Water from Lake Michigan is getting more expensive for residents of La Grange and La Grange Park. We aren't the only ones: communities all over the Chicago suburbs will be paying more, thanks to a 70 percent increase in the cost of water from Chicago over the next four years.
- 25 percent on Jan. 1, 2012
- 15 percent on Jan. 1, 2013
- 15 percent on Jan. 1, 2014
- 15 percent on Jan. 1, 2015
Both villages have taken steps to bring their water rates in line following increases from Chicago that began this year. Here's how much more you can expect to pay for water in La Grange and La Grange Park.
La Grange Park
In the , trustees approved a 12.5 percent increase in the water rate at a The increase was approved unanimously and went into effect on March 1.
"[The rate increase] is almost exclusively a pass through from the cost increase from the city of Chicago," Trustee Marshall Seeder told the audience.
La Grange Park gets its water from the Brookfield North Riverside Water Commission (BNRWC), which increased its rate to the La Grange Park by 20 percent at the start of this year.
The Village Board has not yet voted on whether it will increase its rate again in the coming years.
La Grange's new rate for water goes into effect today and increases the price by 15 percent, following . The vote for the rate increase was tied between trustees and required a vote of yea by the village president to approve the increase.
La Grange gets its water from the Village of McCook, which raised its rates in response to the Chicago rate increase by 20 percent at the start of the year, with increases of 12 percent annually expected over the new few years.
La Grange's 15 percent increase this year, and subsequent 7.5 percent increases annually through 2015 will cover the increase in costs to the village as well as the replacement of water meters in the village. La Grange officials have estimated that the village has lost $1.1 million to its water fund in the last four years because of old and inaccurate water meters.
The new rate is expected to increase a resident's yearly amount paid for water by $100, with increases of $65 yearly for each of the subsequent rate increases. By 2015, the average La Grange resident will be paying nearly $300 more for Lake Michigan water each year.
What's on the Horizon?
Both villages are a part of the West Central Municipal Conference, which represents 44 communities in Cook County. Both villages (as well as others in Cook County) have complained that Chicago increased rates without consulting suburban communities first. The communities have added that the rate increases will only benefit residents of Chicago, not the suburbs.
The WCMC has created a task force to see what, if any, its legal options are in response to the rate increase and future increases down the line. The task force is also working legislation in the Illinois Senate. The Suburban Life reported today that members of the task force would meet with delegates in Springfield to work on SB 3658 to create the Water Rate Protection Act. The act would give suburban communities a bigger say in the increases from Chicago in the future.