Evanston aldermen tonight are to consider raising the city’s water rates by 10 percent and increasing property taxes to cover rising sewer system costs.

City staff says the water rate increase is needed to pay for planned capital improvements at the water treatment facility and in the distribution system.

A staff-prepared comparison of water rates in 16 other metro area communities shows Evanston — even after the rate increase — would have lower rates than all but two of the other towns.

Water rates per 1,000 gallons in the surveyed communities range from $2.01 in Chicago to $6.26 in Lake Forest, with a median of about $3.65 — the rate charged by Glenview.

Evanston now charges $2.03 per 1,000 gallons. If the increase is approved, the rate would rise to $2.23.

The staff memo also proposes additional increases of 5 percent and 3 percent in 2012 and 2013.

The city’s sewer rate — among the highest in the metro area because of two decades of capital improvements to reduce flooding — would stay the same for most customers under the staff’s plan.

But the plan calls for issuing a total of $17 million in general obligation bonds over the next four years to refinance part of the debt owed for those sewer system projects.

About 22 percent of the cost would be covered by increasing the sewer rate to large non-profit users, but the rest would be generated by an increase in property taxes that would amount to about $38 for every $100,000 of equalized assessed valuation.

Update 10:50 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 10: The Administration and Public Works Committee Monday night took no action on the staff report, but voted to hold a special meeting this fall to discuss the rate increase plans. No date for the meeting was set.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

5 Comments

  1. Evanston Residents Pay Almost 5X More Than Non Residents Pay!

    All residents of Evanston should know that the COE entered into a 40 year water contract with the Northwest Water Commsiion that allows the residents of Arlington Heights etc. to pay 41 cents  ( I could be off a couple of cents, it could be 43 cents) per 1000 gallons. That’s a $1.60 per 1000 gallons less than Evanston residents pay and the residents within the Northwest Water Commssion will continue to pay the COE that rate until 2025.

    It seems that this fact was overlooked in the report prepared by City staff & also overlooked by Evanston Now. One would have to guess that the "staff prepared comparison of water rates" did not include any cities that the City of Evanston sells water to within the Northwest Water Commission to avoid a politically embarassing comparison. Even more troubling is that Evanston Now would not bring this oversight to their readership’s attention. Bill Smith attended the same budget workshops for citizens that I attended early in the budget process that brought this outrage up.

    Speaking of outrage, where are the angry citizen comments concerning this issue of raising taxes. Where is the outrage? This issue has been lying dormant since it was enacted in 1985, but I have yet to see any accountability from current or former elected officials or City staff from that era that sold the taxpayers down the taxpayer owned water pipe. Add this outrage to the 175 million dollar plus pension deficit, the diversion of our tax dollars to TIF districts for developer welfare( resulting in back door tax increases to our other taxing bodies due to the 23 year TIF cap ) and the ongoing spending of our tax dollars ( that we really don’t have with honest accounting ) at the Economic Development Committee level & City Council Level for privatizing profit and socializing risk.

    Where is the outrage, the accountability, the transparency and the objective reporting about the cumulative effect all of these bad fiscal decisions combined that have led to the City of Evanston going over the precipice to bankruptcy? Have the citizens heard a single apology? Has anyone stood up to say the "buck stops here" , to take "accountability"? Do we really want to continue to live in denial about our shared and difficult problems? Or do we have the strength to admit that they exist, were not caused in a vacumn by outside forces beyond anyone’s control and most important, honestly deal with them? Anything less than the truth is not only unacceptable, but in the end is fiscally lethal.

    1. Arlington Heights water rates

      Posted by Kevin O’Connor:

      All residents of Evanston should know that the COE entered into a 40 year water contract with the Northwest Water Commsiion that allows the residents of Arlington Heights etc. to pay 41 cents  ( I could be off a couple of cents, it could be 43 cents) per 1000 gallons. That’s a $1.60 per 1000 gallons less than Evanston residents pay and the residents within the Northwest Water Commssion will continue to pay the COE that rate until 2025.

      ———————————————————————————————————————————————

           This statement is completely false.  I am a resident of Arlington Heights.  Our current rate for water is $4.03 per 1000 gallons.  It is also false that our rate will remain the same until 2025.  Our rate just increased from $3.9 per 1000 to the current $4.03.

           You need to get your facts straight before you make inflammatory posts Mr O’Connor.

       

       

      1. Sorry, Bob & Bill: Mistake Made, However Not Inflammatory

        Bob & Bill.

        You are right and I am wrong. I was confusing wholesale & retail rates. I’m happy that I wasn’t off on Arlington Heights  being one of the 4 cities that Evanston sells water to under the "Northwest Water Commission".

        Allow me to rephrase: Evanston charges wholesale rates @ approximately 41 cents per 1000 gallons versus Chicago which I believe charges approximately 2.00 per 1000 gallons. So I guess Bob that you should feel awful good that our City waqs so generous back in 1985 in setting and signing a 40 year contract or your rates might be a lot more.

        Finally, Bob if you do live in Arlington Heights, I’m just curious as to why you are posting on Evanston Now. Are you a COE employee in any capacity? Also, as far as inflammatory comments, I highly doubt one could call my comments inflammatory, confused and wrong ,yes. I’ve apologized for my writing, however since I am a taxpayer and you are not, I’m wondering why you have such a strong response to my post, not that you have to share that with anyone, much less me.

        Kevin O’Connor

    2. Confusing wholesale and retail rates

      Hi Kevin,

      You are confused.

      The rate Arlington Heights charges its retail customers, according to the city council packet that’s available online is $4.63 per 1,000 gallons.

      The wholesale rate that Evanston charges the Northwest Water Commission is much less, as anyone who attended the budget hearings should recall.

      As has been explained at various points, 25 years ago the city entered into a 40-year contract with NWC that doesn’t look too terribly smart now. But despite much prodding during and after last year’s election campaign by Mayor Tisdahl, nobody’s figured out a way for Evanston to successfully demand more money from NWC for its water while the contract lasts.

      — Bill

       

  2. More Water Taxes

    Years ago the city increased water rates by 5-10% per year for several years to raise the funds to do the work they are now claiming they have to fund.

    Given all the streets that seemed to be opened, closed and then re-opened [e.g. Noyes and either Orrington or Sherman, Poplar and Central, etc.], maybe they would be best off putting in a zipper !

    As I recall when the city first started the yearly rate increases, Skokie was so up-set that they recinded a property transfer they had planned to make to Evanston.

    Good luck with a bond issue given the current city finances and obligations.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.