Wauconda adopts first long-term capital improvement plan

For the first time, Wauconda trustees have adopted a five-year capital plan that maps out infrastructure and facility projects and allocates money for them.

Until now, such projects were planned annually.

The five-year plan, approved Tuesday, includes 25 projects and predicts they'll cost about $12.4 million.

Most of that cash, an estimated $8.8 million, is earmarked for the village's ongoing effort to bring Lake Michigan drinking water to town.

Public Works Director Brad Fink said a long-term capital plan "is essential to the future financial health of Wauconda."

"Villages are continually faced with widespread capital needs and limited financial resources," Fink said. "A properly prepared capital improvement plan allows the village to address the current and long-term needs of our constituents by clearly identifying capital and major equipment needs, maintenance requirements, funding options, and operating budget impacts."

The five-year plan is split into three categories: water and sewer utilities; roadways; and facilities.

The water and sewer section is the costliest part of the plan. It includes 20 projects at a total estimated cost of $11.4 million.

The biggest project is the conversion of the village's water supply from wells to the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency's Lake Michigan system.

Wauconda voters approved a $50 million plan to switch to lake water in 2012. The project was delayed after Mayor Frank Bart took office in 2013, but eventually the village joined the water agency and work began on both engineering and construction.

The new water system should be operational in late 2018.

Hooking up to the Lake Michigan water system is "critical" to maintaining the quality of drinking water in town, Fink said.

The roadwork section of the capital plan includes basic maintenance and crack filling, at an estimated cost of $950,000 over five years.

The plan also sets aside $50,000 for the replacement of the village's streetlights with LED fixtures that are more energy efficient and last longer.

The village could save nearly $20,000 annually on electricity, Fink said. That could cover the project's cost within three years.

The facilities plan comprises two projects: the installation of an electronic message sign and a space study of the police station. The estimated cost for those projects is $75,000.

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