Village Zeroing in on Water Rate Increase, to Stay on City Water Till Further Notice

By Jeremy Coumbes on January 19, 2024 at 3:18pm

The picture of what a water rate increase would look like in the Village of South Jacksonville is starting to come into focus.

The Village Board of Trustees continued the discussion of a water rate increase during their committee of the whole meeting last night. Village President Dick Samples told the board last night that the village is still using Jacksonville water because the village’s water treatment plant is still months away from being back online.

The last time water rates were raised in the village was in 2004. Samples says the recent rate increase by the city means the village is now buying water from the city for $10.58 per 1,000 gallons, and only charging village residents $5.10.

Samples suggested raising the rate to $12.00 per 1,000 gallons and adding hook-up and maintenance fees, similar to what the city charges. The increases would have increased the average bill by $35.00.

After a lengthy discussion by the board, a lower rate increase was settled on as several trustees bristled at increasing the rates that much.

Trustee Paula Belobrajdic-Stewart said she understands several past boards have failed to increase the rates to keep up with rising costs, but it was not fair to the residents to put that burden on them all at once.

Samples says now the tentative rate that will be considered by the Trustees during the February meeting will be more palpable for village residents. “It appears that we are going to charge twelve dollars per thousand (gallons) for the first two thousand, and anything over two thousand gallons of consumption will be prorated down to eight dollars per thousand gallons.

It would be an increase of fourteen dollars [per month] for the basic consumption and roughly four to five dollars more for anything over two thousand gallons per thousand-gallon unit.”

Samples says something needed to be done to slow the continued revenue losses the village is seeing in the price difference. He says he believes the rate increase is needed as the village will likely be staying on the city’s water for an indefinite amount of time.

Until we can come up with a product that is as comparable as what Jacksonville is supplying us, then I see no reason to go back to our supply. Which truthfully was to me an inferior product versus what the City of Jacksonville is providing us now.”

Currently, the average water consumer’s bill in the village is $50.36, and under the new rates, the bill would increase by roughly $14.00 as opposed to the $35.00 they would increase if the village matched the rate and fees to account for the cost from the city.

Samples says due to supply chain issues alone, it could be as much as six months before the village’s water treatment plant is back online.