Park Ridge Park District: New rates just shift cost burden
Updated: September 3, 2012 12:55PM
PARK RIDGE — Representatives of the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District are asking city officials to reconsider their approval of a new water-rate structure due to the added costs the governmental body will incur.
Park Board Commissioner Mel Thillens addressed the Park Ridge City Council last month, asking for a revote on a motion approved the previous week to establish new water rates for all community users.
A motion to reconsider the rate increase could be taken up at the City Council’s Aug. 20 meeting. For now city staff has been directed not to send out notices to residents advising them of a change in their water rates. The rate change was to have occurred at the end of August.
Thillens said the revised fee structure, presented to the council by 6th Ward Alderman Marc Mazzuca, will increase Park District costs by $28,000 annually. He said the structure puts a “disproportionate burden” on consumers who have water meters of 2 inches or greater because of the high base charge required. The rates also charge the Park District for meters where there is no water use, such as in a park that no longer has a water fountain.
“The burden is being shifted from the city’s customers to the Park District’s customers,” Thillens said of the rates. “Either way, the residents are still paying the costs.”
On July 16 the City Council approved a water-rate structure that results in higher costs for larger meter sizes. In comparison to an earlier structure supported by the City Council these rates lower the fixed charge for residents in smaller, older homes and raise the fees for consumers with large water meters.
First Ward Alderman Joe Sweeney and 4th Ward Alderman Sal Raspanti voted against new rates, saying they would impact schools and the Park District the most. Concerns about the expense to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital were also expressed by Sweeney.
Thillens said the higher costs to the Park District may need to be recouped through property-tax increases.
“We’ll be forced to pay these large meter fees and passing those tax increases to people who may not be using water,” Thillens told the council.