Home News Oswego approves agreement on Lake Michigan water costs

Oswego approves agreement on Lake Michigan water costs


The Oswego Village Board recently approved an intergovernmental agreement with Yorkville and Montgomery that will establish the shared costs associated with bringing Lake Michigan water to the three communities.

“Dealing with the two communities has been pleasant. We have gotten together and have had reasonable conversations,” Oswego Village President Ryan Kauffman said.

Overall, the projected costs for bringing Lake Michigan water through the DuPage Water Commission to the three towns has increased from an estimated $161 million in 2021 to $258 million due primarily to inflationary construction costs, officials from the towns said in a joint statement.

The three communities decided in December 2021 to begin preparations to transition to Lake Michigan water obtained through the DuPage Water Commission as the future water source for the towns, at which time “the clock started ticking” to determine how they would share the costs for the project.

“This intergovernmental agreement is a long time coming after many years of discussions with our partners Yorkville and Montgomery,” Oswego Village Administrator Dan Di Santo told Oswego trustees. “The basic premise was that if any one of us were to go to the DuPage Water Commission on our own, it would be much more expensive than it would if the three communities partnered together.”

From day one, it was apparent “whatever deal we strike, the communities would benefit because it would be more economical as partners,” Di Santo explained.

Oswego began looking into the feasibility of Lake Michigan water around 2017, with multiple engineers gathering the costs for such a project.

Studies based on use put Oswego paying “a heavy portion” of the overall cost because it was the “highest user” of water, according to projections. In 2021, another study was done to base costs on distance to the DuPage Water Commission’s closest connection point, which is in Naperville. Oswego and Montgomery had “a great benefit” in this scenario since they are closer to the DuPage Water Commission connection point, while Yorkville’s estimates for costs were higher in this regard since the community is the furthest away.

“We always knew that this would be negotiated,” Di Santo said of how to share the costs of the project. “It worked out just that way. We had two different options to split the costs.”

The mayors and members of the villages’ administrations sat down last July and in recent weeks to discuss the costs and consider the frameworks based on use and distance from the connection point, Di Santo said.

“Ultimately, we believe that the fairest way is an average of the two, the use and distance methods,” Di Santo said.

The conclusion was for Oswego to fund $92.3 million of the project, Montgomery $63.6 million and Yorkville $102.3 million, according to the joint statement.

The calculation considers that Oswego will likely have the greater population and therefore be the heaviest user of the water system, with Yorkville the second heaviest user and Montgomery using the least amount of water. The cost allocation further gives consideration to Montgomery for being the closest to the existing DuPage Water Commission system endpoint in Naperville, Oswego for being at the middle distance and Yorkville being the farthest away, according to the statement.

The Montgomery and Yorkville boards approved the intergovernmental agreement earlier this month.

The next shared agreement – to formally join the DuPage Water Commission and establish a construction funding agreement – is due later this summer or fall, according to officials from the three towns.

Linda Girardi is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News. 

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