Q & A
What happens to my property tax bill if the referendum is approved?
The request will not increase the amount of property taxes directed to debt services. This is because $416,000 in annual debt service is being retired in December 2018 when the bond matures.
Would my property taxes decrease if the referendum is not approved?
In the short term, the answer is yes. For a home paying about $25,000 in property taxes, the $416,000 in debt service represents approximately $397.
Why is the Village requesting an increase to the debt service extension base?
The increase in the debt service extension base is being timed to avoid increasing property taxes. Bonds for the construction of the Public Works facility will mature in December of this year. The bonds required a $416,000 payment in debt service. As prior bonds mature, the Village Board is proposing the $400,000 increase in debt service extension base to fund necessary capital improvements.
Do we really need to spend more money on sewers and water mains?
Most of the Village's water mains are cast iron, with some newer ductile iron also being used. Over the decades, the water has reacted with the iron and caused tuberculation (large nodes of rust) that have both weakened the water mains and restricted the flow of water. The result is that a 6” water main may only have 4” of area available for water. That is why our fire hydrants have substandard water volume and why we are experiencing water main breaks.
Why do we need to replace water mains?
The iron water mains that were installed 50-100 years ago have been rusting and are no longer carrying the volume and flow of water necessary to meet our needs. Additionally, we have experienced water main breaks on the old lines that impact the reliability of our drinking water system. The rust that forms on the inside of the water main forms tubercles, which are large clumping mounds of rust. Over time, the tubercles grow and restrict the inside diameter of the water main. Additionally, the walls of the water main weaken as the rust deteriorates the pipe. Often, the best way to address the problem is to replace the water main. We have been using plastic replacement mains, which are not prone to tuberculation.
In 2017, we used a cured in place water main liner on a section of 12" water main. The process involves rodding out the tubercles, cleaning the water main, and then installing a fiberglass liner that is cured in place to form a new water main. This process generally works best where there are not many residential water service connections.
Why do we need to construct a storm sewer?
Decades ago, the Village constructed a storm sewer system on the west side of town. The system was installed to address sewer surcharging (sewage backing up into basements, roadways, and overland). The work was successful, but despite flooding problems on the east side of the Village, work did not commence. Continued flooding and sewer surcharge events need to be addressed and the first works began with KW2023 Phase I on Cumberland, Roslyn, and Melrose. The work was successful and the next area for improvements is being selected.
What if the increase in debt service is not approved by voters on March 20th?
Should the referendum not pass, the Village Board will not proceed with designing the planned KW2023 Phase II improvements. In the short term, the Village Board will try to ascertain why the referendum did not pass - did residents not see the need to improve the water and sewer mains, or was there a different reason? Once the reason for the failure to approve is known, we will be able to develop a plan for the next steps.
Is there another way to fund Phase II?
Yes, the Village could ask voters for authority to sell general obligation bonds, similar to the process followed in 2012. The Village Board decided to pursue an increase to the debt service extension base because it would help avoid some of the problems experienced in 2012. During that process, the bonds were sold and then the project was delayed for over a year. During that time, the Village was making payments on bonds that were not yet put to use. Under the proposed increase to the debt service extension base, the Village has much more control over the timing and amount of bonding which will help avoid the problems previously encountered.
How is this different from granting Home Rule authority?
The requested increase in the debt service extension base is capped at $400,000 for a total authority of $1,000,000. Under Home Rule, the Village would not have a cap on its ability to raise property taxes. While the requested increase in the debt service extension base does offer flexibility, it has a set cap as set by the voters.
Why not just ask for authority to issue general obligation bonds as you did for Phase I?
In Phase I, the Village received its bond funds and then the project was delayed. During that time, the Village did not need all of the bond funds on hand, but there was a requirement that the bonds were sold within a set timeframe. Under the proposed method, the Village has more control over how the bonds are structured and issued. However, a voter-set cap still remains on the amount of debt service that the Village may commit on an annual basis.
What streets are planned to receive new infrastructure in Phase II?
The exact streets to be improved have not been set as of yet. The current plan is for water main improvements on the southwest side of the village and sewer improvements on the southeast quadrant. Engineering studies are currently underway to help identify what streets would provide the most benefit. Once the exact areas are identified, the Village Board will direct design engineering to commence.
Will all of the fire hydrant problems be resolved if Phase II is completed?
No, only a portion will be improved. Over the past 5-years, the Village has been improving the larger water mains that supply water to the various areas of town. The next phase of improvements will be to replace the water mains that connect to the main feeder water mains. By completing the larger mains first, we ensure that we have the properly sized water mains in each neighborhood.
How many more phases are in the KW2023 Infrastructure Improvement Program?
The KW2023 program is comprised of three phases. Phase I was completed in 2017 and if funds are available the goal is to commence Phase II in 2019.