Urbana council closer to issuing bonds for Windsor Road work
URBANA — Urbana City Council members say they are ready to issue up to $2.8 million in bonds to pay for part of the Windsor Road reconstruction over the next year.
The city will be on the hook for just more than $300,000 per year until 2023 to pay back the debt. The rebuild of the road that has been ravaged by a chemical problem in the concrete is expected to cost in excess of $5 million — state officials have guaranteed up to $2.5 million to pay for the remainder of the costs.
Council members on Monday night gave the initial approval needed to move forward with the bond issue. They'll have to give formal approval when they meet next week.
That keeps the reconstruction of Windsor Road between Race Street and Philo Road on schedule to start this summer. When the project is completed by fall 2015, the road will have some new features, too: A five-foot grass median along its entire length, except for intersections; accessible pedestrian signals at Windsor Road and Race Street; and flashing beacons at the Vine Street crosswalk to Meadowbrook Park.
The city had budgeted up to $320,000 annually out of its local motor fuel tax fund to pay back the construction debt. But that a huge portion of the gas tax fund, which pays for local road repairs and maintenance and is the product of the four-cent gas tax drivers pay at Urbana gas pumps.
That payback plans stands for now, but Mayor Laurel Prussing said she would like to look at alternative payment methods.
"We will be looking for other sources of revenue," Prussing said. "I hate to take all the money and just put it on Windsor Road because we have a lot of other streets that need repair."
Alderman Michael Madigan, R-Ward 6, said he hopes that does not mean any kind of tax increase.
"I will be adamantly opposed to any tax increase to pay for this," Madigan said. "I think we need to find the money internally, and I think that can be done."
Madigan said, however, that he thought the interest rate on the debt — less than 2 percent — was "outstanding."