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Not yet on the City Council’s agenda, but hovering near the horizon, are increases in water rates for all Evanston water-users and in sewer rates for property tax exempt organizations.
The cost of upgrades to the water plant, not to mention water conservation measures throughout the City, is likely to be a 10 percent hike in water rates in the next few months. Information from the City shows that a single-family home uses about 106 billing units of water per year. Based on the current rate, the annual charge for 106 billing units of water is $147.92 according to City information. The 10 percent increase would be $14.79, bringing the annual bill to $162.71.
The matter was brought up as a discussion item on Aug. 9 at the Administration and Public Works Committee meeting. Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said, “I think it’s important that the community and water-users understand [the issue]. This is going to require a special meeting or a meeting with very few items on the agenda.”
Sewer rates will likely remain the same for individual users, but sewer rates for property-tax-exempt organizations, some of whom are the greatest consumers of water (the basis for sewer rates) may increase. Under the new, two-tiered rate structure, proposed to be in place by January of next year, entities that do not pay property taxes would see an increase in their sewer bills. Utilities director Dave Stoneback said, “These organizations use more than 100 billing units per month,” as compared with the 106 units used annually by single-family homes.
Some of Evanston’s largest institutions are the biggest water-users, and most of them do not pay property taxes. According to information provided by the City, of the 53 property tax-exempt organizations that could be affected by the sewer-rate increase, Northwestern University, Evanston Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, Presbyterian Homes, Evanston Township High School (District 202) and Mather Lifeways would see the largest jumps. On an annual basis, Northwestern would pay an additional $165,000 in sewer charges. Eight of the smallest organizations, for example, the Infant Welfare Society’s Baby Toddler Nursery on Main Street, would see no change.