GODFREY – Much like its neighboring community of Alton, the Village of Godfrey's board of trustees voted unanimously to approve the sale of its sewer system to Illinois American Water.

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This $13.25 million sale comes after representatives from Godfrey's sewer plant met with representatives of the federal government's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which required the village to do work on mandated sewer separation projects. Those projects, if done by the village, would have cost $12-$15 million. That extra expense would be passed along to village residents who would ultimately have seen their sewer rates and possibly their taxes increased to account for the sewer woes, Godfrey Mayor Mike McCormick said Thursday afternoon.

McCormick said under Illinois American Water, sewer rates may increase in the village, but not nearly at the rates they would without the purchase. He also said as much as $5 million from the sale will be placed into an account, which will accumulate interest, dedicated to offsetting a portion of residents' sewer rates, should the need for that assistance arise.

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“This has been in the works for three years,” McCormick said. “Actually, it will have been in the works for exactly three years this coming November. Some of the trustees were a bit hesitant to take the deal, but finally, after some negotiations in the 24th hour, five minutes before the vote, they decided it was a wise move to make, and we passed the deal unanimously.”

Support for the sale was echoed by Lewis and Clark Community College, which sent a letter of support to the village trustees signed by college President Dale Chapman, as well as Godfrey's largest employer, Beverly Farms. The Alton School District as well as Alton's Mayor Brant Walker, also submitted letters of support for the purchase.

Since the deal was approved, it is now going to the State of Illinois for approval – a process which may take as long as a year. Currently, Alton's $54 million-plus deal with Illinois American Water is pending in that process as well.

Until the deal is finalized, McCormick said the Village of Godfrey will continue work on the sewer system as if they would continue to own it. He said any work done, which is approved by engineers from Illinois American Water, will be upheld and the village will be reimbursed for their costs.

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