Schaumburg rejects burying Plum Grove Road power lines
Schaumburg trustees voted 4-2 to reject a plan to pay for the burial of overhead utility lines along the northern stretch of Plum Grove Road that would have added $3 per month to residents' electricity bills for five years.
While only trustees Tom Dailly and George Dunham supported the plan, the others expressed interest in using funding from an existing tax increment financing district to bury lines near the intersection of Meacham and Algonquin roads in the more distant future.
Schaumburg officials have a history of having utility lines buried when possible. Because Plum Grove Road is about to be reconstructed between Higgins and Wiley roads, Dailly said the time to do so there is now.
But ComEd is legally required to deliver service by the most cost-effective means. That usually means using overhead lines. If municipalities want lines buried, they must find a way to finance it.
ComEd estimates it would cost an additional $6.4 million to bury lines along that stretch of Plum Grove Road.
Dailly believes residents could bear $36 per year. He said another opportunity to bury the lines would not come for another 20 to 30 years.
But while other trustees philosophically agree with burying lines, they disagreed that residents would easily bear the cost.
"I know it's an eyesore, but I think we have other priorities in the village," Trustee Frank Kozak said. "I think we need to look at our priorities, and I'm not in favor of this one."
Trustee Marge Connelly said residents often ask about when their roads are going to be fixed but not about when power lines are going to be buried. She said the village may need to keep its financial resources focused on the roads themselves.
But the trustees did put the staff on notice of their interest in one day using funding from the TIF district between Algonquin Road and the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway to bury utility lines on and near the former Motorola Solutions campus. A decade could pass before the TIF district has generated sufficient money for that, however.
In a TIF district, as redevelopment boosts property values, the extra tax revenue that otherwise would go to schools and others taxing bodies goes into a special fund that can be used to pay for improvements to the area for up to 23 years.
The plan would bury the lines on Algonquin Road between Quentin Road and Thoreau Drive, and on Meacham Road from the tollway to Algonquin Road.