News - Joliet and Will County

Joliet plans to take over South Ridgewood, Greenfield sanitary districts

City says districts owe $819,000

Joliet checks the meter at this Greenfield Sanitary District lift station located on Rowell Avenue.

JOLIET – The city of Joliet expects to eventually take over two sanitary districts it claims owe $819,000 to the city.

The South Ridgewood and Greenfield sanitary districts are the only two that owe the city large amounts of money, a Joliet official said.

The issue came up at a City Council meeting last week during a discussion about a proposal for rate hikes in water and sewer service in Joliet. City officials were asked about the South Ridgewood and Greenfield districts.

“Those two we’ll probably take over completely as part of a settlement,” City Manager Jim Hock said to the council.

Attorneys for the city and South Ridgewood are negotiating the city’s claim that the sanitary district owes $622,000 for services not paid for since 2004.

Joliet claims the Greenfield district owes $197,000 for services not paid for since 2009.

Both districts provide a sewer system for residents in unincorporated areas that border the eastern boundaries of Joliet. The sewage is sent to a Joliet treatment plant, the use of which the districts are charged.

This summer, Joliet sent notices to both sanitary districts, and the residents they serve, advising that the city wants the money and threatening litigation.

The South Ridgewood district has a board that oversees operations and has been in court with Joliet previously, contending the city is overcharging for its services.

But the Greenfield Sanitary District no longer has a board, and residents there may not have paid any money for sewer services since 2008.

That is the last year when the Greenfield district entered a levy on property tax bills to collect money from residents, according to the Will County Clerk’s Office.

A city takeover of the sanitary districts “is going to take some time,” City Attorney Martin Shanahan said. “Greenfield is going to take a little longer because no one’s involved.”

The issue arose during the discussion of water and sewer rates when Utilities Director James Eggen was asked if the city is owed money from other sanitary districts.

“For the most part, they’re good customers,” Eggen said, adding that South Ridgewood and Greenfield are the two exceptions. “The reason it’s come to light recently is we’ve taken a more aggressive approach.”

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News