By Ethan Colbert Herald-Whig.
QUINCY — Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore wants the Quincy City Council to approve $33 million in bonds and low-interest loans for road, sewer and water projects, which he is calling the city’s first large-scale public infrastructure initiative since the 1990s.
In an interview with The Herald-Whig, Moore said the proposal includes $19 million for streets and $14 million for sewer and water projects.
The proposal will be presented to the city’s Finance Committee Monday. The City Council could vote on the resolution as soon as July 22.
If approved by the council, Moore said his administration would start the process of securing the bonds and working with the council to finalize the list of projects. Both require council approval.
Moore said passage of this proposal would not cause property taxes to increase. The $19 million in bonds for street projects would be paid using existing city revenue sources, including a 26-cent tax rate that has been used in the past to pay off of previous bonds. For water and sewer projects, the city plans to access low-interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which Moore said would be paid off within the city’s existing rate structure.
If approved, Moore hopes the multi-million initiative would be completed within 12 to 18 months of its start date in 2020.
“During our budget discussions in April, the city council adopted a comprehensive five-year infrastructure needs plan, which identified an excess of $40 million in infrastructure needs and improvements,” Moore said. “During that five-year period, we estimate that we are only going to have a total of $12 million to spend on those projects. We have infrastructure needs that far outweigh our revenue sources so this is an opportunity for us to take a large chunk out of that infrastructure deficit.”
Moore’s proposal includes $2 million worth of projects in each of the city’s seven wards and an additional $3 million for what he calls “community benefit projects.”
“We wanted to do our best to spread the investments equally through the wards, but also hit some of the major projects that could and would not get done without a major revenue source,” Moore said. “We want to make sure that people see the results of this proposal in their neighborhoods but also on the streets that they travel the most.”
Moore said he plans to release a detailed list of the possible projects by early next week.
Among the community benefit projects are the resurfacing of Harrison, 48th, North 12th, and South 12th from Greenmount Cemetery to State, which Moore said is going to be complicated by the presence of decades-old streetcar tracks.
“If we did South 12th Street on our own, that project alone would end up eating nearly half of our yearly capital budget,” Moore said.
The mayor’s proposal also calls for $400,000 worth of repairs to the South Eighth Stone Arch Bridge.
Streets included in the proposal are ones that have consistently been rated as either being in fair or poor condition by transportation experts, Moore said.
The initiative also has plans for addressing crumbling sidewalks and alleyways.
“A lot of people need their sidewalks done, but we simply don’t have the manpower to get to those,” Moore said. “When you get hit with things like flooding and other work, then this backlog is created. This will help us reduce that backlog.”
“This is just the framework of what we are trying to put together,” Moore said. “We still have to finalize projects. We still have to hire engineering firms. There are a lot of moving parts, but this initiative would complete about 10 years of projects that we need to have done. This is a major step for us.”