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updated: 1/8/2013 11:39 PM

Elk Grove Village authorizes $38 million project

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The Elk Grove Village board Tuesday night authorized the issuance of $38 million in general obligation bonds to fund infrastructure improvements throughout the village's residential areas and business park.

The money will fund repairs and upgrades of the stormwater drainage system, including improving drainage ditches and culverts at an estimated cost of $27 million, and improvements to the lining of sanitary sewers to extend their useful life at an estimated cost of $11 million.

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"It will be the largest public works project that we've ever done in the village," Mayor Craig Johnson said.

Funding for the improvements already has been built into the village's existing combined water and sewer rate. Residents won't see an increase in taxes, rates or fees other than the rate increases approved by the village last May to pass along Chicago's water rate increase over four years, Johnson said.

"We planned, we prepared and we are ready to move forward," he added. "About three years we have been saving up for this."

The village's stormwater and sanitary sewer systems are in serious need of repair to alleviate flooding. Root infiltration and groundwater seepage causing leaks is of major concern, Johnson said.

"If we don't take care of these problems now, it's really going to have a huge detrimental effect on the community," Johnson said. "We're going to take a very aggressive approach to make sure these lines are working well."

The village engaged business community leaders in focus groups over the last year and a half to discuss the infrastructure needs and identify problem areas.

Flooding from stormwater has "really become a major source of problem for our business community," Johnson said.

The village has been addressing leaks in existing sewer pipelines by putting liners inside that would expand and create a pipe within a pipe. The pipelines were built roughly 60 years ago, and the village has been relining them over the last three years.

"It gives us a 50-year life expectancy on those sewer lines," Johnson said.

The $38 million will ensure that 16.5 miles of pipeline running through residential areas and 30.6 miles of pipeline within the village's business park will be completely relined over the next four years. The project should address 78 percent of the water issues in the village, Johnson said.

The work also involves clearing drainage ditches that have become bogged down with silt, plants and rocks, and reconstructing culverts to ensure water flows through unimpeded. There should be money left over to fix other sewer-related problems beyond the scope of what already has been identified, Johnson said.

"It's the most cost-effective, long-term solution to the problems that we have," Johnson said. "It's something that's going to make this town strong and viable for many years to come. We're going to make sure our foundation is strong."

The bonds will be issued in February. Officials plan to issue bonds for the entire $38 million sum to capitalize on low interest rates, which were at about 2.2 percent in December when the village refinanced some earlier debt.

"That's why we jumped at this golden opportunity," Johnson said.

Crews have already begun clearing culverts. The major work is expected to begin as soon as the weather warms up.

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