COAL CITY – All 38 homeowners in Coal City’s Prairie Oaks subdivision have signed off on an annexation agreement with the village, but the ordinance authorizing the annexation was put on hold during Monday’s Village Board meeting.
Annexing the subdivision is part of a larger project connecting Prairie Oaks to Coal City’s sewer sanitation plant since the neighborhood’s private septic system is failing, causing health and safety problems for the residents.
The homeowners are under an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency mandate to have the sewer issues resolved.
Despite resounding support for the annexation, the Village Board opted to wait on the annexation until the bids for the sewage project are received.
“I have to ask, why wouldn’t we just [wait]?” board member Terry Halliday said Monday. “Why would we enter into something without knowing exactly what we’re dealing with?”
The village of Coal City, the residents and the state are contributing most of the money needed for the $925,000 project.
Coal City was awarded a $329,000 community block grant from the state in 2011 to help pay for the project. The remaining project costs will be funded over the next 10 years through a property tax agreement between the homeowners and the village.
According to village documents, connecting the subdivision to the village’s waste treatment plant – which excludes the decommissioning of the subdivision’s currently defunct plant – is expected to cost about $699,000.
Halliday urged the board to wait until the design engineering bids for the project are received in a few months before annexing the property.
Later during the meeting, the board approved a resolution to move forward with the design engineering phase of the project.
Coal City Mayor Neal Nelson assured several Prairie Oaks homeowners in attendance that the village is committed to annexing the property.
“In the long run, this will be good for the village,” Nelson said Tuesday. “We want to be good neighbors. We’ve spent thousands of dollars on this project already.”
The homeowners are still searching for funding to decommission their current sewer plant. The cost burden for that part of the project falls solely on the homeowners, who still need $105,000 for the decommissioning.
Village Administrator Matt Fritz said the decommission portion of the project will not affect the annexation.
Village welcomes new
The board also adopted a new, 20-year comprehensive plan for the village.
The plan was completed by the North Central Illinois Council of Governments and funded through state and federal grant money the village received after severe flooding in 2008.
The plan provides a comprehensive look at Coal City’s past, present and future and identifies a list of goals for the village to work toward.
“A lot of work went into this, a lot of discussion, and it kind of lays out the blueprint for what we want the town to be,” Nelson said.