Libertyville considering options to pay for stormwater projects

  • A supplemental storm sewer is installed in Nicholas-Dowden Park in Libertyville in August. The village is considering how to pay for $45.5 million in stormwater management projects.

    A supplemental storm sewer is installed in Nicholas-Dowden Park in Libertyville in August. The village is considering how to pay for $45.5 million in stormwater management projects. Courtesy village of Libertyville

  • Heavy flooding at the intersection of Crane Boulevard and Dawes Road in Libertyville forced several residents out of their homes and highlighted the need for solutions to stormwater issues.

      Heavy flooding at the intersection of Crane Boulevard and Dawes Road in Libertyville forced several residents out of their homes and highlighted the need for solutions to stormwater issues. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2017

 
 
Updated 3/29/2019 6:49 PM

Work is set to begin in Libertyville to provide a basis for village officials to determine how much property owners potentially could be charged for projects to reduce flooding.

This week, village officials approved a contract for $82,900 with Ayres Associates of Madison, Wisconsin, to calculate the amount of impervious surfaces for every property in Libertyville.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The village is considering implementing a stormwater utility fee to pay for $45.5 million in flood control projects. Determining the impervious surface area is regarded as the best way to assess the impact a given property would have on the stormwater system, village officials say.

The village board agreed to waive competitive bidding for the service known as planimetric mapping to save time and money. That's because Ayres was hired by Lake County in spring 2018 to obtain aerial photography data and has the information available to analyze.

By proceeding with Ayres, Libertyville would save $11,000 and work would be able to proceed sooner.

Not going with Ayres "would probably set us back at least a year," according to Ashley Engelmann, deputy village administrator.

The urgency for upgrades to the stormwater system was highlighted in July 2017 when storms flooded hundreds of houses. Village officials are now trying to determine the fairest way to pay for work to improve how stormwater is managed and to reduce flooding.

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The final master stormwater management plan is scheduled for review by the village board during its regular meeting at 8 p.m. April 9 at village hall, 118 W. Cook Ave. It is anticipated to be officially adopted at the next meeting April 23.

In correspondence with the village, Ayres said it would use the high-resolution aerial imagery captured in 2018 to map 9.2 square miles in the village. Planimetric mapping creates a two-dimensional representation of man-made and natural features and can be used for various applications, including impervious surfaces, according to Ayres.

As a separate benefit, the data also would be used to update and expand the village's geographic information system, she added. GIS links databases to digital maps to make information used by all departments more accessible.

With flood control projects ranked by priority and costs estimated, the next step is to determine the best and fairest way to fund them. At some point, the village will hold a public town hall meeting to explain the situation and present options.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Think of how valuable this information will be when we go to the public forum," Trustee Scott Adams said during a recent discussion of the stormwater plan.

At the time, Trustee Pat Carey said a referendum "might be as appropriate for this as it was for the road program," because of the high cost involved.

Mayor Terry Weppler said the village has an obligation to prevent flooding in the community, but residents who don't flood may not see the big picture and vote against that.

"Then what do we do?" Weppler responded. "How do we address it?"

Trustee Pete Garrity said having data was a key.

"We've got to figure out what we can do and when we can do it," he said. "Time is of the essence but you've got to take the appropriate steps. You need community involvement."

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