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posted: 11/22/2012 5:33 PM

Mount Prospect approves 9.5% water rate hike

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Mount Prospect residents can look forward to ringing in the New Year with higher water bills.

The village board this week approved a 9.5 percent rate hike that will go into effect Jan. 1.

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Officials blamed the increase on the city of Chicago, which delivers Lake Michigan water to Mount Prospect and several other suburbs belonging to the Joint Action Water Agency. Hikes imposed by Chicago are being passed on to residents in the suburbs.

"The people of Mount Prospect should know that this increase is courtesy of the city of Chicago," Trustee Paul Hoefert said.

The rate for combined water and sewer service next year will jump from $7.69 per thousand gallons to $8.42. A Mount Prospect household that uses 8,000 gallons of water per month will pay $67.36, an increase of $5.84.

Sewer users not connected to the village system will continue to pay a monthly rate of $4.58 per dwelling unit.

On top of a 25 percent rate hike imposed this year, Chicago will impose 15 percent increases in 2013, 2014 and 2015, officials said.

"The city of Chicago is playing catch-up with their maintenance of their overall system and passing along the increase to all users," village Finance Director David Erb said.

Trustee Arlene Juracek, who serves as the village's alternate representative to JAWA, said the group is doing what it can to mitigate future increases, but there's a limit to what they can accomplish.

"There is no such thing as a free lunch either," she said. "So if somebody says, 'Why don't you just connect in a different direction,' you have to understand that means a lot of digging."

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