Warrenton on track to pay off new I-70 exit 10 years early

By Jason Koch, Editor
Posted 12/28/23

Warrenton will make a $2 million payment that will help the city pay off its loan for the new Interstate 70 interchange in 2027, 10 years sooner than originally expected.

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Warrenton on track to pay off new I-70 exit 10 years early


Warrenton is now expected to pay off the $15.4 million loan it received for a new interchange and bridge over Interstate 70 ten years earlier than expected, it was announced during the Dec. 19 board of aldermen meeting.

“We are anticipating an additional debt payment in the interchange fund to the tune of $2 million,” Finance Officer Megan Waelder said during the meeting.

That payment now means the loan will be paid off in October 2027, as opposed to the original payoff date of March 2037.

“I like those numbers,” Mayor Eric Schlueter said. “We shaved 10 years off. We stuck to what we said we would at the very beginning. We haven’t veered from it.”

The announcement came as part of the discussion about Warrenton's new 2024 budget presented during the meeting. The new budget was needed as the city is changing the beginning of its fiscal year from July 1 to January 1.

The change was made because the city wanted any new officials elected in the April municipal elections to have time to get adjusted to the position before having to approve a budget.

“It is very hard to catch somebody up within one month of everything that’s needed in the budget and going over the budget,” Mayor Eric Schlueter said during the meeting. “This kind of give us a lot more time to get somebody comfortable with understanding the budget and how it works, gives us several months to be able to work with somebody and if they have questions then it gives them that amount of time to formulate any questions they may have for the department heads and for the city administrator for anything we may have. So we felt like this was something that was essential for us to change.”

The budget opens with more than $19 million and contains revenues of more than $16 million. More than $5.1 million of that will come from projected water and sewer revenues. 

The new budget does not contain an increase to either sewer or water rates.

The most recent rate increase to both services came in August.

“That was sufficient enough to get us through December of next year,” Waelder said.

The city is also expecting a 1 percent increase in projected sales tax, which will bring in almost $6.5 million.

The city expects to spend $17.3 million in the next year, which includes more than $6.7 million. Some of that is for projects previously approved but were not completed by the end of this year.

With the projected revenue and expenditures, Warrenton should have a little more than $1.2 million remaining in its budget at the end of 2024.

Aldermen approved the budget by a vote of 5-0. Board of Alderman President Jack Crump was absent.

As part of the budget discussion, aldermen approved the following contracts:

  • An agreement with the Warren County R-III School District for crossing guards, security services and school resource officers. Earlier this year, the city approved hiring two additional SROs to serve at Daniel Boone and Warrior Ridge Elementary Schools, in addition to the officers at Black Hawk Middle School and Warrenton High School. The city will pay one-third of the cost of each officer with the school district paying the remaining two-thirds.
  • An agreement with the Warren County Council On Aging to provide $1.50 per meal delivered by the agency up to a total of $11,000 for the year.
  • An agreement to pay Agape Community Outreach a total of $25,000 for services to indigent individuals and their families residing within the city.
  • A continuation of the agreement with Grace Hauling for trash services through Dec. 31, 2025.
  • An agreement with Tournament Sports Management to manage the operations of recreational sports leagues in the city.

Aldermen approved each agreement by a 5-0 vote.

About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at jason@warrencountyrecord.com

warrenton, interstate, exit, loan, budget