Lindenhurst, Lake Villa move forward on lake water plan
By Diana Kuyper For Sun-Times Media October 30, 2013 11:52AM
Waves in Lake Michigan at the Waukegan Municipal Beach. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 1, 2013 8:26AM
Lindenhurst, Lake Villa and county officials are moving ahead with plans to create a special service area (SSA) to fund a $46 million effort to bring Lake Michigan water to their municipalities.
“The 60-day comment period on the proposed SSA #16 closed two weeks ago, and we did not receive any petitions objecting to it,” said Peter Kolb, Lake County Public Works director.
Lindenhurst and Lake Villa officials have approved the ordinance creating the SSA that also includes unincorporated Fox Lake Hills and Grandwood Park. The County Board represents the unincorporated areas and will act on the ordinance Nov. 12.
Following approval of the SSA ordinance in November, all of the members of Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (CLCJAWA) will be asked to adopt an admissions agreement to expand membership to the county, Lake Villa and Lindenhurst.
CLCJAWA, which also serves Grayslake, Gurnee, Libertyville, Lake Bluff, Mundelein, Round Lake and Round Lake Beach, will provide Lake Michigan water to SSA #16 from its Lake Bluff facility.
The admissions agreement goes back to the County Board for adoption on Dec. 10.
“The County Board’s action on the agreement will officially start the project,” said Kolb, explaining the next step would be to issue $7 million in bonds that would pay for the first phase of engineering and land acquisition.
The taxes to pay for the first bond issuance, approximately $30 per year for a $200,000 property, would appear on property tax bills in Spring 2014. That rate will increase when construction begins in 2016, when the average homeowner will pay approximately $250 annually.
Although the SSA is estimated to last for 30 years, Kolb is confident that a pending IEPA low interest loan could lower that time frame to 20 years. “Our chances look good. The interest is two percent, which could shorten the length of time residents pay on the SSA by 10 years. We should have a decision on the loan request by mid-2014.”
Internal improvements to bring lake water to the areas by early 2017 will be funded locally by each community separately from the SSA.
Village and county officials say that an increase in monthly water rates of $2.76 per thousand gallons will cover operations and maintenance of the new system and should cover any internal improvements needed by each municipality to convert to the new water system.