Elk Grove Village plans another round of $200 water bill credits
While discussions in Washington have stalled over a second federal stimulus bill, residents in one Northwest suburban community are expected to be on the receiving end of that town's second coronavirus relief package since the pandemic took hold.
Elk Grove Village officials announced Tuesday a second round of $200 residential water bill credits set to take effect with upcoming January and February bills. Worth $3 million in total, the credits would apply to all 11,500 single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums in town.
It follows the village's initial $3.2 million coronavirus relief package in March, in what was an unprecedented move for a Northwest suburban municipality at the time. Officials gave water bill credits to residents while waiving various licensing fees for businesses.
At a village board meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Craig Johnson said the economic relief, while small, could help "take off a little bit of the edge" for residents who are struggling amid the financial effects of the pandemic.
"When bills and credit cards come after the holidays, you're going to have a couple extra dollars left for you to cover some expenses," Johnson said. "The board is excited to be able to do that for the community."
While formal approval is expected next month, the mayor said trustees are on board with the proposal. He said he came to the realization that the village could provide another local stimulus when he saw the latest financial numbers two weeks ago.
Specifically, the village's reserve fund next spring is projected to be $23 million, about $3 million more than expected per the village's standard of having enough to cover five months of operating expenses.
Much of the town's financial strength can be attributed to its 6-square-mile industrial park, which has been "humming" even in the middle of the pandemic, Johnson said.
He said 90% of businesses located there -- deemed essential -- never shut down. That includes one company that makes a wiring component for ventilators and another that makes bottles for hand sanitizer.
By July, sales tax revenues for the business park were back to normal, officials said. The park alone generates $24 million a year in sales taxes for village coffers.
"If we're doing that well, we want to give back to the community," Johnson said. "We were built to handle something like this."
The average residential water bill in Elk Grove is $84, so officials anticipate most customers will be able to take advantage of the credit for two or three billing cycles. The village is requiring landlords to pass savings to their tenants, and likewise condo associations to their unit owners.
Johnson said the village has time before next June to decide whether to waive annual business licensing fees again. In the first stimulus package, it was worth $180,000 villagewide.