Mount Prospect considers smaller flood-reduction plan

Mount Prospect trustees are recommending a $2.5 million package of public improvements designed to deal with flooding in targeted areas of the village, a far cry from the nearly $24 million program officials discussed earlier this year.

The recommendations came after extensive talks, surveys, studies and reports in the wake of heavy flooding after last year’s record rainstorms. The projects included in the package are nearly shovel-ready and could begin at the start of 2013, Village Manager Michael Janonis said.

The work includes:

Ÿ Hatlen Heights storm sewer ($1.5 million).

Ÿ Hatlen Heights sanitary sewer ($105,000).

Ÿ Lonnquist combined storm and sanitary sewers ($200,000).

Ÿ Lonnquist storm sewer ($135,000).

Ÿ Blackhawk storm sewer ($400,000).

Ÿ Lawrence Lane storm sewer ($50,000).

Funding would be provided by a short-term debt. Village officials say the funds are there to pay for a 7-year loan, which has an interest rate of 1.73 percent. They said sales tax funds will become available as IEPA loans from the 1990s are retired.

The board passed on committing to improvements within the Isabella basin for the time being. However, Janonis urged the board to continue discussions on funding for improvements to the basin and move ahead on preliminary design if it has support from the board.

“That sounds like a good start to me, to go ahead and get something going,” Trustee A. John Korn said of the shovel-ready projects. “We’re not going to go ahead and make everybody happy within in the next 12 months. I think that’s an excellent start, and we’re not talking about coming up with additional money. We’re just moving money from one designated expense to another designated expense.”

The recommendation shifts the village, for now, away from a $23.9 million plan discussed earlier this year that would include major sewer improvements in neighborhoods hit hardest by last year’s storms.

Board members also took no action on a recommendation that would raise the sewer construction fee by $2 to generate $300,000 annually for low-interest loans to residents for private improvements.

Trustee Steven Polit said that the loan program could result in money going down the drain.

Trustee Michael Zadel said he would be hesitant to go to a bond issue to fund more extensive improvements.

“We have maxed ourselves out as far as financing goes,” he said.

A number of residents who experienced flooding attended the meeting. Among them were Phil and Debbie Caccamo, who live on North Elmhurst Avenue and asked whether residents would receive village assistance for improvements they make to their property, such as adding overhead sewers.

“If we’re paying for this privately, and not even getting a grant or getting a loan and we’re helping community wide to make things better, why is it not considered a public improvement?” Debbie Caccamo asked.

Mayor Irvana Wilks said she understands their frustration, but said there are limits on what the village can do.

“I know people have asked me over and over again, ‘Will you solve our problems?’ There is always going to be another storm,” she said. “We live in an area that has a certain topography, and there will always be another storm.”

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