Thomas Matthew, better known as TP Matthews, has been in the business of operating private water companies for decades.
One of those companies served my Manor Road State Representative office.
With the unincorporated Lake in the Hills subdivision being threatened by the Village Board with discontinuance of water from the village, he sent the following letter to Northwest Herald reporter
Ed Komenda on April 11th:
Letter to Northwest Herald reporter Ed Komenda
I wish to respond and comment on the L.I.T.H. water system issue article that was published April 11, 2018.
It is my experience that the customers have several alternatives to pursue for water utility service at a reasonable cost.
The options in random order would be as follows:
1. For the Village to reorganize the water system department and operation by employing an honest, capable and competent group, or company to work in the best interest of the customers. Without any interference from any corrupt individuals who would add unnecessary and unconscionable fees and expenses to the project.
2. Employ an experienced, honest capable and competent manager to employ and manage competent technicians for “in-house” maintenance and repairs, for reasonable expense.
3. For the residents to organize a water utility district, similar to the sanitary district, to operate and fund the water system for prudent maintenance and operation. It is my experience that Attorney James Kelly of Crystal Lake is acquainted with this procedure. A water district organization, without political interference, could be a very good solution.
In regards to information reported in the article, it is my experience that the existing pipes are not obsolete and should have an indefinite useful life. There may be other reasons to replace a type of pipe, but it’s not due to being obsolete.
I believe the information in the article, should be investigated and confirmed as being accurate. It is my experience, of using and maintaining several thousands of feet of this type of pipe that there should not be any problem with flushing. The manufacture allegedly will test each piece of pipe for 550 pounds plus a designated number at 1100 pounds for quality control. The pipe is not subject to electrolysis, acids found in the soils and rust.
In regards to the reported cost of repairs at $4,300, it is my experience that most repairs have been made by the company’s technicians at a cost of $550 to $1250 including pipe repair clamps.
If the Village does not wish to own and maintain its own water utility system, an option could be that the Township with the assets, equipment and organization could establish and operate the water utility system for the benefit of its taxpayers.
As mentioned earlier, the customers could form and organize their own water district and operate the system with professional help and a reasonable cost.
The Monday before last, Mathews sent the following letter to Village President Russ Ruzanski:
Re: Sale of Water Utility, best interest of your citizens
Dear Mr. Ruzanski,
In reading the Northwest Harold article this morning, I am compelled to respond that the action of you and your trustees are to be in the best interest of your citizens.
Your citizens have been supporting the Village operation, programs and their fellow citizens through their real estate taxes, motor fuel taxes, plus other taxes and fees for the common benefit of all their fellow citizens.
The citizens have furnished employment, knowledge and expertise in the development, maintenance and support, of all community functions.
The existing problem, allegedly may be the result of 50 years of negligence, mismanagement, incompetency and other issues not under your control or administration.
However, the task of correcting the situation in an intelligent and prudent manner for the area in question as well as the entire community now depends upon your guidance and action.
In my letter of April 11, 2018, you may wish to pursue option #3 and assist the residents in forming a water utility district, where they would have the option to own and manage the water utility facilities to their own best advantage.
A water district would have the advantage to borrow low interest rate funds from the IEPA for improvements that would allow for the lowest and most reasonable rates.
The conditions now existing in that part of the system should have been corrected during the last 50 years.
It is unreasonable and unconscionable that they have been allowed to exist, when there have been technicians and materials, all locally available to correct the situation.
Mr. Ruzanski, you could certainly exhibit good and strong leadership in supporting the citizen to resolve this matter in an intelligent and prudent manner, for the best service at the lowest rates.
Having experienced somewhat similar situations in other cities and Villages, I believe it is an important to safeguard against political interference.
If I can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to call.
= = = = =
The LITH Village Board will meet at 7:30 on Thursday at Village Hall to consider the issue.