Chicago Heights reaches settlement agreement with Hammond over water issue

2013-02-05T18:00:00Z 2013-02-05T20:38:39Z Chicago Heights reaches settlement agreement with Hammond over water issueChelsea Schneider Kirk Paul Czapkowicz The Times nwitimes.com
February 05, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO HEIGHTS | The City Council on Monday unanimously approved an ordinance that allows Mayor David Gonzalez to execute a settlement agreement to resolve all pending litigation with the city of Hammond and the Hammond Water Works.

The City Council also unanimously approved a purchase agreement with the city of Hammond for the provision of Lake Michigan water.

Chicago Heights had filed a federal lawsuit and a case with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission last year to contest Hammond's proposed water rate increase.

Corporation Counsel T.J. Somer said Chicago Heights will pay the increased rate of $2.20 per 1,000 gallons of water for a 20-year period.

"Every two years there is a rate adjustment, and the new rate will then equal 88 percent of Chicago's rate," Somer said.

In late June, Calumet City also approved a new contract with Hammond at the increased rate of $2.20 per 1,000 gallons.

Originally, Chicago Heights and Hammond were scheduled to file a motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit at the end of January. However, the two communities asked for more time because of the "public processes required for formal approval and execution" of the settlement documents, federal court records show.

The new deadline to file for dismissal is Feb. 14.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. previously confirmed to The Times the communities had reached a verbal agreement for Chicago Heights to pay the $2.20 rate.

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