Elburn residents won’t see an increase in water rates again this year

Village of Montgomery officials are working towards a goal of selecting a new source of water for the village by the end of this year.

Elburn’s water and sewer rates will remain the same again this year. The Village Board at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Feb. 22 decided not to raise the water rates for the coming fiscal year.

“We’ve got a lot of folks that are still struggling,” said Trustee Pat Shuberg.

According to village ordinances regarding water and sewer rates, “the charges shall be adjusted annually on May 1 by the greater of either the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 2 percent.” The CPI for 2021 is 6.6 percent.

When board members saw village staff’s recommendation for a 6.6% rate increase based on the 2021 CPI, they all balked, including Village President Jeff Walter.

“Personally, I’m not a big fan of a 6% increase,” said Walter.

Early in the pandemic, the Village Board decided to waive the rate increases for the fiscal year that began in June 2021. The village was able to replace the lost revenue with federal COVID relief money received by the village.

Also at the meeting, Walter said that in looking at the operating expenses and revenues for the current fiscal year, the operating budget is doing fine.

“I just look at the work that needs to be done and how it will be funded,” Public Works Department Superintendent Phil Van Bogaert said.

Village Administrator John Nevenhoven said that when the ordinances were created back in 2014 or so, the village was losing lots of money.

“We’re in a healthy spot right now,” he said.

Nevenhoven said that although the village does have a number of big projects coming up in the next year or so, the money to pay for capital projects should come from the connection fees for new construction.

“Those are the people that should pay for the additional demands on the system,” he said.

Walter asked for consensus from the board members on waiving the increase for this year and received it. The board will vote on the measure at the March 7 meeting.

“With COVID, the financial slow-down and now inflation, I’m fine with putting a hold on it.”