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Algonquin Township officials urge Lake in the Hills leaders to stop water system sale

Officials to vote on measure asking Lake in the Hills to stop sale of infrastructure

Whitney Rupp for Shaw Media
Molly Pack and son Charlie Pack, 12,  speak at the Algonquin Township annual town meeting Tuesday, April 10.
Whitney Rupp for Shaw Media Molly Pack and son Charlie Pack, 12, speak at the Algonquin Township annual town meeting Tuesday, April 10.

Algonquin Township officials will conduct a special meeting to vote on a resolution asking Lake in the Hills officials to stop the sale of a deteriorating water main system to a private company residents fear will make their water bills unaffordable.

The resolution – set to go before trustees at 7 p.m. Tuesday – reads:

“[The] Algonquin Township Board hereby requests that the village of Lake in the Hills not sell the infrastructure which currently provides water to the 71 residents of unincorporated Algonquin Township, and take no action on the sale of the infrastructure until such time it can be determined that water can be provided to these residents at a reasonable and affordable rate, which is consistent with water rates in the area.”

The concerns of trustees and residents center on the impending sale of the unincorporated water main system – an action Lake in the Hills trustees have tabled twice to allow residents to research water companies that could buy the system.

The village bought the system in the 1970s. The main was installed in the 1950s in the unincorporated area south of Algonquin Road.

The 71 unincorporated customers who use the main live on Scotty Avenue, Dennis Road, Rosemarie Street, Marie Avenue, Isabel Avenue, Ethel Avenue, Craig Street, Roger Street, Willy Avenue, Nevin Avenue and Joan Street.

Many of those residents showed up to Algonquin Township meetings
Tuesday and Wednesday to urge officials to do something before time runs out. The village of Lake in the Hills will meet April 24 to discuss the sale.

Village President Russ Ruzanski said the village has every intention to get rid of the system.

“The intention is to sell it,” Ruzanski said. “We’re giving it away.”

The cost to repair the system outweighs the money the village takes in from residents paying for the water.

If the village doesn’t sell the unincorporated portion of the system, Ruzanski said, it will require water rates for both residents of Lake in the Hills and in the unincorporated section to increase by 3 percent a year beginning in 2019 to pay for the replacement of the mains.

The president said it would not be fair to raise rates for the 29,500 people living in the incorporated portion of Lake in the Hills who contribute property tax payments to the village to pay for the water main replacement in the unincorporated area, where residents do not pay property taxes.

​In the past four years, the section of the main has accounted for 40 percent of all water main breaks villagewide, and the average cost for each repair is about $4,300.

Replacements could cost $1.8 million, Public Works Director Dan Kaup said, but the village generates $30,000 a year from the system.

Officials at Central States Water Resources, a private water and wastewater utility company, are willing to buy the system south of Algonquin and Pyott roads for $1.

The company would make repairs and maintain the system.

Since 2002, residents have been paying a quarterly $6 water main replacement fee to fix the main. Each of the 75 customers using the main has paid $372 since its inception.

Algonquin Township officials have said the village should not rush the deal.

“Lake in the Hills owes it to all of its customers to maintain and provide a vital utility such as water,” Trustee Rachael Lawrence said.

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