After roughly a year and a half of waiting, the Village of West Salem saw its plan to replace all of its two and four-inch waterlines come to a screeching halt.

The village’s board of trustees voted to apply for a loan offered by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to cover the cost of the project during the summer of 2019. With the loan came the potential for forgiveness of up to 75 percent of the loan, which would have also come with an interest rate of just one percent as well.

After being tentatively approved for the loan in the spring of 2020, the village received official confirmation of the loan approval from the Illinois EPA this month. However, as Village Treasurer Kim Carlson informed the board during their January regular session Monday night, not all of the news regarding the loan was good.

“We got a letter from the Illinois EPA and we were approved for the waterline loan,” said Carlson. “It was about $840,000.

“But with zero forgiveness.”

Without the forgiveness, the village would be left to pay the entirety of the loan off in either a 20 or 30 year span, something Carlson noted wasn’t feasible for the municipality’s finances.

“(That) is not doable, of course” she stated. “I think we all knew that going in.

“It was kind of a surprise to (Village Engineer) Mike Bridges and to all of us that it went down this way.”

For the rest of the story, check out this week's Navigator.