Oct
12

Infrastructure Plan Calls for Chicago Water Rate Hike

October 12, 2011

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2012 budget proposal spares Chicago homeowners from a property tax hike, city residents could still be in store for an increase on their water bills.

Emanuel has proposed a 10-year program that would repair and update Chicago’s water and sewer infrastructure, one of the oldest in the nation.

“Residents of Chicago currently pay the lowest price for water of any big city in America,” said Emanuel. “Today, we are asking for an increase in the fee for our water system. In return, we will greatly accelerate its repair.”

The good news: The project will create more than 18,000 jobs over the next 10 years, and there is a way for homeowners to actually lower their bills instead.

The rate hike will equate to a $120 increase in the water/sewer bill of the annual average household next year. However, homeowners who choose to install a free water meter could actually see their bills go down next year, and their rates will not go back to the non-metered level for four years.

The proposal includes a four-year rate increase for water and sewer funds:

*2012 rates would go up 25 percent; 2013, 2014 and 2015 would each see 15 percent hikes.

*The current 2011 rate is $2.01/1000 gallons. The 2012 rate will be $2.51; 2013 will be $2.89; 2014 will be $3.32; and 2015 will be $3.82.

*Sewer rates are currently 86 percent of the water bills. They will increase 86-89 percent in 2012; 89-92 percent in 2013; 92-96 percent in 2014 and 96-100% in 2015.

*The average metered, single-family home currently pays $339.54 annually. In 2012, it will be $431.27. The average non-metered, single-family home currently pays $450.53 annually. In 2012 it will be $572.24.

The rate hikes will help pay for the rehabilitation project, which would be one of the largest infrastructure improvement projects in the country initiated by a city.

The rehab plan would:

*Replace 900 miles of century-old water pipes

*Reline 750 miles of sewer lines and 140,000 sewer catch basins

*Upgrade the city’s four aging, steam-powered water pumping stations

According to Emanuel’s budget plan, the water and sewer rate hike “is not part of the corporate budget, nor is this proposal needed to balance the budget. Rather, it is a program to rebuild Chicago’s aging water infrastructure and create jobs.”

To read more about Emanuel’s 2012 budget proposal, see our story at Chicago Real Estate Forum or visit chicagobudget.org.

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Tracey

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[...] Emanuel’s proposal also includes a water/sewer infrastructure program that would create jobs but also increase water rates for Chicago residents. Click here for that story. [...]

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