The DuPage County Board voted last month to place on the November 1992 ballot an $85 million alternate-source general obligation bond issue to finance road improvements.

Under a state law that went into effect Oct. 1, the board and most other governmental bodies in five suburban Chicago counties are required to hold referendums on bond issues that are backed either directly or indirectly by property taxes.

William Maio, a member of the board, said he proposed that the $85 million issue for road improvements be put to the voters after a $65 million road bond issue in September failed to pass the county board by one vote.

The $65 million road bond issue was part of $182 million in alternate-source GO bonds that the board tentatively approved in August. But at a September meeting that was called to give final approval to issuing the bonds, a board member changed his previous favorable vote on the road bond portion, and it was defeated. The board did approve the issuance of $117 million of bonds to finance a new jail and storm water projects.

The $117 million of bonds issued in September represented less than a third of the $385 million of bonds board Chairman Aldo Botti previously had proposed issuing for a variety of projects before the new law mandating referendums went into effect Oct. 1.

Mr. Botti's plan to issue $385 million of bonds marked a dramatic departure from the county's pay-as-you-go philosophy on financing capital improvements and would have represented the largest issue in DuPage history.

If next year's referendum is successful, motor fuel taxes would be directly used to pay off the $85 million of road bonds, while the county's GO pledge would provide additional security, according to George Kouba, DuPage county finance director.

The county, which is rated triple-A by Fitch Investors Service Inc., Moody's Investors Service, and Standard & Poor's Corp., has approximately $174 million of outstanding GO debt.

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