By Bob Uphues
Riverside residents, who already pay some of the highest rates for water in the Chicago suburbs, will see their bills rising again in 2013. The latest rate hike is the second of four increases through 2015, courtesy of the city of Chicago.
In 2011, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city would increase the price of water it delivers to suburban agencies by 70 percent over a four-year stretch, beginning in 2012.
That increase came on the heels of a 44 percent increase between 2008 and 2011.
The village of McCook, which directs Chicago's water to Riverside, notified the village on Nov. 20 that it would be increasing its water rate by 12.2 percent.
Locally, customers won't feel the entire brunt of that increase. Instead, the village is passing on a water rate increase of 3.8 percent.
In 2013, the average water customer in Riverside — defined as a household that uses between 15 and 20 units of water per billing cycle (one unit of water equals 748 gallons or 100 cubic feet) — will see his bi-monthly bill rise between $4.69 and $6.25.
That means the average water customer will see an annual total increase in 2013 of between $28.14 and $37.50.
When the new rate structure takes effect in early 2013, it means that the cost of water to Riverside customers will have increased by 66 percent since 2007. By 2015, the increase in the cost of water to Riverside customers will have risen more than 80 percent since 2007.
What does it cost the average household in Riverside for water and sewer charges annually? According to the village of Riverside, the average household in 2013 will pay between $884.10 and $1,178.76.
The village board is expected to approve the water rate increase at its meeting on Jan. 22. According to Riverside Finance Director Jessica Frances, homeowners will see the increase on their February bill, which will be mailed in early March.
Since the village bills just half of the households each month, the other half of the village will see the increase reflected on their March bills, which will be mailed at the end of that month.