DeKalb’s Public Works staff seeks increase of TIF funding for road construction

By Lindsey Salvatelli

Public Works Director Tim Holderman presented the Committee of the Whole with his department’s road improvement plan for the next five years during Monday’s meeting.

The five-year plan is estimated to cost $16. 5 million that would patch and repair just under 29 miles of streets in DeKalb.

Public Works staff and engineers from Engineering Enterprises Inc., a company that addresses infrastructure concerns for public and private clients, presented the outcome of a study that analyzed the condition of DeKalb’s streets to the Committee of the Whole Aug. 17. It was determined after the study’s conclusion that roughly 20 miles of the streets were in fair, poor or very poor condition.

Roads defined as “fair” have an estimated life of eight to 15 years and show signs of cracking. Road that fell into the “poor” and “very poor” categories are estimated to last between five to 10 years, have rough surfaces and show signs of structural damage, according to the City of DeKalb Feb. 7 agenda document.

Holderman said roads were grouped into concentrated areas to minimize impact on residents’ traveling. He also said the grouping benefited the city in terms of costs.

“That grouping is very important because a contractor will give you more favorable pricing if a job is limited in terms of geographic scope,” Holderman said.

Roads identified for the 2018 project are limited to three geographic areas containing 12 streets covering just over three miles, Holderman said.

“In the 2018 year we’re looking at several streets in the Ellwood neighborhood as well as East Taylor Street, which is a continuation of work we’ve done on Taylor in the last two years, and then Ridge Drive up there to the north,” Holderman said.

Holderman said the money for 2019 to 2022 has yet to be secured and asked the committee to consider increasing Tax Increment Funding (TIF) by $2 million in the Ellwood neighborhood as well as the district encompassing East Taylor Street. TIF is public financing that can be used for community improvement projects like infrastructure and redevelopment.

“This is why we need a dedicated funding source so that we can project out three to five years in terms of what our program’s going to look like,” Holderman said. “Right now we’re going year to year, and it’s very difficult to get continuity and good pricing in that type of program.”

First Ward Alderperson David Jacobson said discussions about road construction have been ongoing for a couple of years, but the council needs to commit itself to addressing how to fund the projects.

“Updates are great and presentations are great,” Jacobson said. “It’s time to get to the work that we need to do, and that’s something I think we should have scheduled on the agenda shortly.”