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Water dispute settled for pennies on the dollar

Deal gives Evanston just an 18% increase from rates set nearly a quarter century ago.

The Evanston water plant on Sheridan Road at Lincoln Street. (Google Maps)

Evanston, which has demanded for years that Skokie pay $2.06 per 1,000 gallons of water, today settled for a price of $1.26 — up from the old contract price of $1.09.

In a news release issued late this afternoon, Mayor Steve Hagerty said the new 20-year agreement will ensure that “Evanston taxpayers are fairly compensated for the substantial costs of providing this essential service.”

Evanston officials had claimed for years that the previous contract with the village had dramatically underpriced the water service the city provided, and when the old contract expired in 2017, Evanston adopted a 91% rate hike, claiming it was based on industry standard formulas for allocating the cost of providing water service.

Evanston then sued Skokie in state court to enforce the new rates. And the village responded with a federal court suit, which was later dismissed.

At the time Skokie filed its suit, Hagerty said Evanston families “have been subsidizing the delivery of water to Skokie for decades, and it’s time for that to end.”

The Skokie Village Board is is scheduled to vote on the new agreement Monday, and Evanston’s City Council is scheduled to consider the deal a week later.

Evanston has provided water to Skokie since 1941.

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