Residents will see rate increases for water, sewer

By on March 22, 2014

ELBURN—Next fiscal year’s budget will include several increases for Elburn residents, including a hike in the water and sewer rate.

The board voted unanimously at Monday’s meeting to raise the rates, beginning with the May 1 bill.

Residents can expect to pay $8 more a month in their sewer bills to pay for the upgrade to the village’s wastewater treatment facility. Current sewer rates are $2.82 per 100 cubic feet of water used, and this year’s increase would take it to $3.82.

Bills for both water and sewer are based on water usage, and average water use per household is approximately 800 cubic feet per month.

The costs of the modernization project will come to approximately $7.5 million, including a low-interest 20-year loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven previously told the board that, in order to pay back the loan, the sewer rate will have to increase by about the same amount each year for the next four years.

By 2017, the rate would reach the recommended $7.10 per 100 cubic feet.

Modernization of the 30-year-old plant is necessary due to safety and efficiency concerns.

“We must meet our cost obligations, and set aside money for the larger items,” Village President Dave Anderson said.

“We need water and we need funding to pay for it,” trustee Bill Grabarek added.

Water rates will go up from $3.28 per 100 cubic feet to $3.88 per 100 cubic feet per month.

During the Committee of the Whole meeting, Finance Director Doug Elder reviewed the entire draft budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 with the board, noting that Elburn’s equalized assessed value is down 7 percent from last year.

“The decrease is slowing, and will likely hit bottom next year,” Elder said. “There are signs of building picking up.”

The revenue of $2.7 million in the general fund is down just a little from last year, but revenues are still more than expenses, he said.

Board members discussed the need for additional money for park maintenance. This year’s budget includes $47,000 for maintaining parks, compared with the estimated $8,000 for this year.

Trustee Bill Grabarek suggested using the village’s portion of video gaming revenues for that purpose. The village takes in approximately $1,000 as its share in the gaming operation at Schmidt’s Towne Tap and Knuckleheads Tavern.

But trustee Jeff Walter said that won’t be enough for what is needed to maintain the parks throughout the village.

Walter suggested that the village might have to go out to the residents for additional funding.

“We need to get serious about our parks thing,” Walter said. “We want to do more with parks in the village, especially with all the growth.”

The tentative budget will be available for the public to review between April 8 and April 21, with the Village Board voting on it at the April 21 meeting.

“It’s gotten simpler every year,” Village President Dave Anderson said.