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La Grange board asks for residents' input on flooding

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 5:14 p.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 3:21 p.m. CST
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(Kristin Pedicini - kpedicini@shawmedia.com)
Residents filled Village Hall Monday for the Village Board's discussion on the recent flooding in town.

LA GRANGE – In light of the immense floods after the Aug. 22 rainfall, the Village Board held a discussion at its most recent meeting Monday to hear the public's concerns, questions and opinions.

In the meeting – held at Village Hall – residents spoke out asking the board for fast action and to begin to find a solution for the floods in town.

"We're going to need all the brain power of residents and consultants on our team to find answers," Livingston said. "We have to tackle this as a community."

While many residents can return home to "relative normalcy," many are still cleaning up after the flood and facing large financial expenses because of the flood, according to Livingston. He said the village has to aggressively seek a solution.

"At the end of the day, we cannot have what happened happen again," Livingston said.

Before residents spoke and voiced their concerns, trustees addressed the public on what they'd like hear about.

Trustee David McCarty said he wanted to know how badly the residents want a solution for the flooding issues.

"I'm also interested to hear, what is it worth," McCarty said. "It's going to cost money to fix these problems. We had an initial estimates of $40,000. What is it worth to have these problems fixed and how quickly do we fix them?"

As it stands right now with the current tax bill, about $1,500 of the average household's taxes go to the village, according to McCarty.

Mike Matteucci, a resident at Spring Avenue and 50th Street, spoke to the board on behalf of a large group of neighbors. Matteucci began by thanking the trustees and President Livingston who came out to the intersection to witness the flood's aftermath.

"You really can't appreciate how devastating it is until you're there," Matteucci said. "And until you see that every house has a dumpster in front of it."

In this last storm, basements were filled to the ceiling with water, while outside the water was high enough to cover two-thirds of the street signs, according to Matteucci.

"The most affected areas need to be focused on first," Matteucci said. "It wasn't minor ... These major fixes are expensive, but it must be done."

In his comments to the board, Matteucci said his area, at 50th Street and Spring Avenue, is constantly hit the hardest. He said that he'd be willing to pay higher taxes, but there's also the option of putting bonds in place.

Although there is no easy solution, the residents are looking for immediate action from the board, according to Matteucci.

"We're looking to find out how soon we can get this because it's going to rain again," Matteucci said. "It's going to rain hard again even if we start [work] tomorrow. Every moment counts."

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Next Step:

The board will be discussing the village's budget during the Sept. 8 meeting, with a discussion on the Capital Budget during the Sept. 22 meeting.

"We're going to need a lot of you when it comes to form a budget," Livingston said.

Meeting agendas can be accessed online at www.villageoflagrange.com.

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