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updated: 1/11/2012 9:35 PM

Lombard likely to pass water rate increase to residents

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In the next 18 months, Lombard expects the cost of providing Lake Michigan water to its residents to increase by 55 percent, rising to a projected $5.2 million in 2013.

And as the village's costs increase, residents' water bills are likely to grow as well.

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The finance department is analyzing water rates and operating costs to determine how much of a rate increase to recommend to the village board at its next meeting Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in village hall, 255 E. Wilson Ave.

When the village's water costs jumped Jan. 1 because of increases set by the city of Chicago and the DuPage Water Commission, Lombard did not immediately pass on the extra costs to residents, village manager David Hulseberg said. For the first couple of weeks of the year, the village has been covering for the 30 percent rate hike passed along by the water commission with reserve funds, he said.

But with more increases coming from the water commission -- 20 percent in 2013 and 18 percent in 2014 -- Hulseberg said he wants the board to consider upping what the village charges residents for their water use.

The water rate hikes passed along to the village and an expected increase in the cost of operating the Glenbard Wastewater Authority account for almost all the growth proposed in Lombard's public works budgets for the last seven months of 2012 and all of 2013, Public Works Director Carl Goldsmith said at a budget hearing Wednesday night.

Without those two factors, public works would be asking for a 0.8 percent increase from the current budget, Goldsmith said.

As the village begins considering charging residents more for every 1,000 gallons of water used, Goldsmith and other municipal public works directors have been meeting with the water commission to share their concerns about funding use.

"I was at a meeting with the DuPage Water Commission last week," he said. "We talked about accountability measures that will be put into place to insure that money brought in by the city of Chicago from the rate increase will be used appropriately."

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