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Flossmoor Going to Referendum for Water System Repair Funds

Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun says a vigorous education process is in store for citizens over the next few months before a referendum for $7.2 million in bonds to repair the water system appears on the ballot in November.

Flossmoor reisdents now have an important decision ahead of them.

Along with president of the United States, Flossmoor voters will be deciding to vote yes or no on a referendum attempting to issue a total of $7.2 million in general obligation (G.O.) bonds to help pay for village water system repairs. The improvement plan is expected to last eight years due to the work load, according to Director of Public Works George Peluso.

Whether or not the repairs are necessary is up for debate. As it stands, the village seems to be hemorrhaging water at a rate of one gallon of every three lost, according to village reports. Monetarily, that amounts to somewhere between half of one million and one million dollars annually.

Resident Rick Thomas attended the meeting and expressed his concerns. He said he has some reservations when it comes to the technical implementation of the water system repair plan, especially in phase two (should the referendum pass). Thomas' main concern involved the relocating of water service line lines from the backyard of a select number of homes to the frontyard where the new water mains are to be placed. He says such an operation is rather difficult. Public Works officials, however, maintain the work will be accomplished.

Mayor Braun ended with an open invitation to all Flossmoor reisdents. If anyone still has questions regarding the implementation, finanancing or technical elements of this plan, to please ask the village.

Should the referendum fail, the village plans to follow up action with a revenue bond.

