Yorkville City Council approves water rate increase

The water tower in Yorkville's Bristol Bay subdivision

YORKVILLE – Aldermen have set in motion an increase in city water rates paid by utility customers.

The Yorkville City Council on March 22 approved an increase in the base rate effective Sept. 1, along with a hike in the volume rate that will be imposed on Jan. 1, 2023.

The base rate of $17 for the first 350 cubic feet of water used will be increased to $24.

The volume rate, which comes into play when use exceeds 350 cubic feet, will be increased from $4.30 to $4.80, for every 100 cubic feet over the initial 350.

For the typical household, the proposed increase will come to about $6 per month, with most families seeing an increase of less than $10 per month.

The increase is of course designed to cover the mammoth capital cost of bringing Lake Michigan water to Yorkville via the DuPage Water Commission.

Yorkville’s share of the water pipeline extension project, which also will include Montgomery and Oswego, is now estimated at $94 million.

After months of investigation and deliberation over the city’s future source of water, aldermen decided last December to tap into Lake Michigan rather than the Fox River, and to do so through the DuPage system.

Since then, the city has been negotiating with the DuPage commission while legislation is being formulated in Springfield to allow the three municipalities to use water from Lake Michigan.

The three also will be working on an intergovernmental agreement to split the cost of extending a pipeline from the DuPage water network.

It is expected that Yorkville residents will be drinking Lake Michigan water by 2030. They also are expected to be paying roughly twice the current rate.

Currently, the typical Yorkville family using 5,500 gallons of water a month pays about $47.

That household will be paying about $101 per month by 2030, based on current calculations.

The aquifer supplying the wells now used by Yorkville, Montgomery and Oswego is rapidly being depleted, prompting the quest for a new source.

The Illinois State Water Survey reports that without taking action, the three communities would be at “severe risk” of meeting water demand by 2050.

Yorkville’s population now stands at 21,533. By 2050 there are expected to be more than 47,000 people living in the community.

The combined population of Oswego, Montgomery and Yorkville is projected to reach more than 143,000 by that same year.

Meanwhile, the infrastructure fees paid by households to maintain the water, sewer and road systems in the community have been extended by one year.

At the same meeting, aldermen approved an ordinance reestablishing the fees, totaling $20.25 a month per household, running through April of 2023.

The per month infrastructure fees are $8.25 for water, $4 for the sewer system and $8 for roads. The fees are included on residents’ utility bills, which are received every other month.

Without action by the council, the fees were scheduled to expire at the end of this April.

The infrastructure fees for water and sewer maintenance are separate from the rates residents pay based on water consumption.

City Finance Director Rob Frederickson said the fees generate considerable revenue for the city to use for maintenance projects.

In the 2021 fiscal year, the water fee produced $822,094 and the sewer fee generated $394,933, Frederickson said, while the road fee raised $787,642.

Under the ordinance, residents with no motor vehicle housed or registered at their address are able to exempt themselves from the fee by filing an affidavit with the city, Frederickson said.