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$15 Million Pinecrest Water Bond Referendum Benefits Few at the Expense of Many

Dear Neighbor,

As a Village resident for over 40 years, I have regularly paid great attention to actions taken by our community leaders.

In early March, Pinecrest residents will vote by mail on a referendum asking us to approve a tax increase to pay for $15 million in bonds to extend water lines throughout the Village. This would be the Village’s largest biggest bond issue ever, amounting to more than half our annual budget. The owner of a home assessed for taxes at the $687,200 median value would pay $158 per year, for 20 years. If property taxes increase, your payments would also increase. If costs exceed $15 million, the Village may need to dip into our pockets again for more funding.

I have concluded that this tax scheme is ill-conceived and unfair. Therefore, I urge you to vote against the tax increase by marking Against Bonds on the ballot.

Most strikingly, if the bond is approved, some 87 percent of Village property owners already on County water would see a tax increase yet receive no direct benefit.

The bond would pay to extend water lines to 742 properties presently served by wells, mostly acre estates on the east side of the Village. A survey some years ago showed that enthusiasm for switching from wells was far from unanimous.

Owners of an additional 580 properties with access to County water have chosen to continue using well water. For this group, a 10-year County hook-up moratorium is expiring. Within months, they will need to connect to County water at their own expense even as they absorb the referendum-mandated tax increase to extend lines to others should the referendum pass.

In the past few years, nearly 200 homebuilders and property-owners who wanted water service from the County have paid to extend the lines themselves, including payment of a water impact fee. Some have extended the line at considerable expense past other property owners who have chosen not to connect. Despite going the extra mile to get County water, these property-owners would also pay higher taxes if the referendum passes.

As the water utility for the Village, the County owns all the lines, provides the water, and collects all future water revenue. It is the County’s responsibility to fund the expansion of the water lines which it will own and operate. Essentially, we would be giving a gift to the County.

For years, the County has deflected our Village Council’s requests to finish its water lines and add fire hydrants that meet the County’s own fire service standards.

Does the County or those people without County Water deserve our gift for its intransigence? I think not.

John Steinbauer, Pinecrest Resident. john@steinbauer.com.

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