A Hike in H20 Rate

Cleaning dishes or brushing your teeth could cost you more.

To stay afloat, members of the DuPage water commission say they need to charge communities more for water. The increase compensates for an extra 25% Chicago is charging, plus a bit more to cover the commission’s $70 million debt.

“We have to pay that. It was borrowed short-term,” said the commission’s General Manager, John Spatz. “We’re looking at a 30% increase, which is about 5% over what Chicago’s doing the first year.”

That means the current rate of $2.30 will be boosted about 70 cents to $3.00.
The commission expects to continue raising the rate each year until 2015, which by then would double what it is now. For the average household that uses about 7,500 gallons monthly, that comes to an extra $5 on each bill.

“It’s unfortunate that the city of Chicago decides to hold us sort of hostage to their water rates,” said Naperville resident Jim Nolan. “But I don’t know exactly what we can do for it cause we don’t vote in Chicago or Cook County so it has to be passed onto the residents somehow or we may not get water.”

The potential hike would impact many businesses, especially local car washes. Brighton Car Wash consumes about 40,000 gallons of water per month. The increase would mean an extra $28 in monthly expenses.

“That’ll definitely hit the bottom line of our business for profitability,” said owner Jason Morin. “If that’s what they’ve got to do than that’s what they’ve got to do, but ultimately it’ll affect households & businesses here in Naperville and in DuPage County.”

But Spatz, says the proposed rate increase is rather modest in order to keep DuPage County an affordable place to live.

“We’re very conscience of the economic times,” said Spatz. “And another thing people have to remember is that even with these rate increases, our water rates are still among the lowest if not, the lowest in the U.S.

The commission’s rate is only a portion of the water utility bill. Homeowners also pay $1.75 per 1,000 gallons to the city of Naperville. City Manager Doug Krieger says that too could spike if the commission’s plan is approved.
The DuPage Water Commission will put the measure to a final vote at their November 17th meeting

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