The village of DePue has so far only received 176 of the approximately 500 surveys needed from its residents to be eligible for a grant that could help keep the water rates from rising drastically.
DePue is applying for a Community Development Assistance Program grant that, if approved by the state, will help the village afford necessary updates to its aging water and sewer systems without forcing residents to pay for the repairs piecemeal each month.
"Our sewer bills are going to go up one way or another," said village president Eric Bryant. "If we get all these surveys, that water and sewer bill will not go up as much."
To help that happen, the village Monday night approved setting aside $300 as prize money.
When all the surveys are collected, three will be chosen and those addresses each will win $100. Village officials are ineligible to win.
"We've got quite a few we need to collect yet to be eligible for the grant," Bryant said.
The survey is anonymous, but it does request the residents' address, race, income level and other basic information.
The DePue School Activity Club will be present at parent-teacher conferences Thursday and Friday, encouraging parents who haven't filled out the survey yet to do so and students will be going door to door on Saturday to encourage residents to file their surveys.
"If we're still short after Saturday I guess we're going to go beat on some more doors," Bryant said.
Nov. 13 is the final due date for all the surveys.
"I've been telling people that. That kind of hit home a little bit. I said, â€˜You know if we don't get this we're going to have to increase the water rates,'" said village clerk Jane Vickers. "So we need everybody to get their surveys filled out."
DePue Men's Club also has donated $300 as prize money to students who collect surveys on Saturday.
DePue Village board also voted to give $300 to Project Success. At Thanksgiving, the organization provides baskets containing turkey, potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, canned pumpkin, evaporated milk, canned fruit, Jell-O and bread to needy families in Hall Township so they can have a holiday meal.
The village will donate five baskets at Thanksgiving and five at Christmas.