Carpentersville water rate reversal in limbo

 
 
Updated 6/22/2011 2:27 PM

Since Carpentersville's audit and finance committee has decided not to evaluate the possibility of lowering a looming water rate increase, some trustees have decided to bring the issue to the full village board for consideration.

Trustees Doug Marks, Pat Schultz and Paul Humpfer have questioned the water rates the village board approved in April and had hoped to save money by reviewing the water rate study and seeing which expenses they could eliminate to minimize the increase. During Monday's audit and finance commission meeting, members reviewed a spreadsheet that outlined the expenses the engineering company considered when it devised three rate increases within the study, Marks said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But in the end, the committee reached an impasse because "The will to make the motion to re-evaluate what they have already approved to look at (the study) again was never made," said Marks, who had not yet been sworn in when the board approved the new water rates.

Marks ran on the campaign promise to scrutinize every dollar and would rather see everyone pay a flat fee for water system projects and upgrades instead of including those items in the increased water rates. He also questions why the study included money for future employees, when he doesn't think it's necessary to make any new hires.

"I'm planning for no more employees," Marks said. "We're able to get the job done now."

Baxter and Woodman Consulting Engineers recommended the village raise water rates to pay for its infrastructure and outlined three programs with varying financial effects -- the village selected the program in the middle, while the study endorsed the largest increases. Average use is 6,000 gallons per month and residents are billed quarterly, so after three months, a typical user pays $129 for 18,000 gallons of water. With the new fee structure, residents would be billed bimonthly, so that average user would pay $112 for 12,000 gallons of water.

The increased rates will help stabilize and pay off debt in the water fund, replace vehicles and pay for a project to repaint and repair the rusted water tower on Randall Road. The new rates go into effect in August and will appear on the October bill, The village has spent at least three commission meetings going over the merits of what was already approved.

New Trustee Don Burroway is a member of the audit and finance commission and also wasn't on the board when it approved the new rates. But he would rather not tinker with the engineering firm's expertise.

The item is due to appear on the July 19 board agenda for further discussion.