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updated: 9/5/2013 3:39 PM

Water rate increase under review by Fox Lake leaders

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Fox Lake leaders are considering whether to increase water rates to help cover the cost of replacing and repairing sections of the village's aging water system.

Village Administrator Nancy Schuerr said the Fox Lake water system -- specifically on the south side of town -- is slowly deteriorating, and that improvements must be made in order to keep it viable.

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A new water tower also is needed on the south side of town, and portions of the aging system are in danger of falling out of compliance with federal and state guidelines, she added.

Schuerr said the amount of the rate hike depends on the amount of water usage at each home. However, she said, on average the rate for a family that uses 4,000 gallons will jump from $41.22 to $54.20 per month.

"We realize this may be a hardship for some residents, but the rate is needed to secure the infrastructure for the community," she said.

Residents will have a chance to ask questions and review the proposed rate increase at the village's town hall meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Grant High School auditorium, 285 E. Grand Ave.

In a letter to residents posted on the village website, foxlake.org, sewer and water Supervisor Rocky Horvath said the Fox Lake water system has provided reliable service for decades, and a rate increase hasn't been implemented since 2008.

He said aspects of the system are in danger of failure due to its age, and the system needs to be upgraded because of changing state and federal standards.

"Most of our south system was constructed in the 1920s. The life expectancy of water and sewer mains is 75 -- 100 years, we have reached the end of this life expectancy," the letter reads. "Our north system was constructed in the early 1970s and both the treatment plant and water system require extensive upgrades."

He said the proposed increase will create a fund for replacement and repairs, update system monitoring capabilities, and connect the north and south systems to provide backup for each.

In addition, he said the hike would cover the cost to construct a new water tower, update the village's main lift pump station, replace aging vehicles and update the Tall Oaks treatment plant.

"All these projects are necessary in order for us to continue providing safe and reliable services," he states in the letter. "We need to move from being reactive to proactive because as our systems continue to age serious failures will begin to occur."

Residents with additional questions should check the water rate section on the village's website, or contact the village with questions at (847) 587-3506.

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