Sue Bertram August 22, 2012 at 04:29 AM
If I remember, this issue was reported on in PATCH a few weeks ago. Isn't this a result of a 2004 study? I am again wondering why it is just now being addressed.
Flossmoor Family August 24, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Sue B, your "a concerned resident's comment," as stated by the mayor, regarding the latency to take action for 2004 village water study was brought up at the Monday night Flossmoor board meeting. According to the mayor they actually have been working on it since 2004 and now is the "right time."
Flossmoor Family August 24, 2012 at 03:03 AM
According to the village memorandum dated 8-6-12, in 2012 alone, the residents of Flossmoor just lost 276,600,000 gallons vs. the 442,400,000 gallons purchased (that’s millions folks) or 38.5% of its water via leaks amounting to a loss for $322,219 in 2012 alone paid for with charges to our water bills of the water pumped thru the obsolete system. Now multiply (and add in 2012's $322,219) for approximately 7 additional years (that’s also millions folks). I guess that is a strong case for "taking care" of this problem “yesterday” and it really is a shame our leadership/staff did not realize that the "right time" for action as was in 2004. I guess the village has had alot of other priorities, like treehouses and giant toothbrushes.
Juvenal August 24, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Of course it would also appear they had eight years to set aside reserves for the project (and the economy was booming at the start of that period) and utterly failed to do so. I have always felt that the Village, although poorly led (i.e.NO vision from elected officials), has at least been pretty well managed (i.e. the staff keeps the trains running on time and budgets prudently); now I have to question even that..
GG August 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Recently had Flossmoor street maintenance crew working on "leaking pipe" near a hydrant. We purposely spent entire morning observing work which took about 6 1/2 hours. Way more coffee and lunch breaks than you can imagine. While not an easy job digging mud and stone surely this did not require a team of 4 men and several 45-60 minute breaks. The process just wasn't coordinated with trucks, equipment, etc. Oh, the leak was never located.
Sue Bertram August 28, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Rather than state the same thing twice - I made my comments in the Comprehensive Plan section- this is exactly the type of thing a Comprehensive, 5 Year and annual Goals planning session could have avoided. I have serious concerns about a referendum like this that has No Chance of passing. Another example of poor planning and lack of good direction from village staff.
Flossmoor Family August 28, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Unfortunately, due to this lack of comprehensive planning, the residents of Flossmoor are basically caught between a rock and a hard spot when it comes to how/whom the necessary water system improvements will be paid for. Per Bridgette Wachtel’s (village manager) presentation during the last board meeting, should the “best” financing option (Referendum General Obligation Bonds not to exceed 9%) fail, “alternate revenue bonds will be a second choice.” “Alternate” sounds like a more expensive, higher interest proposition likely negotiated behind “closed doors,” with no resident input. I really do not understand the strategy to get the referendum pushed through during this November’s election in just 6 weeks; we’ve already waited 6 years so this “push” should have started at least 6 months ago. Something this big should require more public consideration and education so please “push” this referendum to one of the two 2013 spring elections per the county clerk. You can’t start digging before this spring anyway.
Sue Bertram August 28, 2012 at 06:40 PM
You are absolutely right. Referendum 101 tells you that it takes MONTHS of public education (not 70 some days) to get the voters on board. Part B of 101 is that you NEVER put a local issue that costs the tax payers more on a November/large election ballot. You would do it in the spring, when the issues are local and voter turn out is lower. Now, more people (NO votes) will be at the polls, and in a spring election, they generally just stay home, The citizens for an issue are the ones who make the effort to get out and vote and urge their friends to do the same. Now, there is no time for education. All the village had to do was ask our library, school and park district for advice. All have run successful referendums and all started almost a year in advance. Coalitions of voters, focus groups and grass roots support was cultivated and this takes LOTS TIME & EFFORT. It makes me wonder if the village already knew this and decided it would be easier to have the referendum fail and then just go ahead and raise the water rates. It would be a lot less work. AND, if this is not the case, it is just another example of Village staff not giving good advice. After all , the Village Board Members have to get their information and advice from the hired staff. For the village administration to advise a referendum at this time shows these folks clearly do not know what they are doing. It is so sad.
Flossmoor Family August 30, 2012 at 03:14 AM
On the other hand, I feel there is plenty of blame to go around. Our mayor and village board is comprised of intelligent people who chose to be elected officials representing their constituents best interests and they are charged with the awesome fiduciary responsibility to individually assess and sort out the information in their own minds of what the upper echelon of staff might be putting in front of them.
Sue Bertram August 30, 2012 at 03:26 AM
I agree that an uniformed board is the result of uninformed staff or staff that manipulate information. My true regret is that this, and many other issues, reflect poorly on our Village and it's reputation. We are not seen by many as Resident friendly or viewed as in any way a progressive community.
Grant Anderson August 30, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Now how exactly would they repair this problem.I'm not a resident but Would flossmoor residents taxes go up to pay for repairs? Are water bills raising because of lack of water?
Flossmoor Family August 30, 2012 at 02:31 PM
I agree about Flossmoor’s reputation, we are not seen as “resident “or even business friendly and this is the essence of our woes. If our village was run like any other successful business, everyone knows what would happen to the employees that are disrespectful to the client (taxpayer), focus on petty issues, underperform managerially or as you state possibly “manipulate” critical information. I’m certain nothing will change in Flossmoor until our elected stop solely/blindly depending on expensive bad advice and come to terms with these sad facts.
Flossmoor Family August 30, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Tony D, I’m not trying to start a rivalry with you but please stay on-task with this thread, you seem bitterly and literally out in the Stratosphere somewhere with this HFPD comparison!
Sue Bertram August 30, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Grant, the answer to your question is that if the referendum DOES pass, it will be paid for by Flossmoor taxpayer's dollars. If it does NOT pass, the cost will be passed on to the residents through the water bills based on usage rates. Not the best solution since it is an improvement to village infrastructure that would best be shared over then entire village. As it is, the Village has a Water and Sewer Tax based on usage. The Sewer part of this tax is disproportionately applied since it does not take into account water used during warm weather - watering gardens, lawns, etc, - which never enters the sewer system. Many communities, but not Flossmoor, base the sewer tax on an average of water used during only the winter months.
Sue Bertram August 31, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Tony and All: I am also removing my comments on the irrelevant and personal issues brought by Mr. Dauginas into to this discussion. I have, however, made a Word copy of the entire text, just in the event there is ever a question of "Who said what about Who." Should anyone want a copy, feel free to contact me.

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