Antioch doesn't want to jump the gun on water vote

Published: 7/20/2010 12:04 AM

Antioch officials pushed back a vote to approve a $50,000 payment needed to continue moving forward on a 10-community effort to bring Lake Michigan water to northwest Lake County.

The village board spoke out against a lack of information and leadership at the county level as to what specifically the $500,000 total will be spent on.

As the Northern Lake County Lake Michigan Water Planning Group waits to hear whether its proposal to build a $250 million pipeline connection to the lake is approved, money to continue the group's effort has gone dry.

"If no other communities are in on this, why should we be the first community to feed the trough?" Trustee Scott Pierce said.

The water planning group is expecting to hear from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources within the next two weeks on whether the project is approved.

"It's a large chunk of dough," Trustee Dennis Crosby said. "50 grand is a lot, but it is probably worth spending if it keeps us in the game."

The complaint that most of the board members had was the lack of details the planning group gave as to what the money would be spent on. The only details of what the money would be spent on were presented as four lines of text broadly described as engineering, public education, project management and legal fees.

"We would like to have some accounting for it," Crosby said. "This is $50,000 of our taxpayers' money."

The frustrated board will not make a decision until the county provides specific details of where the money will be spent and what the future looks like for the project.

The board voiced its opinion at a meeting two weeks ago that if the group's proposal is approved, the only form of funding trustees will OK is through general obligation bonds that must be approved by voters in a referendum.

The village estimated that average residents would see an increase of $400 per year if the switch to Lake Michigan water is made. About half of that would be in the form of taxes and the other half in increased water bills.

"I don't want to rush into this project," Mayor Larry Hanson said. "It's a big deal, and I want to do it right."

Water: Village wants to know where, exactly, money will go