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Mount Prospect sets water rate increases on heels of Chicago’s rate hike

Rising Chicago water rates have forced Mount Prospect officials to push through a 12.6 percent water rate increase set for May 1

That comes on top of the 5 percent rate increase that went into effect on Jan. 1.

“We’re subject to the increase that the City of Chicago put through,” trustee Paul Hoefert said. “It’s something we have to do to keep water flowing.”

Both Village Manager Michael Janonis and Village Finance Manager David Erb had warned in December that proposed steep water rate increases by the City of Chicago for Lake Michigan water could result in additional increases for residents using village water.

Janonis said Chicago’s planned rate hikes of 25 percent for 2012 and then 15 percent in each of the following three years come after 15 percent increases in each of the last three years.

With the Jan. 1 increase, village residents buying water from the village now pay $5.31 per 1,000 gallons of water. For billings on or after May 1, that rate will go to $5.98, a water cost increase of 12.6 percent that officials blame on the new Chicago rates.

“It’s all being driven by Chicago’s decision this year to pass along a rate increase of 25 percent,”  Janonis said.

The village is not changing the present sewer rate of $1.71 per 1,000 gallons. The new combined water and sewer rate will go from $7.02 to $7.69 per 1,000, an overall increase of 9.5 percent.

For households using 15,000 gallons every two months, Erb said the bi-monthly bill will be $125.35, an increase of $10.05 over the current bi-monthly rate.

Mount Prospect is one of about 100 communities buying Lake Michigan water from Chicago. Some of those towns are looking to other sources for Lake Michigan water, including Evanston and Wilmette, but the need for new pipelines and facilities and the high costs involved could make switching prohibitively expensive

Some households in Mount Prospect buy water from Illinois American Water, which sets its own rates.

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