The water plant project involved 15-plus years of work from a number of trustees and Village officials. Rochester was involved for most of those discussions, but when it was time to vote to move forward, they had pulled out and signed a new long-term deal with Springfield CWLP. September 18, 2015
In other news from Tuesday’s meeting, McCarthy indicated that water leak detection services work on the Village’s distribution system has begun. And on the first day that M. E. Simpson was on the job, they found three leaks, including one that was leaking eight gallons a minute near a residence on Gloucester. November 13, 2015
The water/sewer rate changes vary from a 8.53 percent decrease (1,000 gallons used per month) to a 14.45 percent increase (5,000 gallons used). The electric and water/sewer rate increases were approved last month and take effect Aug. 1. August 3, 2015
“I don’t mean to be rude or short or anything, but yeah, we have a $33 million dollar plant,” Burke explained. “My concern is keeping that thing moving forward. I don’t go through the records checking on who authorized this and what did it cost us in 2009 or 2010. We got it, it’s here. I don’t know how you get rid of it. We’ve got bondholders that are gonna make sure we pay our bills. I’m moving forward and making it better. I’m not going back and pointing fingers.” September 18, 2015
•The joint Village Board-South Sangamon Water Commission meeting is set for Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 6 p.m. A change in venue is possible, as Mau said that Municipal Hall is not big enough. October 29, 2015
Nina Lindhorst agreed that the rate increase was necessary, adding, “I am very thankful for the community members that have been working with this water group to increase the quality of our water. They have been holding them accountable. Whatever we have to do as a board and a water commission, we need to continue to do that. “I don’t think enough has been said to that group (Water Quality Interest Group) that has pushed forward and said you need to provide better service for us,” Lindhorst continued. “We need to continue to let them have that input.” June 29, 2015
A few months ago, the Village of Chatham commissioned a firm to check for leaks in its water main system, and the results were staggering. January 15, 2016
Budget discussions have reached a fever pitch, and talks of cutting a police administrative position and dispatch services sparked contentious debate at Tuesday’s Chatham Village Board meeting. June 29, 2015
“It’s giving people the impression that we’re the cause of the water problems,” Schumer said. “The Village of Chatham and its plant have caused a chain reaction of events. The simple thing we are doing with testing hydrants to make sure we have fire protection for District residents has little to do with the chemical makeup of the water or the stirring of the stuff.” October 29, 2015
The Electric Fund shows a $21,620 surplus, but only if a recommended four percent increase in rates is implemented. Otherwise, that fund would have a $424,000 deficit. June 29, 2015
This is the passing of an era,” Mayor Tom Gray stated. “I can’t thank you enough Del for all your service to this community. I know how much you care about this community and the people here. You’ve always worked hard to make this a family place.” August 31, 2015
Currently, a green sand filter pilot study is being conducted. Future capital projects could involve purchasing the green sand filter ($1.3 million estimate) and possibly a new settling tank ($2.6 million). Those discussions are ongoing, and no final capital plan has been decided on.
September 7, 2015
Later, as public comment was coming to a close, trustee Ken Boyle stated, “There’s been a lot of focus on the police and dispatch, but we’re looking in a lot of other areas also. I don’t think we’ve fully vetted the process with looking at other areas, including technology and other departments. I don’t think this board is ready to rush through and pass a budget without discussions of some of these areas.” June 29, 2015
He questioned the Chatham Fire Department’s hydrant flushing system, explaining that the process should begin at the supply source (near the ground storage tank) and working your way in (bringing in fresh water as you flush).
The issue of utility bill payment grace periods, late penalties and shut off notices was brought up again. Village staff are working to come up with a comprehensive policy, one that is universal and covers all late payment issues October 22, 2015
A couple of residents brought water samples in, as a pungent smell has been reported in parts of town. The samples brought in had a very strong smell, to say the least.
“I was hoping that by now the communication between the SSWC and Village of Chatham would be improved,” stated Jewel Brant. “It just seems like it is not being accomplished. I would love to have him (Terry Burke) be here, or at least have updates be made available.” August 23, 2015
Residents repeatedly expressed concerns over water pressure issues in the northwest part of town, adding that this development would only make the situation worse. July 11, 2015
Electric and water rate increases took effect Aug. 1, and residents brought forward complaints ranging from bills nearly doubling in price, a limited time period to pay the bills, no grace period for late payments and no mercy in shutting off service, no payment plan for those who cannot afford the bills and need one and issues with Village staff members being rude or unprofessional in the Utility Office, to name a few. October 19, 2015
“There’s a lot of questions about improprieties and a lot of questions about cost overruns and how we got to that point,” Clayton stated. “How are we gonna narrow down that scope? That’s gonna be a challenge for us to work out with the auditors. I don’t think just looking at checks and seeing financial statements gives us a clear picture of what happened.” August 10, 2015
L November 13, 2015 ater, Boyle added, “How are we going to alleviate costs on our customers? In my view, this was sold as we need to have our own water and control our own destiny. But it has turned around and backfired on us. It’s a pipe dream that we will be able to continue to bring more customers in on this system. People are not going to come to Chatham to pay $500 utility bills. How is it going to continue to grow? Let’s stop beating a dead horse and stop beating around the bush.” November 13, 2015
But Clayton and trustees Ken Boyle and Nina Lindhorst were not pleased, lashing out against the SSWC. “We’ve heard theory after theory of why we have poor water quality,” Clayton stated. “We’ve heard about the additional costs it’s going to take to fix the water quality. The citizens are gonna bear that cost. We’re on year four and we still don’t have an explanation. I think it’s time we start exploring a strategic default on these bonds. I honestly think it would be cheaper to pay off the bonds, accept that loss and switch back to CWLP. I think we should open that up for discussion.” January 29, 2016
Springfield City, Water, Light and Power (CWLP) and the Village of Chatham agreed to a one-time, back-up water supplier agreement last Wednesday afternoon, the day after a boil order was issued by the South Sangamon Water Commission. November 13, 2015
“Well, I’m in charge of this process, and what I propose to do is have the trustees participate in an interview process in executive session,” Mayor Tom Gray responded. “I’m willing to post the job and get some candidates. I will solicit your input, but in the end, the decision rests with the Mayor.” July 27, 2015
The Clarion asked trustee Ken Boyle for an update on the Village Manager search. There has been speculation and reports put on social media regarding the situation, but nothing official has been made public by the Mayor or board. Boyle admitted that the search “has been postponed as of right now,” and that the matter would be discussed in closed session. No further comment was given. October 19, 2015
Resident Jewel Brant talked about the side effects the water, which she says testing has shown contains elevated levels of lead, copper, manganese and chlorine, is having. Reports of people having their hair fall out and enduring various skin maladies are being heard more and more, she indicated.