Village Board to Discuss Water Rate Increase as Plant Rehab Slowed by Supply Chain

By Jeremy Coumbes on January 8, 2024 at 12:27pm

The Village of South Jacksonville will be looking harder at a water rate increase in the new year. The village is still utilizing water from the City of Jacksonville as repairs to the village water treatment plant in Oxville remain stalled due to supply chain issues.

Public Works Superintendent Brian English updated the Village Board of Trustees Thursday night on the continuing work to bring the water treatment plant back online. English said the village remains on water from the City as the water plant project has been stalled due to continuing supply chain issues.

Last month the City of Jacksonville raised water rates for the new year between an average of $2.50 to $6.00 per customer. South Jacksonville Village President Dick Samples says between the cost of water from the city and ongoing expenses to get the village plant back online, the village’s budget is stuck between a rock and a hard place. He says the village’s current water rate charge is far too low to cover costs.

Our current rates, which have not been raised since 2004, are approximately one-half of what it costs us to buy water from the City of Jacksonville. And there is nothing wrong with what the City of Jacksonville is charging us. But it’s a matter that we haven’t kept up.”

Samples says the average water customer in the Village currently pays $4.70 per 1,000 gallons used, compared to the $10.58 the City charges for the same amount. The total averaged approximately $13,000 in shortfall during December.

Samples says water rates will need to go up in the village to stop the bleeding as it could take as much as a year to get the village plant back online, with much of that being due to setbacks with delays in getting materials.

We are looking at trying to get the stuff we had ordered, and that stuff being the media, which is the cleaning product. It’s still going back to Covid and the problems they experienced there and you just can’t get the materials.

We have two electric motors that have been on order forever and neither one has come in yet. We have a generator that’s been on order and it hasn’t come in yet. The only thing I can tell you is it’s ordered because that’s the only thing they are telling us- it’s ordered.”

Samples says it could cost upwards of half a million dollars to get the Oxville plant back online when all is said and done.

The trustees will next meet in Committee of the Whole on January 18th where they will have further discussion on a possible water rate increase.