Wauconda drinking water votes delayed until September or later

Wauconda residents and business owners have to wait until at least September to learn if they'll get drinking water from Lake Michigan, newly released village documents show.

The village board and the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency board were expected to vote on an agreement this month. So were officials from Volo, who are part of the plan, too.

But those votes have been delayed until next month or even October, according to a memo from Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner to Mayor Frank Bart and the town's trustees.

The undated memo was released Friday as part of the packet of documents needed for Monday's village board meeting.

Work is continuing on the proposed deal, Maxeiner wrote, but officials aren't ready to sign on the dotted line just yet.

"Documents are at the 90-percent completion stage," Maxeiner wrote.

In a telephone interview Friday, Mayor Frank Bart called the remaining items that need to be settled "procedural stuff." He wasn't concerned about the fate of the project, which has been in the works for years.

Still, it's the latest delay for the long-awaited partnership between Wauconda and the water agency. The agency initially was expected to vote on Wauconda's application for membership in June, but that was postponed because of scheduling conflicts leading up to the big night.

According to Maxeiner's memo, Volo and Wauconda officials will independently review a draft agreement next week.

"We're happy that's moving forward," said Wauconda Trustee Linda Starkey, who's on the negotiating team.

Additionally, Lake County Board members will review the proposal later this month or in early September. That agency is involved because the water system would serve people who live in unincorporated areas, too.

Wauconda officials will publicly discuss the proposal Monday night. The village board usually meets Tuesdays, but the meeting was moved up a day because of a conflict with a community event.

The water agency board meets every two months. The panel's next meetings are set for Aug. 27 and Oct. 22.

The organization could hold a special meeting in September to offer Wauconda membership, Maxeiner wrote.

Wauconda voters in 2012 approved a $50 million plan to connect to a Lake Michigan water system, and the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency was the town's preferred provider from the start.

Homes and businesses now get water from local wells.

If the deal go through and the necessary system is built, Wauconda homes and businesses could switch to Lake Michigan water in 2018, officials have said.

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