No new deal on Richmond's sewer loan

Richmond agrees to ‘another year of same old, same old’

RICHMOND – With no deal in sight, the village of Richmond will be making another year of interest-only payments on its sewer plant loan.

The Richmond Village Board gave its village president approval to sign off on another temporary deal with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which administered the $7.5 million loan in 2007.

The loan made it possible for Richmond to build a plant large enough to handle the anticipated load increase from a proposed subdivision.

But the subdivision never came – and neither did the connection fees that were earmarked to pay back the 20-year loan.

Without those connection fees, the village couldn’t afford the payments and asked the IEPA for help.

With negotiations ongoing, they agreed to a five-year deal where the village would only pay interest on the loan, not paying off any of the principal. The new deal will replace that expiring agreement – “another year of same old, same old,” Village President Pete Koenig said.

Negotiations have moved slowly because they’re not just between the village and the state, Koenig said. The money for the loan came from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which also has to sign off on any deal.

“What I’m hearing is that we may have it resolved this year, but I think I’ve said that before,” Koenig said. “We’re taking it one year at a time.”

In the meantime, the interest-only payments aren’t breaking the bank.

The Richmond Village Board approved a balanced budget that includes $90,000 in sidewalk upgrades downtown and doesn’t raise water or sewer rates or any fees.

The board members figured that because they don’t know what’s happening with the loan, they’re not going to raise rates without a target, Koenig said.

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