Village has spent nearly $8 million on stormwater projects since early 2000s

RANTOUL — The village has spent nearly $8 million since 2001 to alleviate stormwater drainage problems in the community, Village Comptroller Pat Chamberlin said.

The costs have been largely paid through bonds funded through the issuance of a stormwater drainage utility fee.

Some property owners (the number was not available) have never paid the stormwater fee since it was started in 2000, Chamberlin told the village board at last week’s board study session.

The village’s ability to collect was made more difficult when Champaign County’s presiding judge, Thomas Difanis, in January set aside more than 2,500 outstanding warrants for people who have unresolved city or village ordinances in the county.

The move was designed to lighten the load of the staff at the Champaign County jail. However, it left the village of Rantoul with little leverage to force scofflaws, such as people who won’t pay their stormwater fee bills, to pay.

The village’s options are limited to collect.

The village does file liens against the properties of people who refuse to pay. If the owner does not sell the property, the village cannot collect.

Village Administrator Rick Snider said the village has signed onto the State of Illinois Comptroller’s Local Debt Recovery program.

“It’s been a slow process of getting that thing moving,” Snider said.

Village trustee Chad Smith also recommended the village drainage committee look at the problem. (The committee did meet Monday.)

Chamberlin reported 3,784 storm bills were mailed out June 23 with a first installment due Aug. 7. The amount billed was $772,100. The current balance outstanding as of Aug. 28 was $412,700.

“There are currently 1,038 outstanding bills that have not been paid yet (27 percent of the bills sent out),” Chamberlin wrote in her report to the board. “Of that amount, approximately 508 owe the amount that was billed this year.”

The village has filed 156 liens with the county this year for outstanding storm drainage fees.

Stormwater flooding has been an issue throughout the village over the years. The most prominent local case of late has been on Illinois Drive, where resident Debbie

Sleigh said flood waters have threatened the home she shares with her husband, Dale.

She said the problem became worse following a construction project at neighboring Northview School. She said despite three sump pumps operating in their back yard, water comes up to their back door, and black mold is present in their house.

Stormwater projects
Chamberlin provided an overview of the stormwater projects the village has undertaken since 2001:

• The Maplewood Drive and Clark Street improvement project (completed in 2001 at a cost of $276,551). The project alleviated flooding at the intersection of those two streets with the installation of a new 42-inch and 48-inch storm sewer system along the Fisher Farm Railroad tracks.

• The Maplewood detention pond (2003 at a cost of $629,171). The project was the first major stormwater improvement funded by the storm drainage fee. The village bought property where the pond is located and constructed the pond, which was jointly constructed by the village and the Air Force.

• Sangamon Avenue to Wabash Avenue storm sewer (2007 at a cost of $1.921 million). Beginning at the intersection of Sangamon Avenue and Tanner Street, the project entered the west end of the detention pond at West Avenue. It included new pipes ranging in size from 24 inches to 48 inches. It has alleviated flooding along Wabash Avenue, Lincoln Street, Sangamon Avenue and Garrard Street.

• Prairie View and Shady Lawn upgrade (2004 at a cost of $346,812). The project diverted storm water from the Prairie View subdivision to the Maplewood detention pond.

• Eater Drive upgrade (2004 at a cost of $274,859). The project diverted water from the Eater Drive and Harper Drive intersection to the Maplewood detention pond.

• Lon Drive and Gates Drive (2006 at a cost of $146,530). The project consisted of about 700 feet of new 30-inch storm sewer along Lon Drive beginning at the new Gates and Lon intersection extending north to U.S. 136 and an extension of a 48-inch storm sewer at Carolina Drive.

• Gleason Drive area (2012 at a cost of $1.157 million). The project reduced roadway flooding by improving the driving surface and providing curb and gutter, structures, storm sewer collection pipe as well as underground storage in the Gates Drive, Gleason Drive, Carolina Drive, Eater Drive and Harper Drive areas.

• Northwest outfall (2016 at a cost of $1.613 million). The project included construction of a new storm sewer from just south of the Canadian National railroad to the northwest pump station. The work provided improper storm water flow from the northwest portion of the community by replacing a 24-inch storm sewer and disconnecting from an existing parallel field tile.
• Broadmeadow subdivision (2016 at a cost of $1.179 million). The project provides for stormwater improvement and street rehabilitation of Broadmeadow Road from Malsbury to James Road, Broadmeadow Road to Quinlan Place pond and then along James Road. The project provided for construction of about 3,330 linear feet of new storm sewer ranging in size from 12 inches to 36 inches in diameter along with additional drainage structures.

• Rudzinski pond (2016 at a cost of $235,023). The project removed about 4,000 cubic yards of accumulated sediment from the pond, repairing existing culverts and outfall structures and regarding the banks of the pond.



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