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Water rates jump in Downers Grove in March

Published: Monday, March 4, 2013 1:37 p.m. CST

DOWNERS GROVE — The cost of water in Downers Grove will go up about 18 percent this month as officials pass along rate increases from the village's water sources.

On bills received after March 1, the rate per water unit — about 750 gallons — will go from $4.13 to $4.89 within village limits.

Unincorporated customers will pay $5.61, up from $4.76. Bimonthly customers will now pay, typically, $10.50.

The new rates reflect cost increases from the City of Chicago and the DuPage Water Commission, which in turn deliver Lake Michigan water to Downers Grove.

City officials, seeking to upgrade Chicago's sewer system, starting raising the price of water annually in 2012 so that by 2015, rates will have nearly doubled. This year's increase — a 15-percent jump — went into effect Jan. 1.

The DuPage Water Commission, meanwhile, raised its rates 20 percent this year. That reflects both the city's latest increase as well as the commissions's attempts to raise its own revenue. In 2016, the water commission's county-wide quarter percent sales tax will expire — a decision by state legislators as they revamped the water commission after a 2009 financial mismanagement fiasco — so commissioners are raising rates each year until then to establish a new revenue stream.

A 2010 village study found that if Downers Grove did not react accordingly to the new price moves, the village would exhaust the balance of its water fund within a year.

In December, the Downers Grove Village Council unanimously — and begrudgingly — approved the rate increases, while bracing for additional hikes down the road.

The water commission, which sells to more than two dozen communities including Downers Grove, will raise rates 18 percent in 2014 and 17 percent in 2015.

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