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Village, country club negotiate water rate in Glen Ellyn annexation talks

Published: Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 12:02 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:43 a.m. CDT

GLEN ELLYN – After a decade of discussion, the Glen Oak Country Club and the village of Glen Ellyn are close to reaching an agreement that will annex part of the club's property in exchange for access to the village's water system.

Glen Oak is not interested in bringing all its land within village boundaries. However, the agreement would annex a parking lot and a parcel of land near Hill and Golf avenues, as well as a 300-foot-wide strip of land that would establish the village boundaries at the Prairie Path and industrial properties along Hill Avenue. This would allow Glen Ellyn to extend its water main from Hill and Cumnor avenues to Hill and Golf.

While village staff and Glen Oak representatives have worked through many issues brought forward since 2004, the club is now seeking to pay a water rate that is 105 percent of the resident rate, as opposed to the nonresident rate of 150 percent, said Staci Hulseberg, director of planning and development for the village.

That would save Glen Oak about $25,000 annually, Hulseberg said.

Staff are concerned making the rate exception could lead to other property owners seeking individual rates when being annexed in the future.

"That may make it difficult for the village to grow our boundaries through annexation, because, really, what you can do is narrowly define a special water rate for practically any user, so it really does open the door that we're going to be dealing with this, probably, request from other users," Hulseberg said.

Having access to Glen Ellyn's Lake Michigan water supply would help Glen Oak improve its water quality and fire sprinkler volume and pressure, but the draft agreement provides benefits to the village as well, requiring the country club to pay taxes as if the whole property were part of Glen Ellyn and giving the village authority over future land use.

"Glen Oak believes because the village is realizing a lot of the improvements, a lot of the benefits that they would otherwise accrue if the entire club were annexed to the village, that we should have some consideration of giving something closer to resident rates for the sewer and water," said Randy Bus, a member of the Glen Oak planning committee.

But Hulseberg said the tax item was included in the agreement in exchange for Glen Ellyn's consideration of the unusual request to annex only a portion of the country club property.

Glen Oak has the option to have its entire property annexed at any time.

Staff brought the proposed annexation agreement to the Glen Ellyn Village Board of Trustees on Jan. 13.

Trustee Diane McGinley said she agreed with staff about the dangers of giving the country club its own unique water rate and instead suggested the possibility of offering Glen Oak a rebate on its retail occupation and home-rule sales occupation taxes to equal the difference between the resident and nonresident water rates.

"We are reaping a lot of benefits from them picking up a lot of expenses," McGinley said.

While trustee Tim Elliott said he wasn't sure if paying only 105 percent of the resident rate would be appropriate, he was comfortable allowing the club to pay a special rate that is less than the nonresident rate, based on the uniqueness of the situation.

The Village Board directed staff to explore these two options as part of the annexation agreement, which would last for 20 years, with the option to renew.

"We can take some time to weigh both options, now that both a rebate and a discount option's on the table," said Village President Alex Demos.

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