By Bob Uphues
Riverside homeowners will see an increase in water and sewer rates for the second time this year after village trustees voted to increase each by 2.97 percent at the village board's June 18 meeting.
What that means, said Finance Director Karin Johns, is that residents paying the village's minimum water bill of $90.85 per bi-monthly billing cycle will pay $92.62. That's an annual increase of $10.80.
Those households consuming an average amount of water, said Johns, will see their bi-monthly bills rise from $163.87 to $167.83, an annual increase of about $24.
The overall increase in water and sewer charges ends up being less than 2.97 percent, because every customer's bill also includes a bi-monthly infrastructure fee of $30. That charge is not changing.
The decision to hike water and sewer rates, which were effective retroactive to June 1, comes after the village of McCook, which supplies water to Riverside, announced it was raising the rates it charges Riverside for water.
In May, McCook informed Riverside it was raising its rates by 2.97 percent, because the city of Chicago was raising the rates it was charging its customers by 2.45 percent. Chicago previously this year had increased rates to McCook by 0.82 percent, but the village did not pass that increase along to its municipal customers, like Riverside at the time.
For Riverside customers, the most recent hike comes as a double-whammy after the village on Jan. 1 had increased water charges by 4.41 percent and sewer charges by 10.5 percent.
The increase had been the village's first since June 2018, and at the time Johns said the increase was needed to offset "personnel cost, including collective bargaining agreements, insurance and pension costs and the water and sewer fund paying a proportional share of the administrative staff costs."
The village board's action on water rates came in February, with charges retroactive to Jan. 1. The increases raised bimonthly minimum bills by $3.10, or $18.60 annually. The bimonthly water bill for an average water customer went up by $6.82, or $40.92 annually.