Hobart board approves additional sewer work
By Kevin Boneske
HOBART – After needing only slightly more than half of the budgeted amount for a sanitary sewer relining project in Indian Trails, the village board agreed June 1 to use some of the remaining funds to make additional sewer repairs.
Of the $160,000 budgeted, Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said Hobart received favorable pricing when the project was bid out and awarded for $87,357.
Of the more than $72,000 in savings, Kramer said the quote from Northern Pipe to make the additional repairs will use up $13,355.
“We did say at the time we’d come back, if there are other problems, and fix them now,” he said. “We knew we had some flexibility in the budget. Obviously, (Public Works Director) Jerry (Lancelle) went out and played with the (sewer televising) cameras and found enough fix-it jobs to spend the unallocated amount.”
Lancelle said additional problems were discovered through normal televising of the sanitary system.
“Unfortunately, we found more problems than I thought we would in here, because we do have a list of other manholes that we couldn’t look at and replace or rebuild, too, which we may throw in there under our regular maintenance items, also,” he said. “But these were the main ones found, and there were some serious leaks found in here that we’d really like to take care of. They add up really fast when we start doing the total inflow of what we’re sending down our sewers. It’s just groundwater.”
Kramer said the current combined inflow of groundwater going into Hobart’s sanitary sewer system is projected around 36,000 gallons a day, or more than 13 million gallons a year.
“It’s a lot of water that shouldn’t be going into our system…,” he said. “Eventually, that water comes back to us in the form of billed (sewer) treatment. There’s a cost savings down the road for this (repair work).”
Lancelle said groundwater is able to enter the sanitary sewer system through cracked pipes or leaky manholes.
“We’ll take a look at and go back on some of our old inspections,” he said. “If we can put together another list (of repairs), we’ll come back (to the board).”
Speed limit by parks
After a lengthy discussion, the board tabled action until June 15 on an ordinance to change the speed limit on certain roads near village parks.
The proposed ordinance called for adding a new 15-mph speed limit when children are present in the vicinity of Fontaine Family and Jan Wos parks.
“We have to actually redo the entire speed limit ordinance, because this was not an existing speed limit,” Kramer said. “It’s brand new in the Village of Hobart – 15 mph when children are present.”
In the speed zone, he said motorists could not exceed 15 mph if children are walking along the road within 100 feet of a park.
When board members asked why a road by Four Seasons Park wasn’t also included in the proposed ordinance, Kramer said it wasn’t recommended by the village’s Public Works and Utilities Advisory Committee.
“My recommendation is if you wanted to add that stretch (of Four Seasons Drive), we’d have to come back at the next meeting (June 15) with the ordinance in a new form,” he said.
After Lancelle said the village wouldn’t be able to obtain signs to change the speed limit by the other two parks until after June 15, the board agreed to table action to include the road by Four Seasons Park in the proposed ordinance.
The board approved an ordinance to amend the 90-day limit on trailers being used for dwelling purposes, with an extension able to be granted for emergency situations.
Kramer said the ordinance is in response to a recent house fire in the village where the family wanted to remain on the site while the home was being rebuilt.
“The insurance company agreed to provide an RV, but after 90 days they would have to get out,” he said.
Kramer said the ordinance added wording to state an extension may be requested by the property owner and granted by the police chief following board approval.
The board approved a resolution to maintain a special revenue fund to receive and account for any revenues the village may receive under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Kramer said the village expects to receive more than $1 million in ARPA grant funds in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We do know we’ve been warned multiple times there’s going to be very thorough reporting required, tracking of money, how it’s spent,” he said.
Kramer said the separate fund would prevent those dollars from going into the general fund, so ARPA funds wouldn’t affect the village’s overall budget or levy limits.
“It’s segregated,” he said. “It’s out there on its own, and then we can track every penny that comes out of it, plus the interest it earns, and eventually this fund would – assuming we don’t see these every year – it will eventually go away.”
Kramer said the village would be able to abolish the fund in the future, similar to what it did with the K9 fund.
The board also approved a special revenue fund for parks and recreation to account for revenues and expenditures related to park development, maintenance and recreational programming.
“You have a line item in your general fund where you receive park development fees,” Kramer said. “You always know what the dollar amount is, but at the end of the year, we kind of take that money out and put it into a segregated account. Well, this (special revenue fund) eliminates that step.”
Kramer said the village receives park development and maintenance funds from a variety of sources – including grants, donations and development fees – that will now go into the special revenue fund.
Editor’s note: To read the story on a Hobart residential development, CLICK HERE.