Elburn board avoids water rate increase
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.