A day after adopting a new water rate ordinance, Evanston Tuesday filed suit against Skokie to enforce collection of the new rates.

The city’s complaint alleges that Skokie would be unjustly enriched by more than $1 million a year if it were allowed to pay Evanston the roughly $0.70 per 1,000 gallon rate it has proposed, rather than the $2.06 rate adopted by the Evanston City Council on Monday.

Under an interim extension of a now-expired 20-year contract, Skokie has been paying $1.0797 per 1,000 gallons.

Evanston concedes in its complaint that under Illinois law it has a responsibility, because of life-safety concerns, to continue to provide water to Skokie until the village can find another supplier, but argues that despite being notified of Evanston’s intent to negotiate new contract terms over five years ago, Skokie has not taken steps to find a new supplier.

Evanston argues that the rate it wants has been appropriately calculated using American Water Works Association Manual of Water Supply Practices.

Evanston recently agreed to provide water to two new customers, Morton Grove and Niles, at a rate of $0.78 per 1,000 gallons. But those municipalities will spend $80 million to build infrastructure to connect to Evanston — and will be responsible for maintaining water pressure in their own distribution lines.

By contrast, Skokie  relies on Evanston to provide water pressure throughout its distribution system.

The rate Evanston is demanding is just over half the $3.88 rate that the City of Chicago charges the more than 60 suburban communities that it provides with water service.

Related story

Evanston plans 91 percent Skokie wholesale water rate hike (9/24/17)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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