Riverside trustees have agreed to use proceeds from a biannual debt issuance used in the past to pay off bonds related to the construction of the village’s public works facility in Riverside Lawn to fund a residential street improvement project in 2020.

The village of Riverside has been issuing what are known as “limited bonds,” every two years to pay off debt related to the public works facility. That project was initially financed by the issuance of $3.3 million in alternate revenue bonds.

That “alternate revenue” has been the proceeds of limited bonds the village has issued every two years.

With a final payment of about $550,000 on the public works construction-related debt slated to be made this year, there’s an opportunity for the village to issue limited bonds in the amount of $1.5 million and pay off the old debt and use the remainder to help fund another long-term investment – resurfacing Selborne Road.

Village officials have identified Selborne Road as a top candidate for improvement, but the estimated cost for improving the entire length of that roadway is about $1.3 million.

Last month, village trustees expressed support for using a new limited bond issue to help fund that work, perhaps using motor fuel taxes or revenue from the village’s 1-percent local sales tax to make up the difference.

“Village residents have been very vocal about wanting the village to address [Selborne Road],” said Trustee Cristin Evans at the village board’s July 18 meeting.

Trustee Edward Hannon said that Selborne Road has been a frequent topic in his conversations with residents since his election to the village board in April.

“I’m very excited that this is a commitment to those residents that there is a fix, [that] it’s recognized as an urgent situation and they’re first in line next construction season,” Hannon said. “If this allows us to do this, I think it’s a great idea.”

Back in 2014, voters approved a $2.5 million bond issue for road improvements, but those funds have already been spent and the village likely wouldn’t seek another such bond issue until 2024 when the debt is paid off.

But, with the public works construction bonds paid off after this year, the village could choose to issue limited bonds every couple of years to fund infrastructure projects, like road improvements, moving forward.

Limited bonds are capped by state statute, but municipalities can levy taxes to pay off the debt service on them without going to referendum, although they are subject to a public hearing. 

Every year since 2003, Riverside has been levying taxes to pay off the limited bonds it has issued every other year to pay the debt service on the public works construction bonds. 

And because the levy for limited bond debt service has stayed steady for the past 16 years, Riverside officials may conclude that maintaining that levy in the future to fund other capital projects would not place an additional burden on taxpayers.

“It’s something residents have seen for a long period of time,” said Village Manager Jessica Frances.

Members of the village board have not had that broader discussion yet, but will likely have it as 2021 draws near.

“It will be an ongoing discussion moving forward, but obviously with [the 2019 limited bonds], we’ll be obligated for the next two years,” Frances said.