Spring Grove aims to sign up more water users

SPRING GROVE – A Spring Grove committee is looking at ways to maximize users of a water and sewer system that’s not covering its costs.

One plan – the one the Spring Grove Economic Development Commission was leaning toward at its Tuesday meeting – would have the village take out a loan to run a water line through the commercial district where there already is sewer service, said Mike Lee, the commission chairman and a village trustee.

The area is boxed in by Route 12, the railroad tracks and Industrial Court, and is mostly commercial.

Of 99 businesses on the sewer line, eight are hooked up to village water, said Trent Turner, a building and zoning officer. The cost of running the water line in that area, including installing hydrants, connections and service lines, would be $1.659 million, he said.

Based on conservative revenue estimates and about $400,000 the village has in savings, it wouldn’t take much to bring down that number, Lee said.

Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Mike Gajewski said businesses should have to cover the cost of service lines connecting their buildings to the main water line.

The village also charges a connection fee based on how much water the business is expected to use, Turner said.

The village’s fees are “comfortably lower” than in surrounding communities, Lee said, and the fees haven’t been reviewed since 2006.

The commission should look at the fee structure, Gajewski said.

The commission plans to meet again before taking any proposal to the whole Village Board for approval.

The village’s water and sewer system is not self-sufficient because it does not generate enough through hook-up fees and water and sewer bills to cover costs, which include loan payments, Lee said.

The village uses money from its general fund, about $45,000 so far this fiscal year, to make up the system’s shortage, he said.

Gajewski also proposed considering a special service area and the possibility of expanding it to capture nearby properties.

Having sewer and water infrastructure is part of encouraging that economic development, Lee said.

“Six months ago, all you had was crickets,” he said. “Now, you’re starting to get phone calls.”

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