Flossmoor residents may soon be paying an average of $12 extra per month on their water bill thanks to a proposed storm water utility fee.
Flossmoor Public Works Director George Peluso spoke in front of the Village Board during their April 18 meeting in support of the fee. He said that an already stretched budget, aging storm water infrastructure and unfunded mandates from both the state and federal governments are largely responsible for the need of a separate fund dedicated to storm water management.
While Mayor Paul Braun expressed concern over the introduction of a new fee in a struggling economy, he ultimately gave his approval.
“I have to say that all of us (board members) take very, very seriously any time that we have to talk about any increases of any costs to our residents,” said Braun. “I hate to see any increase in cost at this point, but I think going forward … since we continue to avoid debt, which is a very good policy, this is something that the board should consider to (approve).”
According to Peluso, the Public Works Department used storm water utility fee implementation strategies in the communities of Tinley Park, Street Charles and Rolling Meadows as models to help determine the best course of action for the potential Flossmoor fee.
Peluso said they drew a conclusion based on the varied models.
“The least expensive and most efficient way to implement this (proposed) fee is through… a storm water utility fee based on a property owner’s water consumption,” said Peluso.
The recommended rate for the proposed fee is $1.50 per 1,000 gallons used. According to Peluso, the average monthly water consumption is 8,000, which means the new fee would cost the average resident $12 extra per month. He said the revenue from the fees would generate an estimated $450,000 per year.
According to Village Manager Bridget Wachtel, Peluso's proposal ensures the lowest possible fee rates.
“The board should have done this years ago,” said Trustee Jim Mitros. “… we are still suffering from the effects of the water fund where we don’t really cover our expenses.”
Peluso said the extra revenue would remedy the current system’s financial pitfalls.
“The fee corrects a structural imbalance in the Village’s finances between revenues and the cost to provide a major utility service,” Peluso wrote. “Further, in light of the , the proposed fee is expected to help alleviate a portion of the in the General Fund as a result of segregating these utility costs.”
The board unanimously agreed to proceed with their consideration of proposed fee. If approved, the fee will require an amendment to the 2012 fiscal year budget to establish a storm sewer fund. Implementation would eventually start based on the current water bill cycles.