Residents of a rural Tazewell County subdivision will get to decide again whether a multi-million-dollar road repair project should move ahead at their expense.

At a public hearing Monday night, one resident of the Heritage Lakes community said she plans to circulate a petition to stop the project that residents and the County Board approved this spring.

A reversal of that decision seems unlikely, County Board Chairman David Zimmerman said Tuesday, even though the project will cost homeowners up to $715 a year over the next two decades.

An estimated 90 percent of residents who voted on the issue approved the project, which the board also unanimously approved, Zimmerman said.

The project objector, whom Zimmerman didn’t identify, must collect signatures from “50 percent plus 1” of Heritage Lake’s homeowners for the project to be tabled, he said. The petition must be turned into the board within 60 days.

Roads have deteriorated significantly over the past 40 years in the subdivision of about 620 property owners and 1,300 residents that’s located about a mile northeast of Mackinaw. The repair project, which will require a bond issue or loan through the county, would cover 12 miles of paved roads beginning next spring.

The board created a special services area in which homeowners will see a flat payment added to their county property tax bills to cover the bond payment.

The project “will add cost to the homeowners, but in the end it will enhance their property values,” Zimmerman said.

“They were kind of between a rock and a hard place,” said board member Mike Harris, whose District 3 includes the subdivision.

The resident who objected Monday to the project did so “in general,” and not in response to the purpose of the public hearing, Zimmerman said.

He said he called it to inform the community’s residents that the one bank the county found that will offer fixed interest rates over the life of the bond settled on rates slightly higher than 5 percent, which the residents were first told would be the likely cap.

The bank’s rates offered are 5 percent or less for the loan’s first 10 years of payment, 5.45 percent for years 11 through 15 and 5.8 percent for the final five years, he said.

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