Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The list of the residents forced by the City of HP to pay more than $237,000...

In response to yesterday's blog, we were contacted by several people who asked questions such as "how do I know whether my parents had to pay and need reimbursement?" and "how do I know whether, or how soon, the City of Highland Park will send me 'the letter' demanding payment?"  Additionally, another reader wanted to know who the people are that already paid, and how much.  In essence, the question is, who are the people who have already suffered this financial injury and are they friends of mine?

We can't say when the City of Highland Park will take the Sewer Program off of "hiatus" and put it on your street again. We can only say it remains a viable program, one that Councilman Mandel recently referred to as "huge success."    We haven't heard anything from Mayor Rotering or any other councilman to confirm they will propose to terminate the program "as is" and take another look to develop a program in which the financial burden for improving City infrastructure is placed on the City.  So, it appears more likely than not, at this time, that the Sewer Program will raise its ugly face sooner rather than later, and, individual residents will continue to bear the burden of improving the community's infrastructure.  

EVERYONE who has ever had their sanitary line rodded for tree roots, or who should have this done, is at risk of getting "the letter" that will most likely cost you a minimum of $4,500 for a line on a small lot to $20,000+ for larger properties with deeper lots.  The definition of a broken sanitary lateral line in need of repair, according to City Hall, is any line that has ever been rodded for tree roots or that has tree roots. Given the fact that Highland Park is a Tree City and our parkways are usually beautifully planted with trees, chances are that you will eventually receive "the letter."  When?  Probably when it is least convenient for you, such as when you're selling the house, or you're ready to pay your children's tuition, or you're just about to retire.

Of course, you can prevent this scenario by contacting Mayor Rotering and all the Councilmen and telling them in no uncertain terms that this must stop -- that the  City must pay for improvements to storm and sanitary sewer infrastructure.

The group first targeted in the Sewer Program is revealed in today's blog in the Invoice List the City of Highland Park provided to us in response to the FOIA request.  (Finally figured out a way to post some documents on this blog.  It will be too small to read initially, but if you click on the page, it will expand, with a further opportunity to zoom in on it.)

You'll see friends, neighbors, former neighbors, maybe family, and see how residents were chosen from various neighborhoods.  It's hard to know why an entire neighborhood wasn't addressed at any time -- perhaps it is easier to shove "the Code" down residents' throats if you don't concentrate them into a viable group.

In talking with some of the people on this list, we've found people who have said "why did they choose my home, but not the home down the street where they have to use special toilet paper because their sanitary line is really broken?"  They think the other home has been entirely skipped. To which we reply,  the neighbor just wasn't targeted in this wave.  The City will be back for them.

Did the City choose a handful of residences in one neighbor and then a handful of residents in another neighborhood, rather than just improving a single neighborhood at a time, in an effort to "divide and conquer" the residents?  We really don't know, as we haven't seen any documentation, nor has anyone interviewed City Hall about this.  Unfortunately, we suppose it is possible...perhaps time will tell.

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