By Gregory Harutunian Correspondent

The Richmond Village Board elected to accept a recommendation to make interest only payments on an outstanding Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) construction loan, for the next fiscal year, during its regular April 4 meeting.

The full board is slated to enact the 2014 fiscal year operating budget, which includes the lower IEPA debt service amount, at the upcoming April 18 business session.

A proposal by the IEPA to extend interest only payments toward the loan was made at a joint meeting between the agency and the village officials, which allows two annual payments of $85,331.39. At issue was a tentative operating budget plan that incorporated payments of approximately $188,000 twice a year that included principal and interest.

“The village’s Finance Committee reviewed the proposed budget at its Apr. 2 meeting, and amended the amounts to reflect the interest only payment,” said Richmond Village Clerk Karla Thomas. “The Village Board met Apr. 4 and authorized the village president to sign the agreement with the IEPA for the interest only payment option.

“The finance committee convenes again Apr. 9, and the purpose is to review the budget to ensure the proper amounts, along with reviewing the items.”

Initially, the bard was to review the planned budget at the Apr. 4 session, in advance of the Apr. 18 meeting, where the actual approval vote would be conducted. The village’s fiscal year runs from May 1 through April 30, and the operating budget contains incoming revenues and expenditures. The initial budget was pegged at nearly $3.1 million.

Revenue enhancements were made by the board March 7 including a rate hike on vehicle stickers, from $10 to $20, along with raising telecommunication tax fees, from 3 percent to 6 percent, both increases are presently in force.

Two municipal taxes on utilities, NICOR gas services for 5 percent and a tiered scale of tax for Com Ed electrical service, contingent upon usage, were enacted and will be seen within the next few billing cycles.

The other area of review for the budget revolved around a sewer and water tax increase to 10 percent, which Village President Pete Koenig had indicated would be a questionable area. If the lower IEPA payment is selected, does the village need to charge the full 10 percent rate.

All of the new taxes and increases were targeting the IEPA loan debt service amount, he had said, and the budget also encompasses other line items and departments. Village negotiations with the IEPA are ongoing.

The IEPA construction loan was approved for expansion on the village’s Sewer Treatment Plant, where the remedial work was completed in 2007.

Revenues from a proposed residential development were meant to offset the costs of the construction but the subdivision never materialized, leaving the village responsible for the debt. The village and developer concluded their litigation with a settlement last year, and have made no further contacts.

Last Nov., Geoff Andres, the state revolving fund manager for the IEPA had said the agency understood that revenues from the development were to pay for the expansion of the plant. Re-amortizing the loan and arriving at a solution was a paramount consideration, he said, as all loans are 20-year time lengths and do not extend further.

Koenig has said the plant is currently using the treatment plants unused capacity for private companies that service septic system sites with fee-based generation of revenues to discharge their concentrated waste. The plant will also benefit from capital investments in the near future to increase its processing capabilities.

Presently, the village’s overall budget is slated for the April 18 board meeting, and will be clarified prior to the vote.

 

 
 

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