SAUK VILLAGE | On the same day the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency cleared the village well water for use, the Village Board hiked water rates for residents.
The current rate of $3.50 per 1,000 gallons is raised to $5.50 per 1,000 gallons effective immediately. The rate will increase to $7.50 per 1,000 gallons on Feb. 14.
The increased rates are needed to cover the current operating costs, as well as the cost of installing and operating permanent air strippers on Well No. 1 and No. 2. Vinyl chloride was detected in the Sauk Village water but as of Tuesday, the IEPA said test results came back negative after portable air strippers were installed.
The public accounting firm of Theobald & Associates was brought in to analyze the current water revenues and expenses. Donald Theobald presented his findings to the board Tuesday.
"The current rate of $3.50 does not generate enough revenue to cover current expenses," Theobald said. "An increase to $5.50 will provide enough revenue to break even."
Theobald told the board they need to increase the rate to $7.50 in six months to help cover the cost of the air strippers.
The Illinois attorney general's office told the village it must assume the cost of the rented portable air strippers beginning Tuesday. The village also is responsible for the $50,000 spent for bottled water, and the $500,000 needed for the permanent air strippers.
"The second rate increase (to $7.50) is needed to cover these expenses," Theobald told the board.
Last month, the board approved an increase in water rates to $10.37 to pay for the Lake Michigan water project. Village President Lewis Towers vetoed that motion, saying it was too early to determine what increase was needed.
The two rate increases approved Tuesday night will not address the cost needed for the Lake Michigan water project.
The board also voted to override three other vetoes from Towers.
The board overrode the veto to deny funding for all personal expenditures of Police Chief Robert Fox. That means expenses submitted by Fox for reimbursement will be denied.
The board overrode the veto to change from a 12-month budget to a six-month budget. That means the village finance director will begin to put together a six-month budget for the next budget cycle, scheduled to begin in November.
The board overrode the veto to place cell tower lease revenue into a separate account. That means revenue from cell tower leases must be placed in a separate account from the general fund account.