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Yorkville mayor: city council facing key decision on future water source

Mayor John Purcell told the Yorkville City Council on Aug. 10 that the biggest decision they are going to make this year is whether they choose to receive Lake Michigan water through an agreement with the Joliet Area Water Commission.

City officials are now faced with finding a new source for water since the water level in the deep sandstone aquifer from which it currently draws its water from is falling and will, at some point within the next several years, not be able to keep up with local demand.

“We don’t have a ton of time to consider it, but if we are going to go with Joliet we’re going to have make a decision by the end of the year,” Purcell said. “If we don’t go with Joliet we don’t necessarily have to make a decision in December, January, February, March, but surely if you say you don’t want to go to Joliet for whatever reason I’m not going to throw this in the closet.”

The city’s estimated cost of acquiring water from the Joliet Area Water Commission isn’t expected to be released until Friday, Aug. 13, according to Yorkville City Administrator Bart Olson.

“Joliet did clarify with us that they anticipate that their numbers for our proposal to connect will be finalized on Friday,” Olson said. “So they’re basically handing it over to us and saying ‘We’re done with it, you do with it whatever you’re going to do.’”

Olson acknowledged that it’s unclear whether Joliet wants Yorkville to keep the financial information confidential for a few weeks and that staff from Montgomery and Oswego as well as Yorkville will need time to analyze the numbers before being able to discuss recommendations.

“I will say internally between the managers for Montgomery and Oswego we’ve talked about it,” he said. “And we have thought staff would need at least two and probably more like at least four weeks to at least dive into those figures and be able to talk about them publicly.”

Joliet is not the only water source option Yorkville has, but as Purcell reminded the council, if it chooses to go that route it has to make a decision before 2022.

“We need to continue to have this conversation and make a decision,” he said. “That’s really the urgency, the Joliet issue, and I want to keep this in front of everyone.”

Likewise, Brad Sanderson, chief operating officer of Engineering Enterprises, Inc. of Sugar Grove, engineering consultants for the city, said the council should anticipate plenty of water source discussion in the coming months.

“There will be quite a bit of material coming in toward the end of August,” Sanderson said. “And September and October will be pretty heavy with the water discussion.”

City sales tax numbers on rise

In other business, Purcell shared some positive financial news on Tuesday night regarding the city’s sales tax numbers

“May sales tax numbers were up over May of last year, we had our best month ever,” he said. “So knock on wood, things are still positive from a financial standpoint as far as the community is going.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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