Homeowners in Winchester who are currently not on a city sewer line could soon have one in the next year.
In October, the city council was told of a State of Illinois grant available to communities who are completely unsewered and those communities who still have areas within city limits who are still on septic systems. Winchester falls into the latter category.
The 100% construction grant through the Rebuild Illinois Program would cover the construction costs for the city if they are approved. The city only has to pay for engineering and design fees. Mayor Rex Mclintire says that the city would be developing the northwest portion of the city with the new sewer and get many folks off of septic services: “I signed off on a permit application with the EPA on the 19th of November, and they submitted that, and as of right now, it’s just a waiting game. They have to finish their plans and everything like that, and hopefully we’ll get the permit, and we can submit that with it, but even if we don’t, we’re still going to submit it by the end of December. Now, there is $20 million for 5 years, consecutive years, so if we don’t get it this year, we got a good shot at getting it maybe in subsequent years. We just thought it was worth the shot, and the thing is we’re going to develop that property eventually. This was a way we could maybe get 100% of the construction [funded], and we were going to have to pay for the engineering cost anyhow, so we thought it was well worth the risk.”
The city is paying for the design portion out of the city’s TIF fund. The costliest portion of the project would be the construction of a lift station, but it would remove the residents in that portion of the city from septic services. Benton & Associates Engineer, Greg Hillis, told the city that he’s hoping to have the state review permits and have paperwork signatures ready to go before December 31st, which is the deadline for submission to the grant program.