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updated: 2/17/2014 8:46 PM

Elk Grove's Mayor Johnson wants to point water-rate finger at Emanuel

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  • Elk Grove Village is locked into a 40-year water contract with Chicago for another decade, but village officials already are starting to explore cheaper alternatives. Officials are peeved with recent rate increases from Chicago, including a 25 percent hike in 2012 and 15 percent last year.

       Elk Grove Village is locked into a 40-year water contract with Chicago for another decade, but village officials already are starting to explore cheaper alternatives. Officials are peeved with recent rate increases from Chicago, including a 25 percent hike in 2012 and 15 percent last year.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 

Elk Grove Village is trying to find a new, cheaper water source, even though the village is locked into a contract with Chicago for another decade.

Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson recently expressed frustration with the latest set of water bills received by residents that reflect the city of Chicago's most recent water rate increase.

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"If you get up in the morning, look to the east and tell Mayor (Rahm) Emanuel he's number one in your book," Johnson told residents at a recent village board meeting. "And you know which finger I'm talking about."

Elk Grove Village is part of a consortium of seven towns -- including Schaumburg, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows and Hanover Park -- that purchase water from Chicago through the North Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency. In 2012, Chicago implemented a 25 percent water rate hike, with planned 15 percent increases in each of the following three years.

At the same time, the Elk Grove Village board passed along some of those costs to residents, by approving a 17 percent increase to the village's combined water and sewer rate for the 2013 fiscal year, and rate increases of 12 percent, 13 percent and 12 percent for each of the following three years.

Recent water bills that have higher costs reflect meter readings after Jan. 1, Johnson said.

Johnson said village officials are exploring other alternatives for water service, but right now, they are still legally bound to a 40-year contract signed with Chicago in 1984. It stipulates the village must buy a minimum amount of water from Chicago every year.

"I know it's 10 years away, but 10 years go fast, and we are looking at many options," Johnson said.

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