Chicago suburb raises rates to pay for $5 million sewer project

Nov. 3, 2000
Hampshire residents will see their sewer rates go up in the spring - about the same time construction work to upgrade and expand the village's sewer treatment plant begins.

By JENNIFER PATTERSON Daily Herald Staff Writer

HAMPSHIRE, Ill., Oct. 31, 2000 (Chicago Daily Herald)—Hampshire residents will see their sewer rates go up in the spring - about the same time construction work to upgrade and expand the village's sewer treatment plant begins.

The timing is not coincidental, leaders say.

The rate increase, from $2.60 per 1,000 gallons of usage to $4.79 per 1,000 gallons, will help pay for the $5 million project.

The average homeowner - someone who uses about 7,000 gallons each month - will see an additional $15.35 on each monthly bill.

Trustee Orris Ruth called the new charges the "worst-case scenario," meaning officials do not expect to raise them any higher after next spring as a result of the project.

"If the village were to succeed in getting another federal grant, that would reduce the (rates)," Ruth said.

The village already secured a $467,000 federal grant and used that money to pay for a required feasibility study and other engineering costs, Mayor William Schmidt said.

Schmidt and the village's economic development consultant and grant writer, Fredi Schmutte, traveled to the capital again earlier this year to lobby for even more funding.

"Our applications are in," Schmidt said. "They do have some money and we went after it."

Impact fees collected from several developers in recent years and funds set aside for utility work also will help fund the upgrade.

The sewer treatment plant, located on the far west side of the village on Mill Avenue, is in dire need of the work, Schmidt said.

The project will be the third major upgrade to the system, which was originally built in 1954.

It is currently running at near-capacity levels, and the technology used when the plant was constructed is far outdated, Schmidt said.

"There is so much new technology," Schmidt said. "We'll do a much better job of treating the water."

Now able to handle 450,000 gallons of wastewater each day, the plant will be able to treat up to 750,000 gallons daily when the work is complete.

The new rates are expected to go into effect in May, when construction is scheduled to begin.

The work is scheduled to last for about 18 months.

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