• Megann Horstead

Residents make their case against regional wastewater treatment plant


The New Lenox Village Board of Trustees continued to face opposition for its proposed regional wastewater treatment plant at a Feb. 26 regular meeting.

Plans are still in the works for a $55 million project eyed for the 80-acre property off of Delaney Road.

Though no action was taken with respect to the proposed wastewater treatment plant during the meeting, the Village has a $1.9 million land purchase agreement that is pending between itself and Hartz Homes.

New Lenox Township’s Dennis McLaughlin took time to speak during the public comments section.

“I get the perception that people don’t view us as part of the community because we don’t live in the Village, because we don’t pay the [Village] taxes that some of the people in [the] Royal Meadows [subdivision] have to pay, and they’re right to an extent, but we are part of this community,” he said. “We pay taxes to the schools. The fire [protection district] that came here [to the meeting] begging for money, that applies to us, and that helps you guys, as well.“

McLaughlin asked that the Village not pit finances in front of families.

“I don’t think that’s fair to anybody, Royal Meadows or anybody,” he said, noting that the Jackson Branch expansion is not appropriate, either.

Joe Winslow, a resident of the Royal Meadows subdivision, presented a petition to the Village Board with 813 signatures for registered voters who are against the proposed wastewater treatment plant site off of Delaney Road and referenced what it stated.

“This plant will be seven times the plant of current wastewater treatment plants,” it read. “This plant would serve 50,000 people. Our current population is only close to 28,000.”

The Village has presented its engineering firm with information on several possible sites to review.

The two viable plans at this time are to expand the Jackson Branch plant or build a new regional wastewater treatment plant off of Delaney Road, Mayor Tim Baldermann said. The board will discuss it options at its March 12 regular meeting.

“Because we don’t have to option on that contract until the 25th or the 26th [of March,] we may also see if we can get an extension on that, if it’s possible,” Baldermann said. “I don’t know that it is, but we may see.”

The mayor and Village staff intend to hold a meeting with its engineering firm ahead of time to review a few alternate sites, run through some numbers, talk to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and talk to some environmental groups.

“They’ve only had a couple weeks, here, to work on some of these new locations, and there’s a lot that goes into it, seeing No. 1 is there enough buildable area, seeing if the [Environmental Protection Agency] would be okay with it, [and] seeing if

there [are] environmental issues,” Baldermann said. “We have to locate [and] see if property is for sale.”

Several residents at past meetings have questioned whether the mayor and the Village Board are looking to pit residents of the north side against south.

What’s more is a special meeting was held Feb. 24 to address issues exclusive to residents of New Lenox’s north side.

Baldermann tried to explain otherwise and turned to a resident of the Village’s north side, questioning their opposition to the proposed wastewater treatment plant site off of Delaney Road.

“I saw one home, in particular, had [a] ‘No sewage plant sign,’ and I thought I don’t think this person realizes that if we do the Jackson Branch plant expansion, it will literally be up to their backyard,” he said.

Baldermann said he doesn’t know if everyone will be united if presented the two options and stressed that the Village needs to be responsible in how it uses the money its residents pay in water and sewer fees.

The mayor wants everyone to know that it is his and the Village Board’s desire to make everyone happy.

“Because I’m going to tell you most likely, 99 percent certainty, any other location, if it is viable, is going to be more expensive, just because of the location of where it could be, the ones that we’re looking at,” Baldermann said. “However, there may get to a point where say, ‘Okay, in the scheme of things, it’s only a little bit more expensive. It’s worth it to make a move.’ The board will be the one to make that decision [as] to what is the breaking point.”

The mayor wanted it to be known that if there is another viable option, the Village is prepared to take the necessary steps to make it happen.

Round it up

A brief recap of action and discussion Feb. 26 at a regular meeting of the New Lenox Village Board of Trustees:

  • Early voting for the general primary election has begun in Will County, and New Lenox residents can stop by the community room at Village Hall to cast their ballots, beginning March 4. Further information on polling locations, hours and a list of candidates is available at www.thewillcountyclerk.com

  • A motion was passed to approve New Lenox’s property tax rebate disbursement of $1,193,190.43. The Village is anticipated to place checks in the mail by March 5. This year, close to 6,000 residents submitted applications for their property tax rebate.

  • A motion was passed to approve a measure authorizing New Lenox’s withdrawal from Southwest Agency for Health Management and Intergovernmental Personnel Benefit Cooperative. The Village has found the program does not meet its needs.

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