Some Churches Face Steep Costs In Installing Water Meters

CHICAGO (CBS) — When it comes to water meters in Chicago, churches are getting by on a wing and a prayer.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports, for many years, churches and other non-profits – more than 6,000 of them – have been granted free water service from the city of Chicago.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports

Now, the Chicago Sun-Times reports, they’re being slowly weaned from dependency with deep discounts in their water bills.

But having to pay a new bill bills isn’t the only challenge. The Sun-Times reports the churches are also having to install water meters – a costly and burdensome proposition for struggling churches.

For one example, St. Paul’s Church-by-the-Lake, at 7100 N. Ashland Blvd., will have to pay $11,000 to install an underground water meter in its 98-year-old building, the Sun-Times reported.

Churches and other nonprofits have also calculated the bills they will have to pay – an exercise that has resulted in sticker shock.

Back in December, the Chicago Archdiocese said it expected a bill of around $2 million from the city.

Projected numbers were also staggering for some larger Catholic institutions. Misericordia, home to 600 developmentally disabled kids and adults, faces a $500,000 annual water bill. For Holy Name Cathedral, it will be $100,000 a year, CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reported in December.

City Water Management department officials say 400 churches still have no water meters, despite being told to install them so months ago, the newspaper reports.

The decision to end free water service for nonprofits came as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2012 budget. The bills will be phased in with increases over the course of four years.

  • john

    Another Democrat attack on the Church !

  • Miguel Rivera

    Mayro Emanuel and the city council are a bunch of leaches.

    • Teri

      He’s not the one who was getting free water.

  • Donny

    Holy water don’t come cheap

  • tom

    Maybe they can use some of the tax money they’re not paying.

  • franz

    Hey Tom, I send my kids to a catholic school, and I get a measly $500 state tax break. According to data I read here previously on CBS2 it costs about $11,000 to send 1 kids to CPS. I pay MY OWN WAY for 2 kids saving the city $21,500 multiply that x the 250 other students in my kids school and my school is saving the city $2,709,000. So when you crunch the numbers a break on water, garbage, and property taxes seems cheap. Multiply that x the other private schools in the city and the dollars we parents are saving our fellow taxpayers is staggering. Oh and please don’t forget the social services we provide (food pantries, clothing donations, etc) and the fact that we are turning out students that may have a better moral compass which helps lower crime and all the collateral damage and cost caused by kids that think nothing about shooting up a playground or raping a 13 yr old walking to school.

    They should keeps stats on where kids getting arrested for crimes attend or attended school. Maybe all the rukus about closing underperforming schools might seem like even more BS.

    People should be thanking us (and I am not just talking catholics, all other private school parents/kids too) and we should be getting huge tax breaks to boot.

    By the way, I am an average earner making average money. I sacrifice to pay my way and my life would certainly be easier if I didn’t

  • Jack

    blacks and browns need to pay their fair share.

  • tom

    franz, your children do not need an imaginary friend to be good people, that’s your job. The choice in sending them to an expensive school is yours, some will prosper in that environment and some will not, just like any other school. We do not have any children and I pay a lot more in taxes than people with children for programs I’ll never have a need for. If people want to support what ever house of worship they have fallen into they can support the tax bill for it also.

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