Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

March 1, 2014

Effingham city officials considering raising water rates

Wholesale users on the line

EFFINGHAM — Effingham area water districts will likely see a hike in their wholesale water rates —  a hike that will possibly have a ripple effect for Effingham City residents as well.

Currently, Effingham not only provides water to city residents, but also provides wholesale water to outlying areas, including Lake Sarah Water Cooperative, the Village of Heartville, Snake Trail residents, EJ Water Cooperative and the Village of Teutopolis. A variety of factors contribute to the possible increase, said Director of Public Works Steve Miller. Several decades-old water agreements are expiring for various surrounding water districts, many of which have incurred additional costs with infrastructure, employees and distribution of water.

“The increase comes from the fact that our rates have been held down for years,” said Miller. “Because of that, we haven’t generated adequate funds for reserves and cash flow backup.”

The Village of Teutopolis has been considering its options for wholesale water purchases, and has sought running a water line to Newton. While that possibility is still in the works, the city council is set to approve a one-year agreement with the village to give it more time to decide its future water purchases.

“They (the city of Effingham) are working hard to put forth a good-faith effort on this, but depending on how quickly they get it done, we might be too far in another direction,” said Village of Teutopolis Mayor Greg Hess of the village’s long-term plans. “Before this, Newton offered us a cheaper rate, along with cheaper rate increases for the next 40 years.”

The new rate also would raise water bills for Lake Sara Water Cooperative customers.

“We had a 40-year water contract with the city that is expiring,” said Bob Kennedy, Lake Sara Water Cooperative Board member. “We are trying to negotiate the best rate possible, but Lake Sara customers will definitely see an increase on their bill.”

Kennedy said he prefers not to speculate as to how much the increase might be until negotiations end. It may differ from city of Effingham residents, because the co-op purchases water from the city at a wholesale rate and resells it to lake residents.

Kennedy said while the co-op prefers to purchase water from the city, it is looking to get the best deal possible for Lake Sara consumers.

On the other side of the county, Snake Trail Water Association is similarly waiting to decide its future water source. Although the Snake Trail area — between Teutopolis and Effingham — has only 48 residential customers, the formation of a water association is due to its location. Having talked to both the Village of Teutopolis and city of Effingham about possible water purchases in the future, the association is waiting for a final negotiated water rate before making a decision. Customers in that area, though, will likely see an increase as well.

“We had run for about 30 years and never raised our rates,” said Snake Trail Water Association Secretary Treasurer Bob Weissing. “We operated at a loss for the last two years. We have to raise our rates, but Effingham’s decision effects by how much we do that.”

Heartville plans to continue service with the city of Effingham.

“We will probably go along with whatever the city of Effingham does,” said Rich Raber, chairman of the Heartville Public Water District. “They have always treated us extremely well.”

According to Miller, a water study the city had done determined an appropriate increase for the city’s financial health, while considering the raise to the customer. The city is keeping in mind rates could change for city residents if area consumers go another direction, he added.

“The city rates could go up if the other water districts leave us,” he said.

Although Miller admits rate increases are never popular, he said the rate being considered is “reasonable considering the circumstances.”

“I believe the rates have been negotiated in good faith,” he said. “We have spent a lot of time to get to this point.”

Effingham City Council is expected to discuss the proposed rate increases Tuesday.

Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 138 or tony.huffman@effinghamdailynews.com or on Twitter @ednthuffman



 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 7-23 crossroads walker.jpg Walking for life

    A group of nine Crossroads Walkers braved temperatures approaching 90 degrees Tuesday to walk from Greenville to Effingham as part of a cross-country walk designed to call attention to the pro-life movement..

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Concealed-Carry-Clothing-Suit-Jacket-400.jpg Concealed carry objections addressed

    In an effort to offer reasoning behind denials for concealed carry permits, Illinois State Police is assisting the Concealed Carry License Review Board in implementing additional measures to regulate the permit process.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Concealed carry objections addressed

    In an effort to offer reasoning behind denials for concealed carry permits, Illinois State Police is assisting the Concealed Carry License Review Board in implementing additional measures to regulate the permit process.

    July 22, 2014

  • Jay Miller faces more charges after alleged jailhouse attack

    An Altamont man already facing a minimum of 15 years in prison for contributing to the heroin overdose death of an Effingham woman in February could be facing even more prison time after allegedly attacking another inmate in the Effingham County Jail visitation room this past weekend.

    July 21, 2014

  • MIller, Jay C 021314.jpg Jay Miller attacks trial witness

    An Effingham County Jail inmate is facing additional charges after allegedly assaulting another inmate.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vehicle overturns in accident on I-70

    An accident on Interstate 70 sent one driver over a guardrail and down an embankment near Altamont.

    July 20, 2014

  • Three drivers injured in Vandalia accident

    A four vehicle accident in Fayette County sent three drivers to hospitals.

    July 20, 2014

  • preview.jpg Bus delivering school supplies to children

    Through 19 years, two buses and thou­sands of dollars in donations, families in need have been able to do their school shopping for free through the Ramblin’ Rose School Bus.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • BRIANBLOOM-300x200.jpg Opinion: Community should be more inclusive in face of fliers

    This past weekend Effingham residents reported that leaflets, placed inside a rock-laden bag, were distributed promoting the mantra of the Ku Klux Klan.
    At least the rocks have a modicum of value.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grand jury indicts woman for bilking child care center

    An Effingham woman was indicted by an Effingham County grand jury this week in connection with the alleged theft of funds from a local early childhood center.

    July 18, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.