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Des Plaines May Quit Buying Water From Chicago

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DES PLAINES, Ill. (CBS) — Officials in Des Plaines are considering quitting buying water from the City of Chicago, on the grounds that it is too expensive.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports, the Daily Herald reported Des Plaines city officials say they are spending too much on water from the city. As part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2012 budget, the City of Chicago raised its rates by 25 percent at the beginning of the year.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports


Des Plaines also raised its own water and sewer rates by about 21 percent retroactive to Jan. 1 to compensate for the rate hike, the Daily Herald reported. But the Chicago water rate hike calls for a 15 percent increase each year to come for four years, which would cost Des Plaines a total of $36 million, the newspaper reported.

Thus, the Des Plaines City Council approved spending about $68,000 on a feasibility study geared toward exploring other options for water service, the Daily Herald reported. The City of Evanston, or the villages of Wilmette or Glenview, are among the municipalities with their own water service that Des Plaines is considering buying from, the newspaper reported.

Residents of more than 100 suburbs purchase their water from the city, and they will see their bills double over the next four years along with city residents.

In his budget address last fall, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the hike was mandated to replace the city’s water mains, some of which are 125 years old.

“It’s an investment that’s long overdue in Chicago’s future, and it’s time we do it,” the mayor said last fall.

The $2.8 billion project would replace 1,000 miles of water and sewer mains and create 1,800 jobs for a year.

But other suburban mayors have also complained about the city’s water rate hike. Willowbrook Mayor Bob Napoli told the Chicago Tribune last fall that he believes his town should only pay for maintenance on the apparatus that delivers water.

Several western suburbs late last year tried to persuade the city to roll back at least a portion of the hike.

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