Pec Water Increase






By Chris Johnson


PECATONICA – The issue remains, residents have complained about the elevated water rates and bills issued from the Village of Pecatonica, however, the results from a recent Water Rate Study indicate some additional changes may be required. Residents may not like the next possible move by the Village Board. Some may not understand why the bills are as high as they are already.

Village President Dan Barber said information presented during last week’s Public Hearing identified some deficiencies. The Municipal Water Supply System is severely lacking in the capacity to develop even a small savings towards a possible down payment on a State Loan. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are going to have to be spent and the Village doesn’t have the money to do it. Barber said if it weren’t for a clerical miscue, action would have already probably taken place on the possible water rate increase.

“The Village Attorney mistook which rate structure was approved. We had proposed what we would have to do, but some of the information was incorrect. We will have our second reading on Ordinance 2015-11 on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at our next Board Meeting. Prior to that, we hope to be able to offer another Public Hearing on what we are going to have to do.”

There isn’t enough money saved up to have work done, which is going to be mandated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The deal for the construction of the new Sewer Treatment Plant caused the last spike in a resident’s combined sewer/water/garbage bills they receive at home.

Now with the results from a long-awaited reveal of a Water Rate Study, it looks like those bills are going to see an increase again. The Village President said residents might have to be ready to pay a little more.

“Before we have to raise the rates, after Trustee approval, we will hold another Public Hearing. The reality is, that residents could see an increase by the next billing cycle, if the Board approves the Ordinance. It will be important for residents to attend the upcoming Public Hearing where we will discuss the Water Rate Study.”

The date and time of the next Public Hearing has not been released yet, as soon as it is, we will report it here in the Gazette Newspaper.

The facts are going to show that the Village just can’t move forward without action having to occur, according to Barber.

“We are pretty sure what we have to do. We can justify the rates and we have to be able to get some things going to get us back on track. It could be an increase of around $15.00 over the next five years. It would be gradual.”

If the Village does not take the action, if it chooses to not have a rate increase at this time, penalties and opportunities missed could be the outcome. That’s just the reality, according to Barber.

“My goal, when I took office, was to try to assure we would be moving in the right direction. It is the Village’s responsibility to provide safe drinking water and reliable sewer services to our residents. We have to get some work done and it is going to be expensive. We don’t have enough savings built up. We know that in order to possibly qualify for a low-interest loan from the State of Illinois, we are going to have to prove we have the revenue to support it.”

Cost estimates, already presented to Village Trustees, show that a required act, such as having to repaint the water tower, would cost the Village hundreds-of-thousands of dollars.

The Village will post information on its upcoming Public Hearing through the Village Clerk’s office and on the municipal website.

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