Water Bill Increases in Pipeline for Des Plaines
Des Plaines city council voted in favor of increasing the cost residents are charged for water at a meeting on Monday.
Water bills in Des Plaines could increase. City council voted in favor of a water rate increase, 4-3, in the first reading of the ordinance at a meeting on Monday.
All ordinances have two readings, and council members vote on both. The purpose of the first reading is to put people on notice of the subject matter of the ordinance. It is adopted or defeated at the second reading.
Third Ward Alderman Matt Bogusz, Fifth Ward Alderman James Brookman and acting Mayor Dick Sayad voted against the measure. Sixth Ward Alderman Mark Walsten was absent from the meeting.
Brookman and Sayad said they thought the city should consider gaming tax revenue or the general fund to cover cost increases from the City of Chicago.
"With the amount of revenue we have in our reserve funds and and the casino revenue that we have available to the city, I can't vote to increase fees to our residents," Brookman said.
The proposed increase would amount to an approximate 6.9 percent increase to residents’ water bills, said Dorothy Wisniewski, director of finance. If city council takes no action, the water and sewer fund would have a deficit of $900,000 at the end of 2013, Wisniewski said.
If city council approves the proposed increase, that fund, which is approximately $1.8 million now, Wisniewski said, would be projected to be $1.2 million by the end of 2013.
The proposed increase covers the increased cost of the actual water from Chicago, Wisniewski said, but it does not increase the maintenance and operations cost, nor does it increase the sewer rate.
Wisniewski told city council members, to put the proposed increase in perspective, for a person that uses less water, eight units, an increase in cost of $1.12 per month was estimated, for medium users of 16 units, an increase of $2.25 per month was estimated, and for heavy users, 24 units, it was an estimated $3.37 more per month.
In a memo to City Manager Michael Bartholomew, Wisniewski stated that based on current state law, the cost of water, or product cost, is to be paid by funds or revenues from the operation and maintenance of the waterworks system of the municipality.
“This means that the cost of the City of Chicago water can only be paid by revenues within the Water/Sewer fund and not a transfer from other City funds,” Wisniewski stated.