McHenry taps up 
its water, sewer rate

McHENRY – A 1.6 percent rate hike in water and sewer takes effect in February to keep pace with the rate of inflation.

The McHenry City Council unanimously adopted the increase Monday night at the municipal complex, 333 S. Green St. in McHenry. Under the ordinance, the combined water and sewer bill for 6,500 gallons of water will go to $45.38 a month from $44.73.

The adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index by the U.S. Labor Department for consumers in the Chicago-Gary-Kenosha area.

The 1.6 percent rate hike is slight compared with 7 percent increases in the past three fiscal years.

In 2008, the Finance and Personnel Committee and city staff recommended the 7 percent rate increases – greater than the annual rates of inflation – for those years because McHenry’s water and sewer fund was at a deficit and the city needed to generate funds for system maintenance and improvements.

The fund reportedly ran a $390,000 deficit in fiscal 2008-2009 and a $107,900 deficit in 2009-2010.

The city has, with the exception of the past three years, adjusted rates based on the rate of inflation since 1997. In February, a 2.7 percent increase kicked in.

The 7 percent increases helped the city grow and stabilize its water and sewer fund, and allowed it to apply the usual rate of inflation this year.

Also Monday night, the first City Council meeting of 2013, Public Works Director Jon Schmitt reminded residents there still is time to recycle Christmas trees and holiday lights.

The Christmas tree recycling program began Jan. 7 and runs through Jan. 18. Waste Management will pick up trees, with decorations removed, on regularly scheduled trash pick up days until Jan. 18. Trees will be recycled into wood chips.

The city also will collect holiday lights through the end of the month at two locations. Holiday lights can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the municipal complex, 333 S. Green St., or from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Public Works building, 1415 Industrial Drive.

“I think with the lights now coming down we’ll see more of that,” Schmitt said.

For more information, call the Public Works Department at 815-363-2186.

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