The City of Wheaton in coming months will consider changes to its water rates after a consultant's study concluded the city's current rate will not generate enough revenue to cover the service, according to a message from the city of Wheaton.
Consultants recommended the city needs to increase the amount it charges water customers ane change the way monthly water bills are calculated.
Wheaton City Council approved a 30 percent rate increase in January, increasing rates from $2.65 to $3.45 per 100 cubic feet of water, or about $9.60 per month for the average Wheaton customer.
The DuPage Water Commission (DWC) will significantly increase the amount it charges the city for Lake Michigan water over the next three years. The cost of water from the DuPage Water Commission will increase 20 percent in 2013, 18 percent in 2014 and 17 percent in 2015.
More than half of water customer revenue collected by the city goes towards the cost of purchasing water. The rest is used to operate and maintain more than 200 miles of water lines and the other equipment necessary to deliver water to more than 16,000 customers, according to the message.
The water rate study recommended that the city increase revenue generated by water customer bills as follows:
- 30 percent on Jan. 1, 2013 (20 percent DuPage Water Commission increase + 10 percent City increase)
- 25 percent on Jan. 1, 2014, (18 percent DuPage Water Commission increase + 7 percent City increase)
- 20 percent on Jan. 1, 2015 (17 percent DuPage Water Commission increase + 3 percent City increase)
Wheaton’s water system is operated as an enterprise fund, meaning the costs to provide water are entirely supported by customer fees. The water rate study concluded that the way the city is billing customers for water now – based on usage only – does not provide the long-term revenue stability necessary to support required infrastructure improvements. Parts of Wheaton’s water system are more than 60 years old. Over the next five years, the city needs to invest $8 million for capital improvements to the water system, including:
- $4.4 million in water main replacements
- $1.6 million in water tower maintenance
- $1.3 million in water meter replacements
- $400,000 for a computerized control system
To address this, water customer bills would include a service fee, which is a flat monthly charge that is based on the size of each customer’s water meter. Also recommended by the water rate study, the City plans to increase the rate for water usage. Combined with the monthly service fee, the increased usage rates will provide the necessary revenue to continue delivering safe, clean water to city water customers.
The City Council will consider a first reading of the proposed changes at the Nov. 5 City Council meeting. The proposed changes would begin with the January 2013 water bills.
More information is available on the City’s website, including the Water Rate Study Report, a video of the study presentation and City Council discussion, and a second City Council discussion regarding water rates.
Information courtesy of the City of Wheaton.
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