TONICA — The village of Tonica has officially raised its sewer rates. Residents will see a $6 increase on their next bill. The rate will now be $25 per month.
The increase was necessitated by upcoming construction of a sewage treatment plant, which was mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“It’s unfortunate,” said village president Kevin Sluder, “but we are not able to replace bits and pieces of the sewer system. The EPA said we need a new sewer system — completely new.”
Government officials also told the village it should be charging $40 per month for sewer services. If the village did not demonstrate a plan to get its rates more on track with what the government said they should be, they could be disqualified for a loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“And we need everything we can get,” Sluder said.
The new plant still is in the design phase.
“We’re at the early stages yet but it’s going to come along pretty quick,” village engineer Jack Kusek said.
Kusek, along with Sluder, two trustees and superintendent of public works Marc Lemrise recently visited three treatment plants in other towns to get an idea of what they are going to get.
“It blows your mind how complicated it is,” said trustee Bob Foltynewicz. “You can’t believe the sophistication in that thing.”
Sluder said he is looking into sewer work that could alleviate flooding during heavy rains and save the village money in the long run.
Water comes into town from the northwest, Sluder said, and goes through town underground. Changes in farming techniques over the years have increased the load that piping carries, putting extra pressure on already weakened tiles. Sluder suggested the village replace the 10-inch pipe with a 15-inch pipe and reroute the system to take the water directly to Bailey Creek, which is where it currently ends up anyway.
It costs the village $800 each time repairs are made to the tiles.
“This would be a cheaper solution for the taxpayer instead of us digging up through the middle of town (to make repeated repairs),” Sluder said.
“To get these small things squared away before we get the new sewer system will help in the long run.”
Village Inn update
Village attorney Bob Steele told trustees he had given the owner of the old Village Inn a deadline for taking care of the weeds running rampant on the property.
“They keep promising to do something but it’s not happening,” he said.
He recommended the board start cutting the grass and putting liens on the property.
Trustees were agreeable to that solution. Sluder said the village will find someone to take care of it.
“I’ve had a lot of complaints,” he said.
Amy Flanery can be reached at (815) 220-6975 or firstname.lastname@example.org.