SHOREWOOD – Mayor Rick Chapman told more than 70 Shorewood business and community leaders the village potentially faces the most important issue of the century.
Chapman discussed the village's long-term water issues at his annual State of the Village address Tuesday afternoon at the Troy Township building. The village's plan is to secure Lake Michigan water for future generations.
"There's an efficient quantity, super high-quality ... and it's a sustainable supply," Chapman said at the address hosted by the Shorewood Area Chamber of Commerce.
The village is putting a referendum question on the April 7 ballot, asking residents to vote on giving Shorewood home-rule taxing authority, in an effort to increase sales taxes to pay for a pipeline to Lake Michigan.
Chapman said it could cost much more to drill for water in the coming decades because Shorewood is located above the deepest part of the local aquifer.
"It's not dire. It's not going to run out in 10 years," he said. "We chose to be proactive."
During his address, Chapman noted the importance of Shorewood businesses, highlighting that sales tax accounts for half of the village's revenue streams.
Chapman said the village is budgeting sales tax revenue conservatively in case Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly follow through on Rauner's plan to take half of the state income taxes that go to municipalities.
He also recognized several of the village's 35 new businesses and those that have completed renovations.
Chapman was excited about additions to the Heartland Corporate Center, plans to revitalize Crossroads Plaza and other development around Route 59 and Jefferson Street, as well as a one-year contract with retail strategist The Retail Coach to create a strategic recruitment plan.
He also noted increases in new homes and building permits, including home renovations.
Capital improvement projects
Chapman reviewed construction projects completed last year, including the $1.6 million installation of Route 59 street lighting; $150,000 in lighting and pavement improvements in the Saddlebrook subdivision; and $700,000 in infrastructure improvements for the Edgewater subdivision.
He also said work on the new 4.5-acre Wynstone Park will progress in 2015, but funding issues remain because the state is holding a grant. Also, construction has started on the 1.5 million gallon Mound Road water tower.
Chamber President Kim Lamansky said businesses should see the address as an example of the village's focus on economic development.
"If businesses want to grow, they have to invest themselves to bring more business," Lamansky said, adding that she thought Chapman was forthright about Shorewood's potential water issues.
• Secure Lake Michigan water
• Conservatively budget to anticipate state-level budget decisions
• Progress on Mound Road water tower project
• Develop the recreational Wynstone Park