FOX LAKE – Fox Lake residents are likely to see their water and sewer bills go up more than 50 percent this fall.
The village of Fox Lake moved ahead with a plan that will raise rates to fund capital improvement projects that are "absolutely necessary," Village President Donny Schmit said.
At its meeting Tuesday evening, the Village Board asked the attorney to draw up an ordinance that will be voted on in August.
The average Fox Lake resident pays $50.90 a month for water and sewer. If the rate increase goes ahead as planned, it will go up about $30 starting in October.
The village plans on building two elevated water towers – one for the south system as early as fall 2014 and another for the Tall Oaks system – and redoing the Tall Oaks system's treatment plant, which was built in the mid-1970s with a 25-year life expectancy.
"It's costing more to maintain it than it would to build a new one," Schmit said, adding that the rate increase means the village shouldn't have to raise rates for another seven years.
The village has applied for a loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to finance the first water tower. Engineering for the other two projects needs to be completed before those can move forward.
Another smaller rate increase is planned by the Northwest Regional Sanitary District, of which the village is a member. All users in the district will see their bills go up $1.50 a month starting in January to pay for a detention area in Round Lake.
When large storms happen, the treatment plant in Fox Lake can't process the water quickly enough, Schmit said. To prevent that water from getting into the areas' lakes and rivers, it will be sent to a detention area and then on to the treatment plant once it catches up.