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Wheaton water rate increase to take effect Tuesday

WHEATON — After the Wheaton City Council voted unanimously Nov. 19 to add a fixed charge to residents’ water bills and to increase the rate for water usage, the approved changes will begin with the new year.

An outside consultant’s study of Wheaton water rates from August showed that the city’s current water rate will not generate enough revenue to cover the costs of providing water service. The study recommended the city increase the amount it charges customers and change the way monthly water bills are calculated, according to a city news release.

The City of Chicago and DuPage Water Commission will increase the amount Wheaton pays for Lake Michigan water by 20 percent in 2013, 18 percent in 2014 and 17 percent in 2015, which is the main reason behind the changes to Wheaton’s water billing system.

Wheaton’s water system is entirely supported by customer fees. More than half of water customer revenue pays for the cost of purchasing water from the City of Chicago and DuPage Water Commission, while the remaining amount pays to operate and maintain water lines and equipment.

The water rate study recommended the city increase revenue generated by water customer bills by 30 percent on Jan. 1, 2013, 25 percent on Jan. 1, 2014, and 20 percent on Jan. 1, 2015.

In order to generate the necessary increases, Wheaton will add a fixed service fee to customers’ water bills and increase the rate for water usage.

The service fee will be a flat, monthly charge based on the size of each customer’s water meter.

Parts of Wheaton’s water system are more than 60 years old. Over the next five years, the city plans 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.

For additional information, please visit the City of Wheaton’s website at www.wheaton.il.us.

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