Evanston aldermen are scheduled to vote tonight on a 10 percent increase in water rates and a 2.7 percent increase in property taxes to pay for sewer services.

In 2008 a city consultant said water rates needed to be raised to cover operating, capital improvement and debt service costs — but until now no action has been taken on that recommendation. And, Utility Director Dave Stonebeck says, water usage has continued to decline, further reducing the system’s revenue.

City officials say that among 17 nearby communities checked, Evanston currently has the second lowest water rate. It would move up to third lowest if the water rate increase is approved.

The officials say the water rate increase would cost the average single-family homeowner about $15 a year.

Evanston has among the highest sewer rates in the area because of extensive capital improvement projects to reduce basement flooding over the past two decades.

The bonds used to finance those improvements are scheduled to be paid off starting in 2013, but until then the city would face a growing sewer fund deficit if some new revenue source isn’t found.

The proposed $17 million in new general obligation bonds to be issued over four years to cover a portion of the sewer debt would require payments of about $1.4 million a year which the city says would cost the owner of a property with an equalized assessed value of $100,000 about $38 a year.

The sewer ordinance would also proportionately raise rates for large non-profit users who are exempt from the property tax.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Getting Hosed

    Didn’t Tisdahl run on a platform to make millions for the city by selling our water to Skokie at higher rates?  Not only do we not get that, we get a 10% rise in our own water rates.  What gives?

    1. She Hosed All of Us

       She lied to us.  Evanston was legally bound to sell water at its current rate.  She knew Evanston could not raise the rates on Skokie.  Her post-election comments admit as much.

  2. Shell game with our water and sewer rates!

    The city has been transfering over $2 million dollars to the general fund – from the water fund, now it is turining around and extending debt and raising rates – If you looked at the presentation – the real increase over the next few years is 40% – not 10% – Also in 4-5 years the funds start to go negative again! ( there would be no need to raise water and sewer rates if they stoped the $2 million dollar transfer and cut the $2 off the general fund – so really the city is in the hole more than they are currently projecting!

    What even more interesting the water department is claiming it can solve the problem by selling more water- interestingly enough – demand is dropping – so why would any one in a business want to create more capacity? The city clearly is not a business, so it should stop pretending it is operating with sound business practices.

    The real answer is an Audit of the entire operation and determine what are the real costs, I have a bad feeling we are subsidizing the other customers!

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