Local towns clamoring for federal stimulus loans to ease flooding
Wet basements that had no chance of drying before because of the high cost of local flood reduction projects may soon see days without mold. Communities, small units of government and even homeowners' associations are clamoring for a piece of nearly $17 million in federal stimulus loans pegged for water infrastructure improvements.
Kane County will oversee the funds and the projects, but must first decide which projects it will choose for the funding. Interest in the loans generated a list of 48 projects from 33 different entities. Not all of them will make the cut. The 48 projects have a combined price tag of $25 million. The projects involve everything from water main replacements to storm sewer repairs and are all relatively small in scale. In fact, the costs of the projects are in a limbo range that makes funding hard to come by, yet too great for smaller communities or homeowners' associations to fund on their own. They are also the type of projects large communities forego during tight budget times.
"A lot of these projects involve old neighborhoods that were developed before we had zoning standards to make sure they were resistant against storm events and flooding," County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay said. "It's never been the county's obligation to fund those projects (with property tax dollars), however, we have typically used riverboat funds for them. We do a couple of them a year."
The federal stimulus loan program will allow the county to knock out dozens of the projects in one swoop for the first time. The trick is that the money must be paid back. That means any group applying for the money must show an ability to pay it back over time, usually a period of 10 years. County water experts said the typical way of doing that is to set up a special service area that automatically charges a tax only on the residents benefiting directly from the project, such as the homeowners' association members. The tax expires once the money is paid back.
"It is not free money," McConnaughay emphasized.
Whittling the list will involve ranking the projects based on the greatest benefit for the largest number of people and job creation. County board member Drew Frasz said he's looking forward to the loans erasing a lot of stress for local homeowners in flood-prone areas that had no help in sight until now.
"There are residents who cannot leave town, can't go on vacation, because if they hear thunder they are down looking in their basements, putting their furniture on blocks," Frasz said. "It's going to very positively impact many people's lives when we pull this off."
Water projects seeking stimulus funding
The Kane County Board must choose $16.8 million of water infrastructure projects from this list of 48 pleas seeking relief from flooding and water flow problems. The requests total $25 million (though individual costs for each project were not provided).
• Campton Township - Poyner Park drainage improvements
• Campton Township - Gray Willows Park drainage
• Campton Road District - Fox Mill storm sewer work
• Dundee Road District - Skyline Culvert Replacement
• Plato Road District - Plank Road Estates storm sewer
• Burlington - Water main replacement
• Batavia - Braeburn drainage
• Batavia - Carriage Crest lift station
• Batavia - McKee storm separation
• Batavia - Rec. Center water main
• Big Rock - Tenerelli drainage improvements
• Big Rock - Wastewater treatment plant
• Campton Hills - Wideview drainage improvements
• Carpentersville - Water supply interconnect
• Carpentersville - Kele Farms drainage improvements
• Carpentersville - Lake Marian river watershed stabilization
• Elburn - Wastewater treatment plant generator
• Gilberts - Stormwater improvements
• Hampshire - Water main and Well 7, water treatment plant abandonment
• Huntley - Interstate 90 deep well
• Maple Park - Water main replacement
• Montgomery - Montgomery overflow
• Montgomery - Well 15
• Montgomery - Well 15 raw water
• Montgomery - Well 14 and 15 water treatment plant improvements
• Montgomery - Lime softening rehabilitation
• North Aurora - Water main replacement
• St. Charles - Route 64 water main replacement
• St. Charles - Tyler Road culvert replacement
• St. Charles - Route 64 water main at Dunham
• Wayne - Culvert replacement
• Three Lakes Homeowners' Association - Storm sewer replacement
• Savanna Lakes Homeowners' Association - Tile replacement
• Exposition View Homeowners' Association - Storm sewer project
• Chevel De Selle Homeowners' Association - Storm sewer project
• Pasadena Drive Homeowners' Association - Flood route project
• West Highland Acres Homeowners' Association - Storm sewer project
• Tanner Estates Homeowners' Association - Pond outfall
• Kaneland/Pinetree Homeowners' Association - Regional detention/storm sewer
• Countyline Subdivision Homeowners' Association - Storm sewer replacement
• Gerten Avenue Homeowners' Association - Storm sewer project
• 5-year stream maintenance - stream program
• Wasco Sanitary District - Sand filters
• Wasco Sanitary District - Backup generator
• Virgil Drainage District - Renovation of ditch
• Rob Roy Drainage District - Phases 1 and 2 drainage project at Mallard Point
• Ogden Gardens Water Trust - Water system replacement
• Lake Marian Water Trust - Water main replacement
SOURCE: Kane County