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McHenry hires firm to study future growth, water system needs

Derik Morefield, left, and Mayor Wayne Jett perform their duties during a McHenry City Council meeting on Monday, April 15, 2019 in McHenry.
Derik Morefield, left, and Mayor Wayne Jett perform their duties during a McHenry City Council meeting on Monday, April 15, 2019 in McHenry.

McHenry is considering how expected population growth could impact the city’s infrastructure.

McHenry City Council has hired a civil engineering firm to study its water and wastewater treatment capital development needs in light of new construction at long-stalled housing developments. The city will pay Crystal Lake-based Baxter and Woodman $58,500 to complete the study, according to city documents.

The study will aim to help city officials get a better idea of how much to charge developers in impact fees to offset the effect new residents will have on the city’s water infrastructure.

The city agreed last fall to reduce its impact fees by 50% for home developers in multiple stalled complexes including the Oaks of Irish Prairie, Legend Lakes, Liberty Trails, Lincoln Hills and Patriot Estates.

The decision was made in an effort to spur development. McHenry since has issued more than 30 building permits for single family homes in those five areas, according to city documents.

“The study will evaluate costs attributable to new development and help inform decisions about the amount new development should pay to ensure ‘growth-pays-for-growth’ in a fair and equitable manner,” Baxter and Woodman wrote in its bid document.

The city last completed a similar study in 2005. McHenry had a population of 21,501 in 2000. It had 26,730 residents by 2017, according to United States Census Bureau estimates.

Baxter and Woodman engineers will review the size and capacity of McHenry’s existing water supply, treatment, storage, wastewater treatment facilities, lift stations and wells, according to city documents. They also will develop a system inventory, determine whether that existing inventory can meet future demand and calculate what improvements would be needed to meet that future demand if existing infrastructure isn’t enough.

Baxter and Woodman also will determine what any expansions or system modifications would cost, according to city documents.

The firm is expected to deliver the results of the study by August, according to city documents.

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