Proposed $26.1M Wauconda budget includes $7.5M for Lake Michigan water

Wauconda officials are considering a $26.1 million spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year - and more than a quarter of that sum will be set aside for the Lake Michigan drinking water project.

About $7.5 million is budgeted for the water effort, which will link the village to a Lake Michigan water supply for the first time. The work began in 2014 and is scheduled to be completed in December 2018, a few months later than originally planned.

"We're within the window for the target completion," Trustee Linda Starkey said. "A safe and sustainable water supply is important for Wauconda residents and businesses, and I am very excited that the project is in the home stretch."

Project elements planned for the 2018 fiscal year include the construction of a 1 million-gallon ground storage reservoir and booster pumping station on Gilmer Road near Liberty Lakes Boulevard, which will cost about $3 million. An elevated 500,000-gallon water storage tank will be built on Bonner Road east of Main Street, for about $1.6 million.

The budget was introduced during Tuesday's village board meeting. A vote is expected April 4.

Projected expenses are about 20 percent greater than the $21.7 million spending plan for the current fiscal year, which ends April 30. Spending is increasing because of the water system work and a planned $550,000 street resurfacing program, Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner said.

Officials predict they'll collect about $24.3 million in property taxes, fees and other revenue in the next fiscal year. That's greater than the current fiscal year's $23.6 million estimate.

Projected expenses for the 2018 fiscal year are expected to be nearly $1.8 million greater than revenue. The Lake Michigan water project is responsible for much of that overage, finance director Ed McKee said.

Savings will be used to close the gap, as the village already has borrowed money for the $50 million project, McKee said.

Aside from the water system work, the proposed budget includes money for projects such as:

• Repairs to the wastewater treatment plant and related facilities, totaling $366,000.

• The purchase of a new dump truck and plow, which could cost $150,000.

• The replacement of a storm sewer that's too small, which could cost $100,000.

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