Frequently Asked Questions

The Lake Michigan Water Project provides a long-term, sustainable source of drinking water to more than 11,000 properties. These properties were previously served by well water, which cannot be sustained for much longer. As project phases are completed, wells are being decommissioned and Lake Michigan water is being introduced.

The project is funded through a Special Service Area, which means property owners benefited by the project will share the cost of improvements.

Q: My property tax bill includes a line "Lake County Special Service Area 16", what does this mean?
A: This means your property will benefit by the Lake Michigan Water Project. All property owners in the Special Assessment Area share the cost of these improvements. The value is paid over time and the tax for SSA#16 will be levied for a period of 30 years, until 2037.
Q: What is a Special Service Area (SSA)?
A: Illinois state law provides for the creation of Special Service Areas when necessary public improvements will benefit certain property owners. The value of the improvements is spread across property owners for a specified length of time. Individual properties are billed according to their assessed value. If your property value is higher than your neighbor's, you will pay a higher SSA cost, just like other tax bill line items.
Q: Will my property taxes increase because of SSA#16?
A: If your property falls within the SSA#16 area, you are paying the applicable taxes. The value of the tax for an individual property is expected to remain steady. The estimated cost is $250/year for a $200,000 home.
Q: What happens to the SSA obligation when I try to sell my house?
A: The SSA tax will be included on the regular annual property tax bill. It is not an individual loan. It stays on the property tax bill until the bonds are retired.
Q: Who is impacted by this project?
A: More than 11,000 properties will benefit from a long-term, sustainable source of drinking water. A map has been prepared showing the boundary of affected properties.
Q: How much will this project cost?
A: The estimated project cost is $43 million and the maximum value of $46 million will allow the maximum flexibility in the bonding. Total costs of the project will be known after project completion. The cost of the project will be shared by all property owners benefiting from the improvements.
Q: How long will this tax be collected?
A: The SSA#16 tax will be levied for 30 years until 2037.
Q: Can I prepay the SSA cost?
A: Prepayment of a taxpayer's portion of the SSA is not possible.