By Jean Lotus
The village of Forest Park's plan to help residents install home flood prevention systems has not been terribly successful, admitted Village Administrator Tim Gillian.
Part of the reason is that the village takes requests in January when the budget process is being hammered out.
"Residents have to sign up for assistance in the first weeks of January and February because of how we create the budget," Gillian said. Gillian said a notice goes out in November water bills reminding residents they can sign up for grants.
The village will contribute up to $1,500 to residents who wish to install flooding protection systems in their homes including check valves, indoor/outdoor lift stations, French drains, tile systems or overhead sewer systems.
These systems can run in the tens-of-thousands of dollars, depending on the scope and fix installed.
Demand has tapered, Gillian said, so the village reduced the amount appropriated for resident relief from $40,000 in 2012 to $16,000 this year.
"We try to get an idea going into the year what the interest is," Gillian said. In 2013 only five people had applied for the grants.
The Home Flood-Proofing Assistance Program is available only to owner-occupied single-family homes and two-flats. Qualifying applications are reimbursed first-come first-served for 50 percent of the cost of installation of an approved system (up to $1,500).
Property owners need to submit two estimates from qualified and licensed contractors. They are paid once work is completed.
The village will not retroactively reimburse for work done the previous year.