Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty, responding to the Village of Skokie filing suit this week in a dispute over water rates, says the village needs to pay its fair share for the water Evanston provides.
Hagerty says that over the 74 years that Evanston has provided water to Skokie, the rate Skokie pays "has not fully accounted for the significant infrastructure, maintenance and delivery costs required to provide the village with Evanston drinking water. Instead, Evanston taxpayers have borne that cost, a huge subsidy that is neither fair nor sustainable."
Skokie's most recent 20-year contract with Evanston expired on Dec. 31, 2016. In the months and years leading up to that date, Hagerty says, Evanston negotiated in good faith with Skokie to establish a new water rate that is fair to taxpayers of both communities.
"We are pricing our water using a standard methodology approved by the American Water Works Association, the same methodology we’ve adopted for other communities that purchase water from Evanston," the mayor says.
"Naturally, Skokie would like their water rate to remain unchanged. But the fact is, Evanston families -- including many who are struggling financially -- have been subsidizing the delivery of water to Skokie for decades, and it's time for that to end."
Evanston is proposing a rate of $2.06 per 1,000 gallons, just over half the $3.88 rate Chicago charges more than 60 municipalities it serves.
While Skokie accused Evanston of "calculated, oppressive and punitive" actions in its federal court complaint, Hagerty said, "We will not use divisive and dramatic language in this dispute" or take actions "intended to intimidate or bully our neighbor."
But, he added, "the City Council and I will insist that our city be fairly compensated for water, just as other customers are doing."
"Once the courts have weighed in, I hope that Skokie will remain a valued customer of Evanston. In the meantime, we will continue to provide fresh, clean water to Skokie residents," the mayor added.
Evanston sues Skokie over water rate (9/27/17)