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Elburn talks upgrade of wastewater plant

Bills could rise as much as $40 a month

ELBURN – The village on Monday night approved its budget and OK’d the creation of a director of finance position, but another key decision is now looming – the modernization of the village’s wastewater treatment plant.

The board heard a presentation Monday from Jeff Freeman, who is with Sugar Grove-based Engineering Enterprises Incorporated, about upgrades he said are needed at the plant. Freeman said there were safety issues that exist for workers now, and that there are efficiencies that would be accomplished through the upgrade.

The proposed modernization would cost $7.65 million, which ultimately could increase a household’s sewer bill by as much as $40 a month.

Officials said that amount is based on a 20-year loan, and it would be a usage fee, so the monthly amount could be reduced if the village’s population grows.

The project would call for updated machinery, including an upgrade that would stop a particular concern – that one employee is forced to frequently go underground in a tight area in which there is no cellphone reception.

The upgrades would address that.

Discussion will continue in the next few months.

Officials made clear that the plan wasn’t being discussed to deal with any growth that occurs from the recently approved Elburn Station annexation, to be developed by ShoDeen.

“If ShoDeen were not in the picture, would we do it?” board member Bill Grabarek said. “The answer is yes.”

Village President Dave Anderson called it “something that must be done.” He said the possible $40-a-month increase would be “the worst-case scenario.”

“We’re doing what we’re charged to do,” Anderson said. “And sometimes that costs money.”

On the topic of the budget, details have been hammered out in recent weeks, and there was little debate on the topic at Monday night’s meeting. The village began with a cash balance of $6,729,933 and showed revenues of $4,611,888 and expenditures of $4,801,168, resulting in a cash balance of $6,540,653. The budget was approved by a 5-1 vote, with board member Jerry Schmidt voting against it.

The hiring of a director of finance also was done with little discussion. The vote was 5-1, with board member Ken Anderson voting against it. The position will be salaried at a rate of $79,000 a year. Dave Anderson has touted it as a way to allow Village Administrator Erin Willrett to focus more on economic development.

Dave Anderson also paused to honor Schmidt, who did not run in the April 9 election and soon will leave the board. Patricia Schuberg, who won a seat, will be seated at the next meeting.

“It’s an honor to serve,” Schmidt said. “A lot of people put a lot of trust in me.”

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