The village council passed a resolution Monday night to establish a flood prevention grant program in Forest Park that would offer financial aid to homeowners looking to update their plumbing with backflow protection.
After experiencing major flood damage over the summer, many residents found out the hard way that sewage can get backed up in the basement during heavy rains.
“So many homes within the village were impacted by the floods…and we recognize that in some cases, a flood prevention system would have helped mitigate the damage caused,” said Tim Gillian, village administrator. “This is the village’s effort to assist our residents to the small extent that we can.”
In order to prevent this kind of sewage back up in homes, plumbers can install either an overhead sewer, backflow prevention valve or a lift station.
With the Home Flood-Proofing Assistance Program, qualifying homeowners who wish to have one of these systems installed will receive a reimbursement for 50 percent of the cost, up to a maximum grant of $1,500. Low income households under Cook County’s Department of Housing and Urban Development standards will be reimbursed for 75 percent, up to $2,000 toward the cost. The fees of the construction permits required by the village will also be waived.
As of now, there is no estimated price tag on the program, which is set to begin on May 1, the start of the next fiscal year.
“We intentionally left [funding] vague or gray because we really won’t know what will be available then,” said Gillian, who noted that several large snowstorms, for example, could alter the funds available. “If we can find the money, then we can fund it to the extent that we can. …It will be up for our funding hearings in the spring.”
Public Property Commissioner Martin Tellalian expressed some doubt about the program at the village council meeting, saying “we should give it a little more thought,” but ultimately voted to approve the resolution.
Residents who wish to apply will need to find their own contractor and receive at least two quotes for the work to be performed. Grant applications must then be submitted to the village by Feb. 15. After review and approval by the village, aid will be doled out on a first come, first serve basis.
Homeowners with damaged property after the summer floods also have until Oct. 18 to apply for federal disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency by logging online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
“Time is running out,” said Mayor Anthony Calderone. “From everyone that I’ve heard from, FEMA has been very responsive. I’m just hoping that every eligible homeowner can take advantage.”