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updated: 9/30/2013 2:00 PM

Wauconda village board meeting could move to high school

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  • Frank Bart

      Frank Bart

  • Maria Weisbruch

      Maria Weisbruch

  • Wauconda officials could move Tuesday's meeting if the crowd is too big for village hall.

       Wauconda officials could move Tuesday's meeting if the crowd is too big for village hall.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 

Anticipating a larger-than-usual audience, Wauconda officials may move Tuesday's village board meeting to the local high school.

The preparations, Mayor Frank Bart said, are a response to a local activist who has used Facebook and other means to try to attract a crowd to the meeting.

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"We reserved the school just in case," Bart told the Daily Herald in an email.

The meeting will be the first since the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency's decision last week to break off talks with Wauconda officials over whether to supply Lake Michigan drinking water to the suburb.

Wauconda's trustees -- and many residents -- were shocked when the agency's board of directors voted 8-1 to end discussions with the village after two years of negotiations.

The activist prompting the possible venue change, local business owner Maria Weisbruch, said she believes the public has been misled about the issue.

People should attend the meeting "to clarify why we were denied (membership)," Weisbruch said.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at village hall, 101 N. Main St.

If the audience is too big for the boardroom, the board will stop the meeting and reconvene at Wauconda High School, 555 N. Main St.

The village board last held a meeting at the high school in early June, also because a large crowd was expected.

That time, more than 200 people filled the school cafeteria to protest Bart's ouster of Police Chief Douglas Larsson.

Larsson eventually was replaced as chief by Patrick Yost. Technically, Yost is the department's interim chief, because Bart never asked the village board to vote on the assignment.

As for Wauconda's quest for Lake Michigan water, village officials have insisted the CLCJAWA board's rejection hasn't doomed the $50 million plan, which was approved by voters in 2012.

Last week, Wauconda officials said the Des Plaines-based Northwest Water Commission is their best option, and negotiations with that group are moving ahead.

The CLCJAWA decision isn't on Tuesday's agenda, but Bart said officials will discuss it publicly.

Trustee Linda Starkey expects community members and her fellow trustees "will absolutely be demanding answers" about how the CLCJAWA plan fell apart and the status of the village's work toward getting Lake Michigan water.

"I also expect that the trustees will step up and be more vocal than we have been at past meetings," Starkey said in an email.

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