STATE MOVES FORWARD WITH LOCAL ROUNDABOUT PROJECTS

Two road improvement projects with the state of Illinois Department of Transportation as the lead agency, are expected to gain traction during the coming months on the outskirts of Marengo. When completed, Mc Henry County will have a total of five such traffic-flow installations.

“The two Marengo sites are U.S. Route 20 with Harmony Road, and it’s expected to go out for the bid-letting process on June 15…the other is U.S. Route 20 with Marengo road, Beck Road, and Union road,” said McHenry County Division of Transportation construction manager Jim Warner. “Because these two projects involve state thoroughfares, IDOT is handling the specifics, and will reimburse the county for some costs, in the near future.”

Other roundabout installations are in Johnsburg (the confluence of St. John’s Avenue, Wilmot and Johnsburg roads), Woodstock (Charles and Raffel roads), and one currently underway near Island Lake (River and Dowell roads). The construction contract for the latter system was approved by the county board Apr. 17 to Addison-based PirTano construction, Inc. at a $3.59 million cost.

“The reasoning behind employing roundabouts is to eliminate ‘bottleneck’ traffic back-ups at capacity times, and address safety at an intersection where there are a lot of accidents,” Jeff Young, MHCDOT’s assistant county engineer. “The roundabout concept is more efficient, there’s no stopping, and cost comparisons show that it is less expensive to build.

Traffic entering the roundabout must slow down, and yield to traffic in the circle, and the flow is always to the right. The installation-type is a fixture in European cities, and gaining popularity in the Chicago area.

 WATER RATE INCREASES DISCUSSED; REVISITED AT FUTURE DATE

 A potential 1-2 percent annual water and sewer rate increase for residential and commercial customers on Marengo main hook-ups was discussed by the city council, during its May 14 meeting. Determinations will be made at a future council session, pending the completion of a report outlining the increase proposals.

The discussion’s purpose was to seek direction on appropriate actions before establishing any adjustments to the current rates. At the previous meeting, spreadsheets were supplied to council members showing how other area and surrounding communities adjust their rates, whether as flat increase, or tied to consumer price index rates, which are issued annually.

The Village of Maple Park uses the CPI adjustment method. Council members favored this approach, but also favored a 1 per cent increase, as a flat amount. In a packet to council members, City Manager Josh Blakemore indicated 1-2 per cent increase would be a consideration. At current usages, coupled with a downward trend for future use, a 1 per cent increase would amount to approximately $15,000 in additional income, and that the water/sewer fund in the Fiscal Year 2017/18 budget, due to the assistant city manager position being eliminated.

Current residential rates for 15,000-gallon usage: water at $45 ($3.00 per 1,000 gallons), wastewater operations at $61.50 ($4.10 per 1,000 gallons), water/wastewater debt at $43.50 ($43.50 per unit), and wastewater treatment plant expansion at $67.50 ($4.50 per gallon) for a $217.50 total. Commercial rates are identical to the residential amounts, except an additional $25 charge per unit for a $242.50 total.

Under a 1 per cent increase scenario, residential usage rates would be: water at $45.45 ($3.03 per 1,000 gallons), wastewater at $62.10 ($4.14 per 1,000 gallons), water/wastewater debt at $43.94 ($43.94 per unit), and wastewater treatment plant expansion at $68.25 ($4.55 per gallon) for a $219.74 total. Commercial rates would coincide with residential amounts, except for an additional $25 per unit, for a$244.74 total.

Under a 2 per cent increase scenario, residential usage rates would be: water at $45.90 ($3.06 per 1,000 gallons), wastewater at $62.70 ($4.18 per 1,000 gallons), water/wastewater treatment debt at $44.37 ($44.37 per unit), and wastewater treatment plant expansion at $68.85 ($4.59 per 1,000 gallons) for a total of $221.82. Business usage rates would be identical except for an additional $25.00 per unit, for a $246.82 total

It was noted that the additional $25.00 flat charge to businesses, for the treatment plant expansion costs, remains unchanged from existing fees.



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