City Council will discuss the Wheaton's water rates at a planning session Monday after a study concluded the current water rate structure will not produce enough revenue to pay for the water system starting fiscal year 2013.
Municipal & Financial Services Group, the firm that performed the study for the City of Wheaton, made the following recommendations based on their findings:
Wheaton should increase revenues from water rates over the next three years to allow revenues to catch up with water system operating and maintenance expenses and to fund the full cost of operating and maintaining the water system. These increases should be in conjunction with the DuPage Water Commission increases for a total revenue increase of:
- 30% on Jan. 1, 2013 (20% DuPage Water Commission increase + 10% City increase)
- 25% on Jan. 1, 2014, (18% DuPage Water Commission increase + 7% City increase) and
- 20% on Jan. 1, 2015 (17% DuPage Water Commission increase + 3% City increase)
A new suggested rate structure would consist of a fixed charge related to meter size and a usage component.
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 increase in water rates to Wheaton residents reflects a 30 percent increase passed along to the city from the DuPage Water Commission (DWC). Wheaton’s cost to purchase water from the DWC is projected to be $4.3 million this year.
Wheaton receives its water from the DuPage Water Commission, which receives it from the city of Chicago. In the fall Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced an increase in its rates over the next four years to pay for upgrades in the city’s water delivery system. Chicago increased its rates by 25 percent for 2012 and will increase rates by 15 percent for each of the next three years.
The DuPage Water Commission transfers and sells water from Lake Michigan to 24 municipalities and unincorporated areas in the County. The commission’s funding comes from the sale of the water plus a quarter-cent countywide sales tax.
A video of the Aug. 27 presentation and Council discussion is available on the City’s website. The Water Rate Study Report document and the Water Rate Study City Council Briefing (which is the Powerpoint presentation displayed at the meeting) are also available on the City’s website.
Council will not take formal action Monday. The meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24 at City Hall, 303 Wesley St., Wheaton.