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Local

Elburn approves water rate increase

ELBURN – Next month, village residents and business owners will need to pay more to run their faucets and flush their toilets.

The Elburn Village Board has increased its water and sewer rates. The combined water and sewer rate has increased by 30 percent, rising to $6.10 from $4.69 per 748 gallons. At the same time, the village has also slapped on a flat monthly charge of $10 over and above the usage charges.

The increase was passed by the village board unanimously. The board had discussed the increase for about two months.

For the median water customer in Elburn – a customer who uses about 6 to 7 cubic feet of water, or about 4,500 to 5,200 gallons of water per month – monthly bills would increase by about $19.

Customers who use less water, however, would see a sharper increase, thanks to the flat $10 monthly charge. If a customer uses 3 cubic feet of water, the bill would double, rising from $14 to $28 a month.

Elburn Village President David Anderson said he knew the increase would be unwelcome. But he said the increase was necessary to help the village plug a large leak in its budget, noting Elburn’s water and sewer departments were losing around $20,000 per month.

“For the rest of our (budget) year, the increase won’t help us much,” Anderson said. “But it will stop us from going any further down.”

The higher water and sewer rates will help the village balance its operating costs. And the flat $10 monthly charge will go to replenish the fund used by the village to pay for water and sewer system improvements. That fund had lost almost $500,000 in the last five years as the village has consistently lost money on delivering water and sewer services.

“There are some fixed costs and core responsibilities that we, as a village, have to deal with,” Anderson said. “And one of them is providing potable water.

“If a water main needs to be replaced, we need to have the money on hand to do it.”

Anderson said the board also directed the village to revisit the water and sewer rate structure at least once a year to determine if the rates are proper.

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