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Water, Sewer Rate Hike Coming Jan. 1

Lake Zurich village trustees approved the 25 percent water and sewer rate increase Monday night but temporarily are holding off on further changes pending agreement.

residents — and those who don't live within the village limits but use village services — will see higher water and sewer rates starting Jan. 1.

Trustees approved a 25 percent water and sewer rate increase Monday night but temporarily are holding off on approving further hikes until they can come to an agreement on those increases.

Village staff pointed out that the 25 percent increase will really be just 15 percent overall, because it is applied only to the village water and sewer portion of the bill.

Residents' new combined water and sewer rate will be $11.56 per 1,000 gallons with a minimum charge of $23.12 per month for 2,000 gallons, said Assistant Finance Director Maria Forrest. The charge for sanitary sewer only will be $49.56 per month for residents. Seniors and disabled individuals will receive a $14.24 discount per month based on 4,000 gallons of water used.

For nonresidents who use village services, the combined water and sewer rate will be $19.04 per 1,000 gallons, with a minimum charge of $38.08 for 2,000 gallons, said Forrest. For water only, the charge will be $7.98 per 1,000 gallons with a minimum charge of $15.96 for 2,000 gallons. The unmetered sanitary sewer charge for nonresidents will be $69 per month.

At the board's Dec. 5 meeting, . At that meeting, Public Works Director Dave Heyden said the situation is dire, noting that if the board did not act by Jan. 1, "the actual fund will be at zero or in the negative by April 30, 2012."

Trustees were presented with several different scenarios to consider that included increases each year over four or five years, some starting with increases as high as 35 percent or 40 percent. Another scenario was presented Monday night that would have instituted 10 percent increases each year over five years, but Village Administrator Bob Vitas said the increases would not adequately address the fund balance problem.

The board ultimately agreed to hold off on deciding what the future increases will be until they can study the numbers further.

"I think there's more work that needs to be done," said Trustee Rich Sustich.

Trustee Tom Poynton suggested the board move forward and start out by only adopting the 25 percent increase starting Jan. 1 and then address the rest of the ordinance later, prior to April 30, 2012.

Sustich, however, took that a step further, proposing that several sections of the existing draft ordinance — those dealing with future increases — be crossed out and that the 25 percent increase for Jan. 1 be approved. The board agreed with that option, delaying their vote until later in the meeting so village staff could cross out those sections of the ordinance and add the dollar amounts associated with the rate hike.

Trustees Jeff Halen and Terry Mastandrea voted against the measure.

Halen said the draft ordinance presented to the board Monday night contained too many elements that trustees had not discussed yet.

"I agree that we need to do something," said Halen. "This ordinance is not ready for us as a board to vote on. It's not a final version that I can vote on for this evening."

He added that he felt the board was rushing the vote.

"I don't understand why we're rushing when we're still trying to verify numbers and we don't have a clean document," said Halen.

steve lasko December 20, 2011 at 05:26 PM
The current Village Board and Village President are not responsible for the water and sewer fund having a low balance. In the past Boards have okay'd the transfer of money out of the fund. In 2007, the Board moved money out of the fund to compensate for smaller than expected revenue from the failed downtown development. "Lake Zurich's Village Board voted Monday to transfer money from the water and sewer fund, as needed, next year to reduce the village's anticipated shortfall in revenue from the downtown TIF district." -Pioneer Press (LZ Courier) 12-6-2007
TheJET December 20, 2011 at 08:56 PM
The transfers are only a fraction of the problem, many of which are "long traditions" and bad practices. The Water & Sewer Fund is a cash cow that has been milked dry. Can you answer how many people attempted to address the matter over the years? It shows what happens when citizens are not engaged. Two trustees (not to demean others) in particular have fought for better controls and have been labeled micromanagers. Thank you Trustees Halen & Sustich!!

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