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updated: 4/25/2014 10:29 AM

How to pay for drainage upgrades in flood-prone areas an issue in Lake Zurich

Lake Zurich board may charge new utility fee

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  • Several areas of the Cedar Creek subdivision on Lake Zurich's west side flooded after a quick, torrential rain in June 2013.

      Several areas of the Cedar Creek subdivision on Lake Zurich's west side flooded after a quick, torrential rain in June 2013.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer 2013


While ideas have been floated on how to improve stormwater drainage in a flood-prone area on Lake Zurich's east side, questions remain on how to pay for what tentatively would be a nearly $3 million project.

Hired by the village board last year to produce a recently released study, Manhard Consulting Inc.'s flood-control recommendations include increasing storage capacity of two detention ponds that collect stormwater. Residents in the Cedar Creek and Bristol Trails subdivisions would benefit from the work.

To pay for the $2.95 million project suggested by Vernon Hills-based Manhard, Lake Zurich village board members this week addressed potential options, such as a monthly stormwater utility fee billed to all residents and businesses.

But some trustees voiced concern about seeking more money through local taxes or fees.

Trustee Jim Beaudoin said more frequent inspections to make sure stormwater drains on streets are clear and other low-cost alternatives could provide faster relief and should be pursued.

"I am adamantly opposed to putting another taxation on residents to fund this," said Beaudoin, who noted he was speaking on an evening when the Lake Zurich village board approved reinstating a local tax on natural gas and electricity bills.

Flooding at Cedar Creek and Bristol Trails became an issue on June 26, 2013, when 6.63 inches of rain quickly fell on Lake Zurich. That rain total, as reported by the National Weather Service, made Lake Zurich one of the hardest-hit communities in the Northwest suburbs.

Much of the severe flooding was in a 2-square-mile area near Stone Avenue and Thistle Lane in Cedar Creek, just north of Bristol Trail Road and west of Quentin Road. The Braemar subdivision north of Cuba Road and west of Ela Road also saw flooding.

The $37,900 drainage study performed by Manhard Consulting recommends the bottom of Cedar Creek's detention basin be deepened by more than 5 feet to protect against a theoretical 100-year, 24-hour rainfall.

To the north, capacity in the Old Mill Grove detention area would be expanded. As part of that work, stormwater flow would be completely restricted from heading into the downstream tributaries of Cedar Creek.

Village Manager Jason Slowinski said a stormwater management fee on all Lake Zurich homes and businesses would be a dependable revenue source specifically earmarked to address flooding. Preliminary projections show the village would get more than $324,300 annually from a $4 monthly charge.

Another potential funding source for the $2.95 million project is a special service area created only for 800 parcels served by the Cedar Creek stormwater facility. The village calculated a $3,687-per-parcel cost would cover the tab.

Lake Zurich could raise an extra $4 million annually to help fund infrastructure upgrades if a current half-percent, non-home-rule sales tax was boosted to 1 percent, according to a village report.

Trustee Mark Loewes said he understands the needs of the homeowners affected by last June's flooding, but money will be an issue in trying to improve the east side area's drainage.

"Everything that I see in here, there's a cost to the ... residents of the village to one extent or another," he said.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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