Crest Hill seeks sewage plant funds
By Frank Vaisvilas Correspondent October 8, 2013 9:26PM
Updated: November 10, 2013 6:26AM
CREST HILL — The city council agreed Monday night to seek a $20 million loan from the state to build a new sewage treatment plant on the west side.
The vote was 7-1, with Ald. John Vershay (1st) the lone dissenter, citing concerns that the city will be in debt until 2040 with the loan because it has an existing $24 million loan that’s paying for an east side sewage plant.
However, the other aldermen and Mayor Ray Soliman spoke strongly in favor of seeking the funds, which would come from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Pollution Control Loan Program.
“I am ashamed of the way that west sewage plant is looking,” Soliman said. “There’s only one word to describe it, and that is deplorable.”
He said the plant is close to being out of compliance with IEPA regulations, and when that happens, the city could see fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 per day.
“I’m not going to say why it came to that point,” Ald. Claudia Gazal (2nd) said of the plant’s condition. “What happened in the past is in the past. But we need to move forward.”
Soliman said the east side plant is nearing completion, and now is the time to move forward with a new west side plant, as recommended in 2010 by the city’s consultant, Baxter & Woodman, because interest rates are low.
In other action Monday, aldermen amended the city’s pet ordinance to allow residents to have more cats or dogs. Previously, the maximum was two of each, and the revised ordinance permits any combination while keeping the limit at four per resident.
Ald. Tom Inman (4th) said the change came from a situation in which a resident who had two dogs found an injured dog, nursed it back to health and wanted to keep it after growing fond of it.
The council also approved Amber Miller as community development director. Miller holds the same job in downstate Fairview Heights and is scheduled to start in Crest Hill on Nov. 12.
Ald. Scott Dyke (1st) opposed the appointment, saying he doesn’t think the city needs a full-time community development post that pays $84,000 a year.
Soliman said Miller will bring a “new level of professionalism that has been missing for several years.”