The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

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Streets, alleys are priorities in 2015 budget

Dec. 22, 2014 - In the 113th year since its incorporation, the Village will launch an aggressive capital improvement program that will focus on improving vital public infrastructure, especially streets and alleys.

The 2015 budget marks the start of a historic initiative to invest an additional $20 million over the next five years in the Village’s vital community transportation network, a well as other needs like the water and sewer systems.

Oak Park has more than 600 alleys and 240 lane miles of streets, many in need of major repair. As available funds have waned over the past several years, repair efforts have fallen behind community needs and expectations. This new emphasis on capital improvements intends to remedy that situation.

To fund this aggressive program to improve alleys and streets, the Village will issue general obligation bonds to spread the cost of repayment over a 20-year period. Upcoming improvements will be designed to last for a long time. For example, asphalt typically lasts for about 20 years, while concrete can last 50 years and brick up to 70 years.

Officials are relying on increased user fees to fund the multi-year program. This approach, which ties costs to use, gives individuals greater control over how much they pay.

Beginning Jan. 1, the monthly cost for a 64-gallon refuse cart will rise $1.50 to $19.60 and the cost for a 96-gallon refuse cart will increase $2.50 to $23.88. Green yard waste stickers will remain $2.40 and pink bulk refuse stickers $2.

Each year, Oak Parkers send more 13,000 tons of garbage to landfills, recycle more than 6,000 tons of materials and put more than 1,400 tons of yard waste out of collection. Reducing any of these numbers can help reduce costs related to these essential services.

Plans also are in the works to improve the Village’s 105 miles of water lines and 110 miles of sewer. Many of these pipes and mains are nearly a century old. Bonds will help fund this work as well and will be supported by increases in fees users can help control.

Beginning Jan. 1, the combined rate for water and sewer service will rise $1.24 to $10.76 per 1,000 gallons of water used. Residential customers will be assessed a $5 monthly service charge, while commercial customers will be charged a flat rate of up to $15 per month depending on the size of the service connection. The flat fee provides for basic water service, while the volume charge is a true user fee.

Oak Park, like most of the region’s municipalities, buys its water from the City of Chicago. The $6 million the Village typically pays Chicago each year is just for the five-plus million gallons of water Oak Parkers consume every day. The Village is responsible for maintaining the system that delivers the water to customers and carries the waste to the regional treatment plants.

Water, sewer and refuse hauling fees are calculated monthly, but most property owners receive quarterly bills. Payments can be made online, by mail or in-person at Village Hall, 123 Madison St.