Village cares for 61 miles of water, sewer lines
Updated: March 29, 2012 3:50PM
A postcard was recently sent out by a political party to many Village of Elmwood Park residents which referred to the new village water bill rates. The card only told half of the story. I will explain the other half.
Every dollar we pay for water goes into an entirely separate village Water Fund which is used to defray the expenses associated with the maintenance and improvements of both the village’s water and sewer systems.
No property tax funds are used, only user fees support both of these systems. The village maintains 61 miles of water and sewer lines, and like Chicago, segments of these systems are approaching 100 years of age and require constant maintenance. The village currently has 6,300 water and sewer accounts that must be maintained.
Our user fees pay for the water and sewer systems which are used to support the following functions and programs:
• fire hydrant repair and cleaning,
• maintenance and repair to the pumping station, reservoir, water tower,
• chemicals to re-chlorinate the water,
• water main and sewer service and repairs,
• leak detection services,
• maintenance to the water meter system,
• funding for the 5 box culverts at $650k each,
• water billing software,
• funding for the private flood control grant program, and
• research money for the village’s flood mitigation study.
No property tax monies are used to support the Water Fund, only fees are used. The Water Fund is self-sustaining and any surpluses go toward a contingency fund for water main breaks and sewer cave-ins, as well as infrastructure improvements such as the new water mains on Leonora Lane, sewer lining projects and permeable alleys.
Our village is not alone in facing the water rate increases from Chicago. Of nine communities in neighboring Proviso Township, eight have rates higher than Elmwood Park.
Here are the sewer and water charges per 1,000 gallons for all of the villages in Leyden Township: Elmwood Park $8.51, River Grove $6.50, Schiller Park $7.53, Northlake $10.37, and Leyden Township $9.81.
Village President Silvestri is also serving on the West Central Municipal Conference Task Force, headed by Mayor Serpico of Melrose Park to fight these water rate increases from Chicago.
Chicago needs to be made accountable for this large increase. Why isn’t anyone questioning the city?