The Village of Forest Park has assistance money available to if you choose to install a flood prevention system in your home.

The only catch: you need to have applied for it in January.

The village’s flood remediation grant program is linked to the January budget process, said Village Administrator Tim Gillian. Flood season and grant season don’t match up, he acknowledged.

Since 2010 the village has doled out $70,000 in grants for residents to put in flood prevention systems such as indoor or outdoor lift-station systems, back-flow prevention valves and overhead sewer systems. But residents had to be far sighted enough to plan ahead in November through January to take advantage of the grants.

“People received the notice in their November water bill,” Gillian said. “They have from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15 to apply and a year to do the work,” he said.

The Home Flood-Proofing Assistance Program is limited to owner-occupied single-family and two-flat dwellings. Qualifying applications are reimbursed first-come first-served for 50 percent of the cost of installation of an approved system up to $1,500 (or $2,000 maximum for low-income households.)

Homeowners must submit two estimates from qualified, licensed contractors. After the project is complete, homeowners submit a waiver of lien and paid receipt to receive the funds.

Gillian said the program received lots of interest after the 2010 and 2011 flooding events. But last January there was not much interest.

“I think we only got five applications. It didn’t really rain that badly last summer,” Gillian said.

Unfortunately, the village is not able to retroactively reimburse residents who put in a system this summer and ask for a grant to cover it, Gillian said. Gillian blames that on the timing of the budget process.

“We put a timeline of January to February so we can get a notion of what we should budget,” he said. “People had an entire year, if they thought ahead, to fill out the application and get the work done.”

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...