Bringing Lake Michigan water to just 400 homes in Prospect Heights would cost an average $24,400 to $36,100 per home, or about $15.4 million in all, City Engineer Steven D. Berecz told the city council this month.
That represents just a fraction of the houses in Prospect Heights, where most single-family houses are served by private wells, and does not include the cost of building at least one water tower, estimated $2.3 million.
But it does provide city leaders with an idea of just how costly it would be to bring Lake Michigan water to the thousands of residents who today don't receive Lake Michigan water.
Berecz's estimate stems from two recent studies that examined the costs of building infrastructure for an area from Wheeling Road to about 10 blocks west of Route 83 and from Hintz Road to Camp McDonald Road.
City officials have said one way of funding those costs is through the creation of a special service area that would impose an additional tax on residents of those neighborhoods. If bonds were sold to cover Berecz's estimates, each homeowner in the special service area would pay an average of $2,500 annually, said Stephanie Hannon, city finance director.
Other city officials believe Berecz's figures might be too high, noting that the city's Lake Claire area paid much less when its created an special service area to deliver water to about 160 homes in 2009.