Village Explains $27M Capital Improvement Plans

During a board meeting Monday night, New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann discussed the village's plans to increase utility and sales taxes to help finance a new police department, public works facility, side street repairs and the extension of Nelson Road.

Following the news that New Lenox is planning to increase its utility and sales taxes to help pay for major capital improvement projects, Mayor Tim Baldermann said he got questions from a number of residents.

The mayor and the rest of the Village Board took the time to further explain the plans for $27 million in capital improvements, including a new police station and public works facility, the extension of Nelson Road and a 20-year plan for side street repairs.

"We have an obligation to see beyond tomorrow," Baldermann said during the Sept. 12 meeting. "This is the absolute best time to do it. We are setting ourselves up for the future."

The village would increase its sales tax by a 1/2 a cent, bringing the total rate to 8.5 percent, and also increase its utility tax 5 percent on gas and electric. That would bring in an additional $2.9 million in annual revenue for the village, which would fund an annual $1.7 million bond payment for the projects and a $1.1 million annual payment for repairs to side streets.

Board members said the average resident would still see savings each year, despite the tax increases, because of savings from the village eliminating car and pet tags, $174 in savings for lower electric bills through the and continued 40 percent property tax rebates.

A few residents voiced concerns and asked questions during the meeting. Rich Gamen and Robert Buonadonna both said that, despite enjoying the savings from the electricity aggregation, they feel a new tax on utilities reduces promised savings.

“You giveth with this hand, and the government taketh away with the other hand," Buonadonna said. "Nobody wants to pay any more taxes. There are many people still struggling."

Baldermann said the village looked at every source of revenue to determine what would bring in the needed money and have the smallest overall impact on residents’ wallets. Utilities and sales taxes were chosen in part because non-residents foot some of the bill. Utility tax increase will also be paid by commercial entities, and out-of-town shoppers will contribute to the sales tax. 

The mayor recognized that the public won't always see the benefits of new buildings, but said .

“I think we’ve made tremendous strides to do what’s right for the community and show them we care about New Lenox not only today but also in the future," Baldermann said.

The village is still considering various land options for the new buildings, but the board expects to approve the financing during its next meeting, which is at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, at .

Marie September 13, 2011 at 11:21 AM
What a waste of taxpayer money. While residents must live within their means, the mayor and his board are clueless and completely insensitive to budgeting. This is nothing more than politicians spending more money we don't have on things we don't need. Vote them out.
Chad G. September 13, 2011 at 02:23 PM
It sure seems that there would be better ways to spend our money. What real value does a new police station provide for the city. I understand that more space is a luxury that anybody might enjoy, especially folks cooped up in an office all day. What about investing in tax revenue generating start-ups in New Lenox? What about the New Malls. Wait for when the timing is right and fund these projects with actual, not projected income when the time is right.
Michael Sewall (Editor) September 13, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Hi Chad, just to clarify your comments, the revenue for this project wouldn't be projected income, it would be actual income that would come through tax increases to utilities and sales taxes with current projections, not future.
Lsingersongs September 13, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Well so much for looking forward to the Direct Energy savings! Just send it somewhere else. At this rate I will not be able to afford a future in New Lenox.
N Yan September 13, 2011 at 06:23 PM
As I've voiced again, EXTREMELY disappointed in the village again. Answer me this Balderman, was the push to convince people to switch energy providers so that when we are hit with an increase to pay for unnecessary buildings at his time, to make us be "okay" with the proposed increase. Is a NEW building REALLY necessary for both? Also wish the people of the village never voted for Home Rule. Surely our sales tax will go up again in about a year. What about revamping existing buildings to accomodate needs? I can see that EVENTUALLY we may need larger spaces but we do NOT now and the housing market certainly is picking up and won't for a while... many people are struggling and these increases will really hurt. Me not having to pay $30 for parking stickers won't offset my increase in sales tax nor energy tax. And let's not forget about the probable tax increase of around $200 a year for NL School District 122. Spend within means. Spend where absolutely necessary. Perhaps a FULL explanation as to why these new buildings are SO desperately needed would help... you know, a cost benefit analysis. I'm tired of government of any size just saying "Gee, this would be nice. We could probably use it. Let's do it. Hmm, we can't afford it. Well, we'll figure out. We can always raise taxes too.".
al martineck sr September 13, 2011 at 09:20 PM
you also have an oblication to the public that voted for you and it wasnt to raise utility bills or sales tax. as i understood the new city hall program was that they needed more room and therefor the police dept would have the whole building to themselves????
DRK September 14, 2011 at 05:57 PM
I agree with the above comments.These buildings are not needed,they are WANTED! I wish I could get everything I want , but I don't have an open checkbook of the taxpayers money. It's ironic that they have these meetings to voice our concerns but they still do what they want!!! I think we need some people with some common sense running this town!
K. Little September 15, 2011 at 03:36 PM
http://shorewood-il.patch.com/articles/new-lenox-2-shorewood-0 This seems like a wasteful venture as well. Mike...do we know who will pay the travel expenses for this employee to commute from Texas several times a month (air fare, lodging, per diem)? Was this truly THE best candidate? Or blatant patronage? Did they know she would not live locally when hired? I strongly disagree that someone living thousands of miles away can be as effective as someone who lives more locally, more connected to the community. How can she be truly "hands on"? Overall, seems a very odd/poor choice. Curious as to what other candidates were solicited or interviewed.
DRK September 15, 2011 at 10:55 PM
This sounds like another case of blatant patronage. I would say this mayor is out of control and something should be done soon!!!!!!!
Mark September 16, 2011 at 10:45 AM
Time to Vote him Out!
Lisa September 20, 2011 at 03:47 PM
We live in the unincorporated part of New Lenox therefore had no say in the 'home rule' vote and let me tell you if New Lenox raises taxes and such we are seriously considering getting the He## out of town- we certainly would start shopping elsewhere!
Janks January 23, 2012 at 03:58 AM
New Mayor + New Board = Better Ideas with taxpayer money, like SIDEWALKS on BOTH sides of the street. Just a thought, but honestly, nothing will change without a complete clean up of the New Lenox Political Scene.
Michael Sewall (Editor) January 23, 2012 at 04:00 AM
@Janks Are you talking about specific streets in town that you think could use sidewalks? The village is looking to build sidewalks on the north side of Route 30 near the train station as well as south parts of Cedar Road.
Janks January 23, 2012 at 11:46 PM
In this day and age, there's no reason what-so-ever that there shouldn't be sidewalks on every single street, on both sides of the street, incorporated or unincorporated. It seems to me that the only parts of the village wants or cares about is the new growth areas or the commercial/industrial zones. We've asked before (on our street) about getting zoned into the village when the village wanted to rezone the end of our block, and they wanted no part of it. The Mayor and Board wanted to continue with the zoning change despite the fact it would directly effect the residents on the street. Luckily, the plan failed when the developer would have to do additional improvements in order to build there.
Ty Wagner August 29, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Crooks- everyone of them. Why wait for an election?- I say we get torches and pitchforks so we can tar & feather these jerks out of town on a rail- TONIGHT. They are destroying our town's future.


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