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updated: 7/20/2011 5:50 AM

Carpentersville board won't cut water rate increase

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The Carpentersville village board has refused to repeal the water rate increases it approved in April, but three trustees still won't take "no" for an answer.

Tuesday night, the village board would not consider tossing out the water study it approved that recommended higher rates for the village.

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Now, trustees Paul Humpfer and Doug Marks will offer alternatives to the water rate ordinance the board approved in April that they say will be more "transparent" and affordable for Carpentersville. They will present their findings at the next board meeting.

They, as well as Trustee Pat Schultz, fear the higher water rates will help drive businesses and residents out of town. They also contend that the village rushed to approve the study and did not do enough to save money for the taxpayers.

"I don't give up a fight," Marks said after the meeting, adding that there's nothing wrong with questioning expert opinions. "This is one of those fights you just don't walk away from."

Earlier this year Baxter and Woodman Consulting Engineers recommended the village raise water rates to pay for its infrastructure and outlined three programs with varying financial effects -- the village selected the program in the middle, while the study endorsed the largest increases.

Average use is 6,000 gallons per month and residents are billed quarterly, so after three months, a typical user pays $129 for 18,000 gallons of water. With the new fee structure, residents would be billed bimonthly, so that an average user would pay $112 for 12,000 gallons of water.

The increased rates will help stabilize and pay off debt in the water fund, replace vehicles and pay for a project to repaint and repair the rusted water tower on Randall Road. The new rates go into effect in August and will appear on the October bill. The village has spent at least three commission meetings going over the merits of what was already approved.

The audit and finance commission, which Humpfer chairs, tried to find a way to lessen the looming increases on customers.

But in the end, the commission reached an impasse, prompting Marks, Schultz and Humpfer to bring the matter back to the board.

"It would say volumes if we stepped back and looked at (the study) and came up with another scenario," Humpfer said.

But Trustee Kay Teeter, who says the hikes were necessary to pay for infrastructure and to stabilize the system, refuses to go back in time and undo her vote.

"We made a decision and we need to move forward," she said.

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