JAWA water project
Posted in the Palos Heights Forum
#1 Jun 21, 2012
Bridgeview residents sound off on costly soccer stadium
Officials get an earful at meeting
Bridgeview officials stung by a costly soccer stadium got an earful from angry residents Wednesday who complained of a lack of answers on how much the struggling venture will cost them.
"I would really like to know what the village plan is to handle this enormous debt," resident Marge Woods said. "You can't do it on the backs of us taxpayers."
The exchange came Wednesday night at Bridgeview's first Village Board meeting since the Tribune published a report detailing the small southwest suburb's financial woes tied to its biggest bet, the 20,000-seat Toyota Park.
The taxpayer-owned home of the Chicago Fire has come up millions of dollars short of making its debt payments since opening in 2006. Meanwhile, the town has nearly tripled property taxes in less than a decade, even as the town offset some of the financial sting by taking out more loans to help make payments.
In all, the blue-collar suburb is now more than $200 million in debt.
In comparing towns' debt to property values, the Tribune found Bridgeview had the highest debt rate in the Chicago area. Much of the debt is tied to a stadium deal in which the newspaper found insiders landed contracts and town officials enriched their political funds with stadium vendor donations.
Mayor Steven Landek, who is also an appointed state senator running for election this fall, at first offered to meet privately in the homes of the handful of residents who complained.
But resident Julie Padilla told Landek that her husband was so angry he wouldn't let Landek in their house, and then she and two other residents asked Landek to hold a public forum. Landek said he would, although no date has been set.
Landek did tell the crowd that he was confident the stadium would pick up when the economy improved, and the village would make all of its loan payments. But he couldn't say how much taxes could rise.
"Given the terrible economic downturn, we are still confident that everything is stable," he said, adding later, "We are confident that some of our economic projects will take hold."
This is the same scenario that could happen to Mayor Peloquin, jawa plan to bring water to Blue Island. If it does not work out, the taxes will triple. And where will Mayor Peloquin be?
#2 Jun 21, 2012
Most Blue Islanders are not aware of the serious debt the municipality is in because the information regarding outstanding debt is not disclosed to the general public who would demand fiscal responsibility!
#3 Jun 21, 2012
Alsip Mayor Kitchin is on the JAWA Board and is promoting this idea for the Village of Alsip to buy water from Hammond Ind and avoid the City of Chicago Water. The Joint Action Water Agency is to become partners with many south suburbs. To pay for the feasibility study the JAWA is requesting 5.6 Million Dollars. Each suburb is responsible for their share. Mayor Kitchin wants the Village Board to approve it's share (38%) or 1.7 Million dollars, by the end of the month. This money may be rolled into the project, if it takes off, or the Village will be on the hook within 3 yrs to start paying this off, if the project dosen't come to be. I'm waitin to see BI, Robbins, Cal Pk, Markham and Harvey do the same and get their check books out. Ya gotta give to get.
#4 Jun 21, 2012
And........the credit rating for each of the municipalities is what?
#5 Jun 22, 2012
STOP JAWA Now.
#6 Jun 22, 2012
Your message is clear.
#7 Jun 22, 2012
I understand Harvey is pickin up a large share of the cost and Alsip's Mayor Kitchin is very confident that his town will pay for it's share.
I hope they build a big filtration plant and an office building, just like the JAWA in Lake Bluff. Very Impressive. The 5.6 million is nothing, when you split the tab. They need to pay the Lawyers, Engineers, Financial Institutions, Etc. It pays for a feasability study, to see if this bird will fly. Unless you have a better idea, you should come to a Village Board meeting on Monday Night and support the "Yes" vote for the JAWA in Alsip.
#8 Jun 22, 2012
This bird will not fly. In my opinion it is just another way to funnel money to the money grabbing lawyers and specialists who get sweet deals and give kick-backs for these feasibility studies. Why don't they fund a study to upgrade our existing water and sewer system or fix the streets and alleys? How about raising these funds for a better educated police department with more resources available to fight the crime that doesn't exist here in BI? These are real problems, not manufactured ones like JAWA purports to solve. What does JAWA do about a few dollar increase to our water bills? More than likely increase our property taxes by thousands to pay for it while the specialists take a large portion for their services. Arc Plasma anyone? How about those bridges? Why do we STILL have a damaging and frankly late 19th century sewer system? Why do we still put up with this type of nonsense?
#9 Jun 22, 2012
Water rates rising in southwest suburbs
Oak Lawn passing cost of infrastructure upgrade to customer communities
Officials say Oak Lawns pumping stations need system needs upgrades (Phil Velasquez, Chicago )
June 21, 2012|By Ashley Rueff, Chicago Tribune reporter
Residents in 13 southwest suburbs will see their water rates climb yet again when Oak Lawn begins an estimated $185 million overhaul of its water distribution system.
The 325,000 people who get water from Oak Lawn will help pick up the tab for the upgrade through higher water rates, officials said. The hike comes on top of the recent water rate increase from the city of Chicago, which provides Lake Michigan water to Oak Lawn, which then pumps water to its suburban customers.
How the project affects water bills is still being worked out, although some officials said it should be a smaller increase than was passed down by Chicago. To take care of its own aging infrastructure, Chicago is rolling out a 90 percent rate increase over four years to its suburban customers.
