McHenry likely to OK smaller hike for water service

McHENRY – Water and sewer rates are poised to go up next month, but not as high as the 7 percent increases that were in place the past three fiscal years.

The McHenry City Council is expected at its Monday meeting to approve an ordinance increasing water rates by 1.6 percent, based on the annual rate of inflation.

Under the proposal, the combined water and sewer bill for 6,500 gallons of water would go from $44.73 a month to $45.38. The increase would take effect Feb. 1.

The rate adjustment is calculated using the U.S. Labor Department’s CPI for All Urban Consumers for Chicago-Gary-Kenosha.

The city had, with the exception of the past three years, adjusted rates based on the annual rate of inflation since 1997. A 2.7 percent increase kicked in last February.

“Over the years, the increases have been greater than the [Consumer Price Index] to build up the water/sewer fund,” City Administrator Derik Morefield said.

“This year, we were able to catch up, stabilize [the fund]. Now we’re able to do the normal rate increase based on the normal CPI.”

The Finance and Personnel Committee and city staff in 2008 recommended water and sewer service rates to go up 7 percent – rather than the rate of inflation – for the following three fiscal years to address the deficit and generate more funding for system maintenance and improvements.

The water and sewer fund reportedly ran a $390,000 deficit in fiscal 2008-09 and a $107,900 deficit in 2009-10.

By April 30, 2011, the fund’s operational revenues came to $827,000, said Carolyn Lynch, finance and accounting manager.

If you go

McHenry City Council
When: 7:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 7
Where: McHenry Municipal Center, 333 Green St. in McHenry

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