Annexation talks between Glen Ellyn and Glen Oak Country Club, off and on for close to a decade, could be moving toward a resolution -- but one sticking point remains.
The snag is Glen Oak's request for a special water rate that is much lower than what is normally charged for property outside the village limits.
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Glen Ellyn officials say they're concerned such a concession could open up a Pandora's box for other entities to make similar requests.
"From a staff standpoint, we do have a few concerns about creating a special rate for a single entity," said Staci Hulseberg, director of planning and development. "Once we start considering individual rates for users, it really does open the door for others to request the rate."
The club, 21W431 Hill Ave., and village have discussed annexation since 2004. Club officials have been interested in connecting to the village's Lake Michigan water system to improve their water quality, fire sprinkler volume and water pressure on club property.
It's village policy that connections to village utilities only are permitted in conjunction with annexation or the execution of an acceptable annexation agreement.
Club officials have never been interested in annexing the entire property to the village, usually a requirement for the village to extend utility lines. Therefore, discussion began about the possibility of annexing a portion of the club property that would bring the village limits adjacent the industrial properties to the east of Hill Avenue.
Over the years the club's interest in obtaining village water fluctuated, and village staff and country club representatives met periodically to renew discussions and revise draft agreements.
The club has agreed to pay to extend the utility lines and annex part of its property. The cost of extending the lines likely would run close to $170,000, according to Randy Bus, a member of the Glen Oak planning committee.
Glen Oak officials are requesting that instead of being charged 150 percent of the resident water rate as required by village code for properties outside Glen Ellyn limits, the club be charged no more than 105 percent of the resident rate. If the village adopted the special rate, it would save the club close to $25,000 a year.
If Glen Oak pays the full nonresident rate, Glen Ellyn would collect about $173,600 in new tax and utility revenue from the club in 2015. Under a resident rate, that would drop to about $145,400.
Village staff is against crafting the special water rate.
"The reason most people annex, the incentives for annexation, is getting village utilities and getting in-village rates," Hulseberg said. "If we were to grant this, it really does eliminate all incentive for future annexation."
Glen Oak's rationale for the special rate is that the property lies partially within village boundaries, the points of service connection are within village boundaries, it will pay taxes as if the property were fully within the village boundaries, it will be bound by village fire codes and it will be served by and pay the annual contribution to the fire company.
Bus noted that the agreement would generate revenue for the village and also help get the water system closer to the Prairie Path and an industrial park, an advantage the village has targeted.
"Glen Oak believes that, because the village is realizing a lot of the improvements and benefits as if the entire club were annexed, that some consideration should be given closer to resident rates," Bus said.