Libertyville property owners to share $45.5 million cost for flood control

Determining how best to pay for $45.5 million in stormwater projects and ranking them by priority are the final steps in an intensive, ongoing effort to reduce flooding in Libertyville.

One certainty is that the costs will be shared by everyone, with monthly payments set aside in a special "enterprise" fund meant to be self-sustaining through fees.

The charges, however they are structured, will need to generate $4.3 million annually for 20 years.

How that burden will be shared among residents, renters, condo owners, businesses and others is to be determined, although everyone can expect to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars a year.

"There's an infinite number of ways you could do this," Public Works Director Paul Kendzior said. "The more simplistic we are, probably the better off we are."

The village board had just commissioned the creation of a villagewide stormwater master plan when storms in July 2017 flooded hundreds of homes, punctuating the urgency for systemwide upgrades.

Initial results focusing on potential projects and costs were presented in August. The list since has been honed to produce a total estimated cost. The tricky work of determining who should pay what is next.

During an update Tuesday, the village board was presented with four general options: a flat fee, a fee by zoning district, a fee by lot size, or a fee by water usage.

The flat fee could be based on residential and nonresidential uses, while the zoning district fee would be based on the amount of impervious surface at a given address, with the thought being that larger impervious areas mean more stormwater runoff.

Village leaders appear to favor a flat monthly fee. How much and how it will be imposed are questions they need to answer.

In the one scenario, homeowners would pay an average $47.76 per month and nonresidential property owners would pay $167.15 per month, according to a study.

Using the zoning district approach, an entity like the Libertyville Sports Complex would pay nearly $2,134 per month.

Trustees directed Kendzior to provide more detail on flat fees to be discussed at a future meeting. A public town hall information session is expected to be held in early 2019.

Village leaders emphasized the need to communicate their reasoning for the new fees and what the projects will mean in the big picture.

"It's not, 'We're helping out a neighborhood here or a neighborhood there and everybody is going to pay for it,' " said Trustee Rich Moras. "This really touches a majority of people across town."

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  Heavy flooding at the intersection of Crane Boulevard and Dawes Road in Libertyville forced several residents out of their homes in July 2017. Village officials are now considering the creation of a new fee to pay for $45.5 million in flood relief projects over the next 20 years. Mark Welsh/, 2017
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