City staff Monday will seek City Council approval of the first of a long series of rate hikes expected to increase water and sewer bills by 85% over the next decade.

While water rates will go up, the sewer rate would remain unchanged for next year.

Water Production Bureau Chief Darrell King says the 17.5% water rate increase, scheduled to take effect in January, will boost the combined water and sewer bill for an average Evanston customer by just under $70 per year.

A staff memo says the anticipated series of annual increases are needed to meet state mandates to replace lead service lines, increase the pace of replacement of aging water mains and achieve other key goals.

The city plans to keep its “affordable rate” for some low income residents unchanged in 2024.

Data presented by city staff comparing Evanston’s planned 2024 combined water and sewer rate with the 2023 rates in nearby towns indicate that rate here next year would remain below the average for the two dozen communities included in the comparison.

What may happen to rates in those other communities as they respond to the state lead service line replacement mandate and other cost pressures remains to be seen.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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