ELBURN – For the first time in nine years, Elburn residents will not see an increase in their water and sewer rates.
The village in 2010 realized that the water and sewer rates were insufficient to cover the costs of supplying water and sewer treatment. With no increases in the water rates since the 1980s and no sewer rate increases since the 1990s, the village was actually losing more than $20,000 a month in its water and sewer funds.
Village officials noted increased costs, decreased revenues and an aging infrastructure in need of maintenance as reasons for the need in 2010 to increase what it charged residents for those services.
Jeff Walter, then a village trustee, recommended a yearly review of the water and sewer expenses versus income, to determine what, if any increase should take place.
The base fee was created, in part, to pay for capital expenditures that the village had not attended to for many years. The usage rates are used for operating expenses, including chemicals, electricity, basic maintenance and lab supplies. To arrive at an amount that more evenly balanced the cost of providing the services with the revenues collected for them, the rates were increased over a number of years.
Elburn Public Works obtained a 20-year-low-interest loan in 2014 from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to pay for a $9 million modernization of the village’s waste-water treatment plant. Residents’ rates were the highest in the following three years.
Rates were increased in 2018 by 2 percent over the previous year. When village staff looked at the projected expenses and revenues for the water and sewer funds for fiscal year 2019-2020, they saw that the funds were at a good equilibrium, in part due to the recent growth in the village population, which spreads the cost to provide the services over a larger number of users.
“We are taking a pause this year, and then we’ll see where we’re at,” Village Administrator John Nevenhoven said.