Rate increase possible for McHenry Shores Water Co. customers

McHENRY – McHenry Shores residents could see their water rates go up.

The owner of the McHenry Shores Water Co., T.P. Mathews, said he submitted a rate increase request to the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Residents could see their bills increase by 200 percent to 300 percent within the next six months, he said.

The Illinois Commerce Commission was unable to confirm Friday afternoon that Mathews had submitted a request.

“If people don’t think that [rate increases are] happening, all they have to do is look at Lake Killarney and Holiday Hills,” Mathews said.

Holiday Hills saw its water rates more than triple in March when the local utility company, Holiday Hills Utilities Inc., raised its rates for the first time in 11 years.

Rates went from $2.53 per 1,000 gallons to $11.26 per 1,000 gallons, a 345 percent increase. The monthly fixed charge also increased from $6.85 to $16.20 on a three-quarter-inch meter.

In June 2012, the monthly bill from Killarney Water Co. for users of 4,578 gallons went to $43.59 a month from $15.48 – an increase of 181.6 percent. 

The city of McHenry looked into buying the McHenry Shores Water Co. after it found out Mathews had filed for bankruptcy.

After getting the results of a resident survey, the city offered $200,000 for the system, City Administrator Derik Morefield said. The city did not make another offer.

In spring 2011, the city offered Mathews $2,000 per household, or about $1 million, trying to negotiate down from Mathews’ asking price of about $4,050 per household, or about $2.1 million.

The city has been “fishing on low offers for about five years now,” Mathews said. “They’ve never seriously sat down to go over it.”

There is “a very good chance” Mathews will decide to keep the company, which serves 500-plus homes.

The bankruptcy is over $200,000 in claims, he said, and he has more than $12 million in assets. The water company is among those assets, which is why he is getting offers, but he could choose to sell something else to cover the claims.