DeKalb County Highway Committee discusses transportation infrastructure funding
DeKalb County Highway Committee met Jan. 5.
Here are the minutes as provided by DeKalb County:
Note: These minutes are not official until approved by the Highway Committee at a subsequent meeting. Please refer to the meeting minutes when these minutes are approved to obtain any changes to these minutes.
DeKalb County Government
Highway Committee Minutes
January 5, 2017
A meeting of the Highway Committee of the DeKalb County Board was held on Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 6:00pm in the Conference Room of the DeKalb County Highway Department, located at 1826 Barber Greene Road, DeKalb, Illinois 60115.
Chairman John Frieders called the meeting to order at 6:00pm. Committee members present were Vice Chair Willis, Mr. Bunge, Mr. Osland, Mr. Plote, Ms. Polanco and Mr. Stoddard. The County Engineer, Mr. Nathan Schwartz, Mr. Wayne Davey, Support Services Manager and Mr. Mark Pietrowski, County Board Chairman, were also present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Motion made by Chairman Frieders and seconded by Vice Chair Willis to approve the minutes of the regular November 3, 2016 meeting. The motion to approve the minutes passed unanimously.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Mr. Plote moved and Vice Chair Willis seconded a motion to approve the agenda as presented. Motion passed unanimously.
PUBLIC COMMENTS: There were no public comments. Chairman Frieders welcomed everyone and stated he looked forward to working with the Committee as the Committee continues to work on the County’s transportation needs.
RESOLUTION #2017-01: RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT TO BENEFIT THE ECONOMY AND THE CITIZENS OF ILLINOIS
Mr. Schwartz presented a resolution of support pertaining to transportation infrastructure funding. In the past, funding has been somewhat consistent with the percentage of traffic utilizing the highway system. The State roadways carry approximately 60% of the traffic and the local roadways carry approximately 40% of the traffic. Historically, highway user fees dedicated to the roadways matched the amount of traffic being carried. In other words, IDOT would receive approximately 60% of the dedicated funding and local agencies would receive approximately 40% of the dedicated funding. Over the years, this percentage of dedicated funding has shifted with IDOT remaining close to the 60% funding, but the local agencies funding has been reduced to approximately 21% of the dedicated funding. This result was partially due to “sweeps” of funds dedicated for our roadways and used for non-transportation funding. It is important that our State legislators know that we, as a County, are concerned with how the funding is being allocated down to the local agencies and this issue needs to be addressed. The DeKalb County Highway Commissioners’ Association has passed a similar resolution during their January monthly meeting. Mr. Schwartz indicated that all boats should rise equally when funding is allocated and recommended the support resolution be forwarded to the full County Board for consideration. All Counties and Townships in Illinois have been requested to pass similar resolutions by the Transportation For Illinois Coalition. A motion was made by Mr. Stoddard and seconded by Mr. Bunge to forward the resolution to the full County Board recommending approval. Motion passed unanimously.
CHAIR’S COMMENTS: Chairman Frieders stated he had no comments at this time.
COUNTY ENGINEER’S COMMENTS:
The transportation improvement progress report was reviewed with the Committee. There are currently 18 projects being tracked through this report having an estimated construction cost of $16 million dollars. Mr. Schwartz provided the Committee with the current status of all 18 projects and updates to four projects since his last report. During future meetings Mr. Schwartz will highlight only those projects that have updates to report. Projects scheduled for this coming 2017 year will be the replacement of the Somonauk Road Bridge just south of Chicago Road; the East County Line Road Bridge, which is being overseen by Kane County; the Somonauk Road culvert at the intersection with Gurler Road by the landfill; and the Waterman Road reconstruction. The Committee requested that funding be broken out on this report in the future so the County cost could be readily identified.
As a legislative update, the 99th General Assembly will continue to meet with current members until January 10th. The 100th General Assembly will be inaugurated January 11th. New bills are due for February 10th.
A legislative item for the County to consider during 2017 would be the authority for the County to charge up to a four cent Motor Fuel Tax on fuel purchased in DeKalb County. By having ILCS 5/5-1035.1 amended to include DeKalb County, the State would grant the County Board of DeKalb the authority to impose the tax. It would still be up to the County to assess the need for the tax and actually impose the tax. The agenda item is just to get the authority to impose this tax. An estimate provided by Mr. Schwartz was that for every one cent tax on the purchase of on-road use fuel the County would see an increase in revenue of approximately $450,000. With roadway upgrades estimated at $113 million in addition to proposed economic development and safety projects, an additional source of revenue will need to be found to allow the County to upgrade roads and bridges to the State mandate of an 80,000 pound weight limit. These funds would be used by the County solely for the purpose of operating, constructing and improving public highways and waterways, and acquiring real property and right-of-ways for public highways and waterways within DeKalb County. The Committee felt it necessary to have the option to impose the tax if the voters agreed. A motion was made by Mr. Osland and seconded by Vice Chair Willis to recommend this item be included in the County’s legislative agenda for 2017. Motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schwartz indicated the annual report is not yet finished and will not be presented at this time. It will be rescheduled for February.
OTHER BUSINESS: Mr. Schwartz informed the Committee that he was preparing to assess a fee for bridge inspections conducted by the County on Township and Municipal bridges. This would require a change to the Department’s fee schedule and would need to be approved by the County Board. The Committee was informed that the Department’s Bridge Technician currently conducts these inspections on all County and Township bridges on a bi-annual schedule. The normal schedule is the northern half of the County would be handled one year, with the southern half of the County the following year. This equates to approximately 100 bridges being inspected annually and records updated and submitted to Springfield. Discussion followed with the Committee split on allowing this fee. Some Townships would find this additional charge a hardship while some Townships have very few bridges located within their Townships. Mr. Schwartz indicated that with the Department levy’s being reduced and costs continuing to rise, new revenue sources needed to be explored. Chairman Frieders directed this item be placed on future agendas allowing additional discussion. No action was taken on this recommendation at this time.
Mr. Schwartz informed the Committee of additional funding he had secured for projects along Peace, Plank and Barber Greene Roads. Shoulder widening, with paved shoulders/turn lanes will be placed on Peace Road at Brickville and Freed Roads. The intersection of Peace Road and Illinois Route 64 will be realigned to help ease the five lanes of traffic converging down to two lanes for north bound traffic. The final projects will be the resurfacing of Barber Greene Road from Route 23 to Peace Road, with the east end of that project being widened to three lanes to match the rest of the road. East of Peace Road, Barber Greene Road will receive paved safety shoulders. This funding will come from the DeKalb Sycamore Area Transportation Study (DSATS) which is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the DeKalb area.
Mr. Schwartz invited any member who was interested in the County’s snow removal equipment to join him in the garage after the meeting for an overview of recently acquired equipment.
ADJOURNMENT: Chairman Frieders asked if there was any additional items that needed to be presented tonight and hearing none asked for a motion to adjourn. A motion was made by Vice Chair Willis and seconded by Mr. Stoddard and the motion passed unanimously. The January 5, 2017 meeting was adjourned at 7:50pm.
Respectfully Submitted, John Frieders, Chairman