Elburn board avoids water rate increase

By on March 25, 2011

Scaling back project list preserves rates at least through end of year
by Sandy Kaczmarski
Elburn—It looks as if residents won’t have to face a water/sewer increase—for a while, at least.

Superintendent of Public Works John Nevenhoven told the Elburn Village Board Monday that to complete all the projects on his wish list, water rates would have to increase from $5 to $15 a month.

“Realizing that is not going to be practical, I’ve identified two of the five (projects) that would absolutely, positively have to be done this coming year,” Nevenhoven said.

The two projects he recommends completing this year will cost $126,000, something he says can be done within his current budget.

One of the projects is to rebuild and service well No. 3 at a cost of $65,000. The well was last serviced in 2002, and recommendations are that it be serviced every six or seven years.

“With something like a well, we’d much rather do it on our terms than on the well’s terms,” he said, meaning to repair it now before it breaks down.

The other project is interior service on the North Tower, coming in at $61,000, which was last serviced in 1996. The tower doesn’t need to be serviced as frequently as the well, but Nevenhoven said it’s at a point where repairs need to be done.

As the board discussed expected balances at the beginning of the fiscal year May 1, Village Administrator Erin Willrett pointed out an ordinance that requires the budget to be reviewed every year, but that the board is not tied to a fiscal year.

“We could start the review of water/sewer capital and look at the list of projects throughout the year, and make that recommendation effective as of January 1,” she said.

Trustee Jerry Schmidt said that with the current budget, it appears that three projects could be approved right now and without having to consider raising rates.

Village President David Anderson said the board could go ahead with the two projects suggested, and wait until January to decide to do another project if funds are available.

“I kind of like that,” he said. “I think this gives us a better perspective.”

Anderson said the board has a “fiduciary responsibility to maintain and operate the water and sewer systems.”

Trustee William Grabarek agreed, and said by deciding next January, the board would have eight more months for more careful planning.

“It would give us a better ability to look at our budget come January on these capital projects and make a decision at that time,” he said.

Nevenhoven is moving ahead on the two projects already budgeted for, and Willrett said she will reintroduce these budget concerns next fall so the board can better assign priorities and take a look at the rate structure.

5 Comments

  1. RM

    March 25, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Thanks to the board for finding a better solution than raising rates. We all realize that infrastructure must be maintained but annual rate increases are not appropriate in this current economy.

  2. elburnlife

    March 25, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Don’t count your pennies yet it’s an election year. One of the trustee already said do you think it’s wise to vote on a rate increase before a election? It will be back in the fall when everyone feels safe.

  3. RM

    March 26, 2011 at 7:48 AM

    I’m sure you’re right elburnlife. I just envision seeing a monthly water bill in excess of $100 per month for a family of four. This just isn’t reasonable. Nobody is ever really safe in their elected position. There’s always the next election. Folks just need to get out and vote in this one and give serious consideration to who and what they’re voting for.

  4. OneWhoCares

    March 26, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Its very nice to see the basic needs being taken care of. With that trail going to our forest preserve down North st. Its going to be of interest in how that beautiful park with the nice chess table put in by the local boy scouts is going to be.Kind of like the park on corner of W. Shannon St./Babcock St. The grading and seeding was down real nice before the victory garden kind of messed it up. A set of play equipment like the other park would be a beautifully asset for Elburn and kids can safely play without having to cross 47.The nice thing too its right next to the Fire dept for safety.With the new trail going in also kind of all comes together.

  5. elburn1

    March 31, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    elburnlife is correct. The water rates will be increasing, just not right now (as stated at the meeting by a trustee “is this wise right before the election?”). Instead it will just happen later this year. So rather than a smaller increase in the spring…will there be a larger increase in the fall to make up for lost time? There is a bond that needs to start being paid back & projects to be done–that money has to come from somewhere.

    OneWhoCares–are you talking about the “park” on First Street by the railroad crossing? Would parents allow their children to play next to the RR tracks unsupervised? I can’t imagine the Village expanding the park there when they are considering spending $50K (with a matching grant) to repair/replace the park at the Community Center.