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Financing infrastructure: A look at the Mt. Sterling ballot

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A Tri-State city wants to improve its infrastructure and the project sits in the hands of voters.

Mt. Sterling, Illinois is long overdue for an infrastructure upgrade.

That's why residents will be asked if they think the city should finance the development project with up to $800,000 in bonds.

The bond would match an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, or ITEP, grant the city received last May.

The grant covers 62 percent of the more than $2-million project.

The project would replace storm sewers, sidewalks, and lighting, along with making businesses ADA accessible.

There will also be improvements made to streetscape.

"The city is going to pay these bonds back. These bond payments, yearly bond payments, will be paid back with TIF funding, Tax Increment Financing funds, that are already there in an account that we receive every year. They are from real estate taxes, property taxes, after they are paid. A certain portion of those goes into the TIF district's funds for projects just like this," said Vada Yingling, Mt. Sterling City Administrator.

Yingling says there's some apprehension surrounding the bond vote.

"I know a lot of people are scared about bonds because if the city by chance couldn't pay for the bonds, they'd have to raise taxes to pay for the bonds. But we're going to have twice as much TIF funding available to pay those bonds off, so it's an infinitely small chance that that would ever happen," Yingling said.

If the bond is approved, Yingling says the total could be less than $800,000.

Yingling says there's also concern about narrowing Main Street.

She says lanes and parking spot widths will stay the same.

The 8-foot buffer between parking spots and cars on the road would be cut in half.

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