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Sugar Grove to hike water, sewer rates

SUGAR GROVE – Residents and businesses in the village appear likely to soon pay more for their water and sewage.

Next week, the Sugar Grove Village Board is expected to approve an increase in the village’s water and sewer rates.

Justin VanVooren, Sugar Grove’s finance director, said village staff is recommending the board approve an increase in both the base monthly charge assessed to every water and sewer customer in the village, regardless of how much water is used, and the monthly use rates, as well.

Under the proposal expected to be approved by the board, the base monthly charge for sewer service would be increased from $8.67 per month to $9.30 per month.

The monthly base charge for water service would rise to a total of $9.49 per month. That figure would include $8.49 for the right to remain connected to the Sugar Grove water system and a $1 per month charge to help the village pay for the installation of new water meters in every home and business in Sugar Grove over the next few years.

The meter replacement monthly charge would rise to $2 next year and to $3 per month in 2013, VanVooren said.

Also this year, the village intends to increase its water and sewer usage rates. The rate for water would rise from $2.94 per 1,000 gallons to $3.15.

And the rate for sewage would rise from $2.95 per 1,000 gallons to $3.16.

All told, VanVooren estimated the bill for an average Sugar Grove home, which he said the village estimates uses 5,000 gallons per month, would increase from $48.10 per month to $52.55.

Should the village board approve the increases next week, as anticipated, VanVooren said, the increase should take effect in August.

Sugar Grove Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said the increases are necessary to help the village balance its costs against the revenue it collects.

In recent years, Sugar Grove homeowners and businesses have used considerably less water, Eichelberger said. He estimated usage has declined by about 25 percent or more in the last three years.

While that is good for the environment, as it means residents are conserving water, Eichelberger said, the village’s water and sewer accounts have suffered, as revenue collected has declined along with use. At the same time, he said, the village’s costs to maintain the water and sewer systems have not decreased.

“We have to keep that system running and maintained, no matter how many gallons of water are used,” Eichelberger said.

At the same time, the village also must replace all of the water meters in the community, as the meters installed about a decade ago have begun to reach the end of their useful life spans.

Eichelberger said the village intends to begin replacing the water meters this fall.

However, that project will require the village to take on some kind of debt to pay for the work, and the village will use the additional monthly charge to pay it off.

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