New taxes to fund a $10 million flood-control project in Mundelein

  • Jorge Morales and his son, Ariel, try to clear drains at their house in Mundelein during a July 2017 flood. Village officials are implementing a $10 million flood-control project to prevent future disasters.

      Jorge Morales and his son, Ariel, try to clear drains at their house in Mundelein during a July 2017 flood. Village officials are implementing a $10 million flood-control project to prevent future disasters. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/15/2018 2:21 PM

After months of discussions, Mundelein trustees will create two taxes to fund a $10 million flood-control project.

The village board this week approved a stormwater utility fee that will be added to water bills and a 3 percent tax on packaged liquor sales.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The liquor tax is effective Oct. 1. It will bring the total sales tax on packaged alcohol to 11 percent and could raise $700,000 annually, according to documents.

The stormwater fee first will appear on January's water bills. It's expected to generate $450,000 annually.

The fee will be tiered, with owners of larger properties paying more. It will be $3 per month for all homeowners, regardless of property size.

Officials settled on the tax package after deciding they didn't want to raise local property taxes to pay for sewer improvements.

"A stormwater sewer fee makes sense because it's directly related to the issue," Mayor Steve Lentz said Wednesday. "The packaged liquor tax complements this by acquiring revenue from a source other than a direct tax on residents."

The board's action was prompted by a July 2017 rainstorm that backed up stormwater sewers and caused a catastrophic flood in town, particularly in the Western Slope neighborhood near Route 45 and Division Street. Many houses were damaged.

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Consultants subsequently discovered the village's stormwater system is not big enough to handle heavy storms like the one that hit last summer.

They also found rainwater is entering sanitary sewers through cracks in pipes and improper customer hookups, which resulted in some sewage backups in houses.

The project primarily will focus on the Western Slope neighborhood.

Crews will install larger pipes along segments west of Route 45, then create a detention pond east of Route 45 to handle the water. Work will begin in 2019 and be completed in 2020, officials have said.

Officials plan to borrow money to pay for the effort. Money from the liquor tax and stormwater fee will be used to pay back the loan over 15 years.

Both taxes will expire when the loans are paid off in 2033.

Possible improvements to the village's sanitary sewer system are being considered separately. Officials have identified areas of the sanitary sewer system that need to be examined for problems, but no recommendations have been made.

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