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posted: 8/22/2012 3:56 PM

Lake Zurich won't put Lake Michigan water referendum on November ballot

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Lake Zurich officials say they will wait until the spring to let voters decide whether the village should hook up to Lake Michigan water.

Mayor Suzanne Branding said she had hoped to take one of two referendum questions about the issue to the voters in November, but village board members tabled the idea and decided to hold the question off the ballot until next year.

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"The board felt there wasn't enough information out there to give accurate answers to voters that would decide the referendum," she said. "So, they elected to wait until spring before asking the important questions."

The board was considering two referendum options.

Trustee Rich Sustich said one would ask if the village should obtain $29 million in construction bonds to lay the pipe necessary to connect to Lake Michigan water. The board would be bound to the outcome.

The second would ask voters if the village should spend $350,000 for engineering studies for the same proposal. It would be nonbinding, providing the board direction on what voters want completed.

Sustich said he was against going to referendum now because the village faces more pressing matters such as inadequate sewer lines. Those problems should be worked out before worrying about Lake Michigan water, he said.

"Lake Michigan water is not the highest priority for the village right now," he said. "Managing our wastewater system is."

However, Branding said, in politics, sometimes it's important to focus on more than one major issue at a time.

"I felt it was important to put this on the November ballot because more voters tend to come out during a presidential election than other elections," she said. "By putting question on the November ballot, more voters will have their say."

After more information is released by the staff in September, the board will discuss it, then put one of the two referendum questions before voters in 2013, Branding said.

"The sewer issue is definitely something that will need to be dealt with, but I don't see this as an either/or situation," she said. "This is one of those times where both issues need to be dealt with at the same time."

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