPage River, North Aurora Road under the railroad tracks west of Route 59, and South Washington’s pedestrian lane over the West Branch of the DuPage River near Ring Road.

$1,240,000 for relining about 15,000 linear feet of storm sewer pipe.

$2,830,000 to upgrade and enhance city-owned properties including the libraries and Naper Settlement, IT systems, an enhanced environmental collection center, and replacement of the salt conveyor system.

$3,530,000 for traffic signals, intersection upgrades and street improvements on Route 59, 95th Street and other locations in the city.

$800,000 to install 11,024 city street lights that use LED bulbs.

$455,000 to replace about 900 trees infested with the emerald ash borer.

The ordinance provides a stipulation that the annual interest on the bonds will not exceed 5.5 percent. Although costs arising from the bond sale will call for $2,053,700 in new tax revenue this year, DeAngelis said real estate tax bills won’t necessarily increase because of the new borrowing, pointing out that the city’s levy has gone down in each of the past four years.

“The average home sales price right now in Naperville is $375,000,” DeAngelis said. “So for the average homeowner it will mean approximately $14 of the city portion of the property tax bill will go to pay for this increase in debt service.”

The council meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers of the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St.