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posted: 4/23/2013 9:46 PM

Consultant recommends water rate increase in Wauconda

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A consultant has recommended higher water rates but lower sewer rates for customers in Wauconda.

The recommendation from Speer Financial Services could result in a 24-percent billing increase annually for residents and other water users, according to the Chicago firm's report.

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Public works Director Brad Fink summarized the report Tuesday night during the village board's committee-of-the-whole meeting. The panel took no action on the proposal.

Fink raised a few concerns about the recommendations. He noted the proposed increase in the water rate was based on a 2012 spike in operating expenses.

Similarly, the village experienced a spike in revenue in 2011, Fink said.

Fink wants to get explanations for those two changes before the board acts on Speer Financial's report. Mayor Mark Knigge asked him to expedite his work, and Fink said he would.

The village has more than 5,400 water customers. Rates differ if the customer is residential, a business or an industrial site.

The water system had a 2012 operating deficit of $462,997, according to Speer's report.

The company recommended increasing fees for water service to raise more than $1.3 million to cover the deficit and future debts.

The report also recommended annual increases. It suggests 4 percent bumps.

Conversely, the sewer system had an operating surplus of $480,832, according to the report. As such, the consultants recommended decreasing the sewer rates to save customers a total of $400,000 annually.

Speer estimated the typical customer's annual bill at more than $693. If the rates are adjusted as the company recommends, that sum would jump to more than $861 annually.

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