Mayor Rahm Emanuel got the go-ahead Monday to save up to $60 million by refinancing $400 million in water revenue bonds at reduced interest rates.
At the same time, the City Council's Finance Committee authorized the Emanuel administration to enter into Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loans for an amount not to exceed $450 million.
"The IEPA loans provide low-cost funding for water capital projects, including water meter installation, replacement of aging water mains and improvements to the department's water purification plants and pumping stations," Chief Financial Officer Carole Brown told aldermen. "This is a continuation of the capital improvement plan that we've been implementing since 2012."
Shortly after taking office, Emanuel doubled water rates over a four-year period -- followed by annual increases to match the cost of living -- to rebuild Chicago's crumbling water and sewer system.
That water bill has since become a catchall for two other fees: the $9.50 a month garbage fee and 29.5 percent utility tax for pensions.
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