New Park Ridge water, sewer rates floated
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:10AM
PARK RIDGE — The cost of water is again going up in Park Ridge.
The Park Ridge City Council on Feb. 18 is expected to vote on the first reading of an ordinance setting new water and sewer rates, effective May 1. A second and final vote is expected to occur March 4.
The proposed rate structure increases the fixed charge according to meter size by about 2 percent. Most single-family homes will pay between $9.11 and $44.18 every two months according to this fixed charge.
Park Ridge is also looking at an increase in the city of Chicago’s rate from $2.51 per 1,000 gallons of water used to $3.03 per 1,000 gallons. In addition, the city of Park Ridge’s water rate is proposed to go up from $2.85 per 1,000 gallons used to $3.05 per 1,000 gallons.
The proposed fixed sewer rate is $3.10 per billing period and the proposed sewer rate is $1.32 per 1,000 gallons of water.
Most water customers in the city are billed once every two months.
During a Feb. 11 Committee of the Whole meeting 2nd Ward Alderman Rich DiPietro unsuccessfully attempted to lower Park Ridge’s water rate increase from $3.05 per 1,000 gallons to $2.93 per 1,000 gallons, citing the fact that the City Council has not yet decided if it will transition to an automated meter reading system that is estimated to cost $3.5 million.
Sixth Ward Alderman Marc Mazzuca supported DiPietro’s motion and suggested that if the council does decide to implement a remote system it should establish a surcharge that would specifically pay for the system.
“Until we’ve cost-justified an investment of $3.5 million, we shouldn’t be asking the residents for extra money,” Mazzuca said.
With an automated system, water users would no longer have to read their own meters. Supporters of the system have said it would improve accuracy.
“We are one of the last municipalities you will find that doesn’t have a remote system,” Finance Director Kent Oliven told the council. He did acknowledge that the city has not had a cost-benefit analysis performed regarding such a system.
First Ward Alderman Joe Sweeney attempted to defer sending any rate increases on to a regular City Council meeting for a vote because 4th Ward Alderman Sal Raspanti was absent from the Feb. 11 Committee of the Whole meeting. Sweeney’s motion failed, as did DiPietro’s motion to lower the increase of Park Ridge’s water rate.
Oliven said the fees are designed to cover operating costs, including the cost of water from the city of Chicago which has been rising annually by 15 percent, and capital needs, such as replacement of sewers.