Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

July 6, 2012

T-Town residents will vote on aggregation plan

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

TEUTOPOLIS — Teutopolis village trustees unanimously agreed to let village voters decide whether to accept a proposed “community aggregation” program that officials say could lop more than 30 percent off the average residential or small business electric bill.

    The ordinance passed Thursday allows the following question to be asked of village voters: “Shall the Village of Teutopolis have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?”

    Voters will decide in the Nov. 6 general election whether they want to participate in the aggregation plan.

    The Illinois Power Agency Act, passed by the General Assembly last year, enables municipalities and counties to enter into cooperative agreements with one another — with voter approval — with the goal of providing residents with lower electric prices.

    Village President Jerry Weber said he and Trustee John Mette attended a Tuesday meeting in Charleston that included representatives from a number of municipalities in Coles and Effingham counties, including Effingham and Montrose. Weber said a followup meeting was set for next Wednesday, also in Charleston.

    At next week’s meeting, the group would decide which company to hire as a coordinator. Weber said the three finalists were Simec of Carbondale, and Independent Energy and Good Energy, both from northern Illinois.

    Trustee Kenneth Esker said his wife Mary Jane, a longtime utility company employee, would like to attend next week’s meeting as a private citizen. Weber said he would ask the coordinator if Mrs. Esker could attend.

    “She would probably know more about the subject than anybody else in the room,” Weber said.

    In other action Thursday, the board approved its annual appropriation ordinance. The ordinance legally enables the village to spend up to $4,139,500, though officials say the village would never spend that much in a calendar year.

    Also Thursday, the board discussed a proposed water rate increase. The increase would be driven by a recent rate increase in Effingham, where Teutopolis gets much of its water.

    If the board passed the ordinance this summer, water rates would increase by 4.35 percent. Someone living within the village’s corporate limits paying the minimum charge for using less than 3,000 gallons a month would see their monthly rate go from $23 to $23.75. Sewer rates would increase to $20.75 per month, a 4.3 percent increase.

    Customers would pay that rate through the 2015-16 fiscal year, with the exception of a slight increase in water rates only during the 2013-14 fiscal year. Those rates would decrease to the 2013-14 level the following year, however.

    The board also favors amending the present ordinance to prohibit floor drains in basements that are hooked up to the sanitary sewer. Trustee Dave Tegeler said that ban would give homeowners more protection against basement flooding.

    “All basement plumbing should be served by a lift pump,” Tegeler said. A lift pump would get the waste to ground level, where it could be properly routed toward the treatment plant.

    Village Clerk Sharon Will said she would give the proposed changes to Village Attorney Bill Austin for review.