ISLAND LAKE – The next sewer bill for Island Lake, Lakemoor and Port Barrington residents and businesses will be higher than normal.
The Northern Moraine Wastewater Reclamation District Board of Trustees approved annual 7 percent increases starting May 1 and climbing each year for the next four years.
The June 1 bill will be the first to reflect the price increase.
The board was reluctant to make the changes but unanimously approved the move after a rate study showed what was needed revenue-wise to cover future equipment replacement, district manager Eric Lucuyer said.
The district’s revenue is adequate to cover its current needs but not enough to replace any of the equipment, he said.
“As a utility of our nature, our equipment is running all the time,” Lucuyer said. “We can’t afford to have a piece of equipment break down and cause sewer backups and basement flooding.”
The increase amounts to about $2 a month or $6 a quarter for residential users, who pay a flat rate regardless of their usage.
The board, which is made up of five trustees appointed by the Illinois General Assembly, also approved switching from a quarterly billing cycle to a monthly one.
A report prepared by district staff puts the reclamation district near the bottom of area agencies in terms of costs for residential consumers.
An average single-family home in the Northern Moraine Wastewater Reclamation District will spend about $338 under the old rate and $361.68 under the increase effective May 1. By the end of the five years, the cost will be $474.12 a year.
The cost for an average single-family home is $411.33 in Crystal Lake, $442.89 in Woodstock, $477.18 in McHenry, and $624.54 in Johnsburg, according to the report.
The reclamation district “has worked hard to reduce expenses,” Lecuyer said, pointing to reductions in staff.
The board also has decreased its property tax levy every year for the past three years, he said, from $396,000 in fiscal 2010-11 to $188,380 in fiscal 2013-14.
The last time rates were raised was in 2008.