Water Rate Increases Spilling Over in New Lenox
A flat rate for service plus a fee per 1,000 gallons used is proposed.
The cost of water is expected to tap the financial well of New Lenox residents again, since infrastructure improvements in Chicago and Oak Lawn are moving forward.
At the first Committee of the Whole meeting for the Village of New Lenox on Monday, Kurt Carroll, village administrator, highlighted the proposed water rate system. In an attempt to grapple with inevitable increases associated with Chicago's massive infrastructure water department improvement project along with plans to upgrade the Oak Lawn water delivery system at a cost of $100 million-plus, the ripple effects are being felt throughout the southwest suburbs.
The price tag for water in New Lenox has not yet been solidified, but it's certain that costs will go up. Village officials are considering a flat rate, about $40 a month, to pay for the cost of servicing households with water. From there, fees would be charged on a per 1,000 gallon basis. The specific usage rate fee is still up in the air, said Carroll.
The flat rate mirrors the current 6,000 gallon minimum usage rate.
In April, New Lenox residents got soaked with a $5 monthly increase on their bill. That was just the beginning. Despite outcries by the Village Board and Mayor Tim Baldermann, the fee schedule is set to surge over the next few years. The plan introduced in general at the meeting is expected to satisfy the first and most expensive wave of increases, according to Carroll. But residents can expect increases of roughly 15 percent each of the following three years.
New Lenox taps into Lake Michigan via Oak Lawn, which moves it out to Tinley Park, Orland Park, Oak Forest and Mokena. Frankfort does not rely on Lake Michigan water. Instead it utilizes a system of aquifers.
Since Chicago and Oak Lawn are passing along the costs to its suburban users, the smaller municipalities are negotiating a fair rate that each will pay for improvements.
Baldermann complained that Chicago ignored its responsibility to maintain the Lake Michigan water delivery system for years. That's why the price tag is so high now.
The rate for sanitary waste processing is not impacted by Chicago's increases, added Carroll. The New Lenox Sanitary Waste plant is operated independently.
Board members hone-in on architectural design of the new police station
Architects from Oak Brook's FGM Corp. presented a series of photos and addressed basic designs that coincide with existing buildings within the village campus. A picture of a design used in a Minnesota police department caught the eye of the board. The selection of an attractive building with a traditional style much like the buildings around the campus provided architects with a stepping off place to begin a fresh design for the planned $10 million police station.
Architects are expected to present a preliminary design and sketches at the upcoming board meeting on Oct. 8.