Tinley Park resident Donna Miller brought her water bill to a Village Board meeting this week, looking for answers. She said she is frustrated that water rates are going up at the same time families are living on tighter budgets. With a family of six, Miller said she has seen her quarterly water and sewer bill increase by about $30 to $180 since the beginning of the year, which is when the first Chicago rate hike kicked in.
#10 Jun 22, 2012
"It's just terrible," she said. "Everything's gone up. Your gas, your electric, taxes, water, but the paychecks aren't going up at all."
Orland Park Village Manager Paul Grimes said that because the cost of Oak Lawn's project is being spread out over the life of a 30- to 40-year contract with all of the municipalities chipping in, the increase to residents should be "fairly minimal."
"I don't think it'll be that bad because of the fact that you're taking those debt payment services and spreading them out over time," he said.
Officials in Oak Lawn said the upgrades are necessary to keep up with the area's population and for public safety. In addition to serving its own residents, Oak Lawn is responsible for pumping water to Chicago Ridge, Palos Park, Palos Hills, Oak Forest, Olympia Fields, Country Club Hills, Matteson, Orland Hills, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Mokena and New Lenox.
Engineer Randy Rogers said the aging water system needs major improvements if it is going to keep up with demand, which is projected to be about 450,000 people by 2030. The current system can pump 55 million gallons a day, but the upgrades should double the capacity to 111 million gallons, he said.
Strings of hot, dry days push the limits of the system, which dates to the early 1970s, and serious breaks or power outages could put towns at risk of depleting their two-day water supplies while waiting for repairs, he said.
Improvements will add a redundant line and a backup power supply. Energy-efficient pumps and equipment are expected to cut power costs to Oak Lawn by about $1 million a year, officials said.
Officials in Tinley Park, one of the larger municipalities served by the system, said adding safety nets should ensure that water service is never interrupted.
"That's why system upgrades need to happen," said Village Manager Scott Niehaus. "From our citizens' perspective, having the redundant line is a major benefit."
Negotiations between Oak Lawn and most of its customer communities have been ongoing for more than two years, and agreements are expected in the next 90 days, said Larry Deetjen, village manager for Oak Lawn. Each town will have a separate agreement with prices that depend on use and where they are on the system line, he said.
Bidding on the first phases of the project could begin in the spring, said Rogers, a vice president and project manager with engineering consulting firm CDM Smith, with construction tentatively scheduled to start next summer and wrap up in 2017.
Josh Ellis, program director at the Metropolitan Planning Council, said out-of-date water systems and costly upgrades are becoming more common in the Chicago area.
"Throughout northeastern Illinois, we in general have older systems that were not designed for the kinds of uses that we have now," Ellis said.
Historically, he said, the price of water service has not kept up with the cost of infrastructure and maintenance. That means when it's time for major improvements, towns have to implement rate increases to catch up. Now residents served by Oak Lawn's system are having to take on the cost of both Chicago's water system improvements and Oak Lawn's.
Officials said they expect that just as drivers react when fuel prices go up, residents will become more aware of how much water they use.
"As those rates go up, people will change their behavior," Grimes said.
#11 Jun 22, 2012
It must be stopped now. Do the math, and tell your Alderman stop telling lies.
#12 Jun 22, 2012
Several of the largest banks had their credit worthiness down graded today; that trickles down to customers, period. The mayor of Alsip can take out Alsip's check book because Alsip apparently afford to do so; and taxes can be raised as desired. Blue Island is not Home Rule, does not have the funds in the checking account to repair or replace essentials. The JAWA debt will not be paid off in the mayor's life time!
No! No! No! JAWA! and vote the aldermen who support all of this kind of nonsense out of office!!!
#13 Jun 23, 2012
Has JAWA been approved via any committees?
#14 Jun 23, 2012
This is a very good point! No thanks to city clerk Pam Frasor who refuses to do her duty, and update the codification book. The Alderman do not have a nomenclature to work with. This is done by design. They do not realize or maybe do not care that this should first come out of committee, and recommend to city council.
#15 Jun 23, 2012
The evidence reflects city hall has been unable to maintain streets and keep the bridges open.
Do you REALLY want city hall in charge of YOUR-drinking water?
#16 Jun 24, 2012
Does anyone have any spare change? I need a 40 right about now. And some cigarettes too. I'll be around T&G's and the Double Play today around noon.
#17 Jun 24, 2012
The bond issue not only will not be paid off on the mayor's life time it won't be paid off in Potaska's life time either. Call your aldermen and tell them to vote "NO Jawa"! We don't want city hall in charge of our drinking water!
#18 Jun 25, 2012
Think about that Crestwood water everyone!
#19 Jun 25, 2012
am for the water project. we as acommunty need not be dependent on CHICAGO water we will have our own water in with other southwest suburbsThis a long term investment for our community people arew not aware of chicago supply the predicted shortage of water which means a higher cost so look into it don't chop off your nose to spite your face.think of the future.
#20 Jun 25, 2012
A very good point! This is a fill my pockets project! Think about the billions this project will actually cost in the event it moves forward, what do you think will be unearthed? Shale, unmarked graves, who knows? Think about the people we currently have in charge who are unable to keep the bridges open, maintain streets, sidewalks, or balance the city budget. Do you really want them in charge of your water supply?
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