Officals consider raising water, sewer rates to boost revenue

By on October 2, 2009

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Elburn officials are considering charging residents more for water and sewer services to help with village expenses.

“I really believe sewer and water should pay for itself,” Public Works Committee Chairman Ken Anderson said Monday.

He and other village officials have not decided how much to raise the rates for those municipal utilities, but the hike likely would be gradual over several years.

“You may see a modest increase one year and subsequent increases over several years,” Assistant Village Administrator Dave Morrison said.

He and other village staff are studying a rate increase and ways to implement it, at the request of Elburn officials, including Village President Dave Anderson.

“Our intent is to be creative in the way we increase rates—not just flat out,” Dave Anderson said.

The rate the village charges for sewer service is $2 for every 7 1/2 gallons, and the rate for water is $2.69 for 7 1/2 gallons. The village has not raised the sewer rate since the 1980s. It increased the water rate in 2005 from $2 to $2.69, to help pay for the radium removal system the village installed.

Elburn officials said the village needs revenue and raising the rates is a practical solution.

“The only commodity we have to sell is water and sewer,” Dave Anderson said.

The Village Board in July approved an annual budget with expenses up to $7.1 million, and expected revenues at $4.6 million.

Village revenue has dropped as village fees for building permits and utility connection fees have declined because of the depressed housing market.

The possible hike in water and sewer rates is one of the village’s cost-saving measures to ease the budget shortfall.

To reduce expenses, the village recently closed its Building Department offices in the Elburn American Legion hall. Also to save money, the village last month eliminated the senior utility tax rebate program.