Some Washington community members could face a $5000 tax levy for utility systems upgrades

Local News

WASHINGTON, Ill. — Some Washington community members are upset after finding out they could be paying $5,000 for utility improvements.

A proposal would require homeowners on North Lawndale Avenue and West Holland Street to pay the city an extra $500 a year for the next ten years.

The money would go toward those areas’ utility systems. The ordinance is scheduled to have its Second Reading Tuesday.

“As a homeowner, I don’t want a $5,000 tax levy and I would say most of the people on our street don’t want a $5,000 tax levy,” said Randy Brown.

Brown lives on North Lawndale Avenue in Washington. Her household is one of many that would be affected by the levy that would go toward upgrading the water service, sanitary lateral and sump line connections on homeowner properties on her street and Holland street.

“It’s a situation where the residents are questioning, does the city council have authority to come and tell us what we have to do in our own private property?” said Brown.

City leaders said the upgrades comply with EPA requirements and the city can face a fine if it doesn’t comply. Under the ordinance, homeowners would pay $500 dollars a year for 10 years and the city would to take care of the rest of the costs.

“What we are doing in this process is giving the home owners the opportunity to be part of this project and only pay $5000 of a project that can cost anywhere between 10 and 15 thousand. Some can be more , some can be less than 10 but we definitely think more than five,” said Ray Forsythe, Washington City Administrator.

Some are concerned that initial readings haven’t been publicized but leaders said it’s because the ordinance is on its very early stages.

“The ramifications of not doing it this way are a lot costlier to the home owner, than having to do it through the special service area,” said Forsythe,”I think they need to be careful and make sure that they get all the information which is the purpose of the public hearing and the process that we are going through so they don’t come in and think this is isn’t good when ultimately it is good for them .

City leaders said if anyone has any questions, they can call city hall. A second hearing for the proposed ordinance will happen on Tuesday and a public hearing is expected at a later date .

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