Though several Carpentersville trustees have been fighting since April to reverse the water rate hike already approved by the village board, a majority again indicated Tuesday the 2011 hike should stay.
But business owners should be happy with a change the board is poised to officially approve at its next meeting.
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Trustee Paul Humpfer presented an analysis of the rate increase, which was recommended by Baxter and Woodman Consulting Engineers and approved by board members in April. Humpfer, with the help of Trustee Doug Marks, recommended an alternate proposal Tuesday that represented an increased water rate to cover system maintenance, but a more modest increase than is already in place starting in 2011.
"We could generate surplus with these rates and we could use that surplus to do more in replacing those pipes," Humpfer said. "But I think to just start setting millions of dollars aside and not have a plan in this economy when so many of our residents are struggling to make their bills and keep their homes, I think it's too much, too quick."
The presentation was the latest effort to prompt discussion and provide a concrete alternative to the increase. But Humpfer and supporters Marks and Trustee Pat Schultz were overruled. When Village President Ed Ritter called for an informal vote of support, a four-member majority on the board decided to stick with the rate hike that went into effect in August and will show up on bills in October.
"We can't keep bringing this up if there's not enough support for changing the rates," Ritter said.
The board majority did indicate support for re-examining the rate increase but not until 2012 when the next increase is set to take place.
Businesses will see a slight reprieve with the removal of the availability charge for their water to support the fire suppression systems. This specific change was approved as a help to struggling village businesses, some of which may have had to pay thousands more per year, according to Humpfer.
Staff members will rewrite the appropriate ordinance to reflect the change and bring a completed version back to the board for a final vote at the Sept. 20 meeting.
Hike: Board will re-examine increase in 2012