Plan to replace Boulder Hill mains supported : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Plan to replace Boulder Hill mains supported|
|Project would add $15 per month to water bills, Montgomery Village Board told|
|by John Etheredge|
Montgomery Village Board members voiced support Monday evening to a plan to replace more than three miles of break-prone water mains in the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision just south of village limits.
If completed as proposed, the $8 million project would add about $15 per month onto the water bills that subdivision residents receive from the village every two months.
The extra charge would not be added onto the water bills of customers living within municipal limits.
Peter Wallers, president of Engineering Enterprises, Inc. (EEI), the village's engineering firm, told board members the project is needed due to the frequent water mains breaks in the subdivision and to resolve continuing water quality issues.
Village President Marilyn Michelini said she supports replacing the defective mains.
"My feeling is we need to move forward with this. The problem is not going to go away and we need to start the process (here)," Michelini said.
Board member Matt Brolley acknowledged "$8 million is a large amount of money," and the village didn't create the water main problem.
"But it is something that we are charged with remedying," Brolley said.
The Don L. Dise Corporation, developer of Boulder Hill, installed the mains in the 1950s and 1970s. The village assumed the responsibility of maintaining the subdivision's water system and providing water to Boulder Hill's 2,830 households.
Brolley added some Boulder Hill residents "have been suffering" with rust in their water for as long as 10 to 20 years.
"I would gladly pay an extra $15 a month for clean drinking water," he added.
Board member Bill Keck said he believes the Dise Corporation "cut every corner" when installing the mains.
"It behooves us to now do something," Keck continued. "I see this as being as reactive as we can. Something has to be done. We cannot do nothing."
Board member Andy Kaczmarek, however, noted the $15 per month increase would appear as a $30 increase on the water bills that Boulder Hill residents receive every two months from the village.
Kaczmarek suggested that residents will object to that large of an increase.
"If people see another $30 on their bills, they are going to quit," he said.
Late last fall and winter several Boulder Hill residents reported problems with rust in their water after the water flow in some mains was changed after the village public works department shutdown a well for emergency repairs.
In addition, homeowners near the Oswegoland Civic Center on Ashlawn Avenue and Circle Drive East have reported chronic problems with rust in their water dating back several years.
Wallers said he believes now is a good time for the board to agree on a funding plan and to seek bids for the replacement mains. He noted that interest rates are low and contractors are aggressively competing to secure new construction projects.
Wallers said the village could finance the $8 million cost for the project through a conventional method like a bond sale or apply for a low interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA)-or a combination of both.
The board instructed Jeff Zoephel, the village's acting administrator and finance director, to compile additional information on the pros and cons of potential financing options for the board to consider during their next regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.
As proposed by EEI, the project would include the installation of 18,900 lineal feet of replacement water mains, 109 new fire hydrants, 121 new valves and 282 new services lines and Buffalo Boxes. (Buffalo boxes are water service shut-off valves usually located in the parkway in front of most homes.)
When questioned by board members, Wallers said he believes contractors could complete their work within a calendar year.
He added the ideal time to start construction would be in the spring with completion by the end of the year.
Wallers said his firm and village staff have met several times to discuss the project with Oswego Township Highway Commissioner Gary Grosskopf. The township is responsible for maintaining the streets and sidewalks in the subdivision.
Wallers said Grosskopf has been "very helpful" and understands the ramifications of the project.
"He going to try and do what he can to work with us," Wallers said of Grosskopf.