Village of Wonder Lake Criticized for Planning to Force Current Residents to Subsidize Huge New Subdivision

Former Wonder Lake Water Company Owner Tom Mathews sent the following letter to the Illinois EPA:

Heidi Allen
Pre-Construction Unit Manager
Infrastructure Financial Assistance Section
Bureau of Water

Reference: Serious Objection & Response to IEPA Loan Project # L175447

Dear Ms. Allen,

As an interested party, and former owner and operator of all the subject water companies, for 40 years, I must respond to address and correct erroneous information plus unsupported facts for objectionable rates.

I am well versed in the construction, maintenance and operation of wells and distribution systems as I built my first utility system in 1960 from the ground up, which included the trenching and lying of water main, establishing services for each parcels in the new development, supervising and paying for a 75,000 gallon water storage structure 120 feet in
height.

All of the above was approved and permitted by the Illinois Health Department and the Illinois ICC.

Additionally, the well had its own permit where I personally supervised the construction and installation of a 15 horsepower pressure pump, with necessary controls and chemical feeder.

I became a licensed operator and operated the system for more than 40 years while subsequently purchasing 4 other utility systems.

In addition to owning and operating 5 water utility systems, I advanced and fortified my knowledge and skills by attending numerous seminars and conferences sponsored by vendors, equipment manufacturers, engineers, IEPA and ICC.

The subject matter of this application and program is the water system serving the East side of Wonder Lake supplying customers in Wooded Shores, St. Francis Heights, Oakwood Heights, Parker’s Highlands and Spring Creek, which is mostly outside the Village limits.

It is important to note that I have been a real estate developer, sub divider, and sales agent in and for several subdivisions.

As a developer I built and supervised the Eastside system to initially serve my Oakwood Shores subdivision of 97 home sites; all of which, as developer I paid for myself.

Subsequently, Parker’s Highlands’s subdivision and Spring Creek was added to the system under the main extension rule, with the cost of each being paid by the developer.

Allegedly, in the present situation the Village together with the NRB developers is proposing to place the burden of expense for the new NRB development of 1100 acres on the existing water company customers, which is objectionable and unconscionable.

I understand the developer, NRB, has suffered a delay in completion in sales due to the economy, however that should not be an ethical and legal reason to pass on the cost of building a new well and distribution system historically paid by the developer.

The Rate Structure

Before addressing the proposed rate I would like to address my previous concerns which were buried to the disadvantage of our citizens.

When I sold the Highland Shores Water Company it was and continues to be outside the Village limits, allegedly, as such the Village became an investor and was subject to hearings concerning rates and other statues.

Allegedly, the Village ignored the statutory regulations and rules and charged a higher rate, and avoided submitting an annual report to exhibit and justifies expenses.

It is alleged that the Village Administration has been negligent and incapable of operating the water companies in an efficient and economic manner. It is further alleged that they have been incapable of understanding and applying professional advice from paid consultants and vendors, and have used gag orders against inquiries.

I’m requesting the US Department of Justice with assistance from the FBI and IRS use
discovery and depositions to investigate the last 20 years to report on any civil or criminal
violations.

Source of Loan Repayment.

It is both objectionable and unconscionable that Tony Topf, President of the Village, and his administration should suggest that the amount of $41.80 for water company customers both inside and outside the Village.

The average cost per customer of the water system if operated honestly and efficiently should not exceed $27.70. Previously the average bill for several years was $18 a month.

The projected cost of $59.80 is entirely beyond reason and proof of necessary operating cost.

The number of customers indicates that the entire burden of construction would be placed on existing customers, without considering up to 3500 new customers.

When I sold the water systems to the Village, each home had a water meter. Instead of continuing to read the meters the Village changed the procedure to bill a flat rate to the disadvantage of many retired low volume users.

Also, it’s reported by regulatory agencies that an unmetered flat rate contributed to the waste of water.

Allegedly the proposed monthly water usage charge should be $27.70 and not $59.80.

Allegedly, the median household income of the existing water company customers is less than $71,719

Drilling of new wells

It is important that the administration seek a location by test wells, to find an adequate source of good quality water.

Allegedly in the past, wells have been purchased at random sites with an insufficient supply causing thousands of dollars to solve problems in an attempt to increase the capacity.

This is another example of the administration and their vendors not doing an intelligent, efficient and economical job.

Allegedly the ground water storage tank and service equipment to provide service protection would be an unconscionable and huge burden on the water company users; while providing annuity and lifetime retirement program to the engineers, service people, needed to maintain that type of system.

Allegedly, a better system would be an elevated tank of 150,000 gallons 1220 feet to the bowl.

The alternative might be a standpipe of the same volume and height.

In no case should ground level storage be considered such as the 2 existing concrete storage facilities which are cracked and patched.

Both storage facilities have the added cost and maintenance of generators and high pressure pumps which must be serviced daily and are subject to the electric meter charge of high demand.

Size of the Water Main

It is my experience that while a 12 inch main might be considered for a main supply, much of the system would require smaller mains to avoid stagnant water and unnecessary flushing.

Allegedly, you may consider this a long response; however my past experienced during the last 20 years is that allegedly there has been serious political influence on the Wonder Lake matters with allegedly, the Illinois Attorney General the ICC and the IEPA.

Allegedly and reportedly, patronage soldiers have been included in the various agencies to pursue the agendas of the 920 contributors to the political organization managed by Michael Madigan.

Additionally, others of influence and clout allegedly have interfered and interrupted the honest and orderly of regulatory agencies.

The US Department of Justice Taskforce will be requested to investigate these matters as the unjustified consequences delivers pain and suffering on not just 1 citizen but tens of thousands of citizens.

I’m available 24/7 to talk or meet with a Taskforce investigator.


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