BOURBONNAIS — Trustees adopted an ordinance at Monday’s meeting that will sell the village’s wastewater treatment system to Aqua Illinois for $32.1 million.

The sale caps three years of discussions and negotiations between the two entities.

The Illinois Commerce Commission must approve the sale, which Bourbonnais Mayor Paul Schore said should happen in eight to 10 months.

The vote was 6-0 with trustee Angela Serafini abstaining as she is employed by Aqua. Because state statue required a two-thirds majority vote, Schore had to vote.

Before casting his vote for the project, trustee Jeff Keast talked about his concerns.

“I had a good discussion with the mayor last week,” he said. “There are things that give me pause. With the funds received, I want to know what happens when there are tough times. When we have to tighten the belt. We have to think about financial responsibility. Based on my talk with the mayor, I vote aye.”

Schore agreed with Keast.

“We have to continue to be financially responsible for the residents,” he said.

Some of the proceeds of the sale will help the village with an infrastructure plan to replace and add sidewalks throughout the village, as well as curbs and street improvements.

Village administrator Mike Van Mill said now was the time to sell the system.

“In the past five years, revenues are barely keeping up with the expenses,” Van Mill said.

At the Nov. 16 board meeting, Van Mill said the older parts of the system were in need of upgrade and repairs, which would cost in the range of $9 million to $12 million.

Aqua Illinois president Craig Blanchette said capital investments will be made in the system.

“Over the next 10 years, Aqua has committed to $9 million in capital investments into the Bourbonnais sewer system to continue the valuable projects that the village has already initiated and further reduce system inflow and infiltration that reduces valuable capacity at the wastewater treatment plant,” Blanchette said. “Ensuring adequate capacity in the system helps the village grow, promotes economic development, and ensures system reliability for existing customers.”

Blanchette said the company will spread the $9 million over projects across the entire system, including the older portions. Most of the infrastructure in need of repair or replacement are in the older parts of the system.

Currently, single-home customers pay a flat monthly rate of $42. Aqua will switch to a consumption-based rate, which Schore said will benefit many homeowners.

He said whether there were two people in a home or six, they were both paying the same with the flat rate.

According to the agreement, when the sale is complete, Aqua will charge customers a monthly base rate of $24.95 next year.

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the monthly rate would be $40.02, which includes 1,000 gallons of usage. A customer would pay more for amounts over 1,000 gallons.

Rates will be calculated on three months of water usage in winter.

Reporter

Jeff Bonty has worked for The Daily Journal since September 1986, starting in the sports department before moving to news reporting in 2002. He's a native of Indiana and graduate of Purdue University. His email is jbonty@daily-journal.com.