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Flossmoor voters overwhelmingly pass bond referendum to fix flooding, repair streets

Flossmoor voters said they want to see the village’s downtown flooding issues and street repairs addressed, and they are willing to put forth the tax dollars necessary to see it done.

Residents cast 3,152 votes (or 80.33% of total ballots cast) in favor of a referendum that allows the Village to sell $10 million in general obligation bonds to address flooding near the Flossmoor Road viaduct and repair roads with whatever funds remain, according to unofficial results from the Cook County Clerk’s Office, with 8 of 9 precincts reporting. Only 772 voters (or 19.67% of the total ballots cast) voted against it.

Flossmoor resident Leonard Harris was part of a citizens committee to advocate for the referendum. The group put out posters, as well as a video on social media, to encourage people to vote in favor of the referendum. On election night, he said it was “fantastic news” to see the bond sale given the green light by residents.

“We’re happy to see it pass,” Harris said of the referendum. “I think the word got out.”


The bonds are to be repaid over a 20-year period through the property tax levy. It is expected to lead to a minimal increase to the Village’s tax levy, as the debt is to replace that of a $8 million bond issue for the Flossmoor Public Library set to be retired in 2021. The interest rate on the upcoming bond sales is not to exceed 9%, but officials have said they expect the percentage to be lower.

The work on the Flossmoor Road viaduct — and areas upstream in Heather Hill and the neighborhood north of downtown — is specifically designed to reduce flooding that has increased in severity and frequency in that area in recent years. The Flossmoor Road viaduct drainage improvement project is estimated to cost between $5.7 million and $6.5 million.

But the Village is also seeking grants for that work. The idea is that while that project is the top priority for the bond money, the more the village can fund in grants the more proceeds of the bond sale can be allocated to street resurfacing and sidewalk improvements.

As the results came in, Mayor Paul Braun said he thinks residents understood the measure and wanted to see the work done. In addition to advocacy from the citizens committee, he thinks the village did its job in informing voters.

“I think that speaks to the village’s efforts to educate,” Braun said of the results. “People got it.”

Officials said the bond issue is needed to complete the infrastructure projects because the Motor Fuel Tax funds typically dedicated to infrastructure improvement projects of this nature are not nearly enough to cover the scope of the work needed. Paying for the work out of the general fund was not seen as financially sustainable, officials said.

Street surfacing work is expected to begin as early as 2021. Maps of what work is to be done at $10 million, $5 million and $3 million funding levels — pending flooding infrastructure funding needed after grants — can be found on the village’s website.  

Streets are being addressed based on a pavement management report using the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating system. Flossmoor will work on the worst streets first. Depending on funding available, rehab work could cover from 4.1 to 20.1 miles of streets.

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