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Local News

Joliet looks at hike in water, sewer rates

The Salvation Army plans to open a resale store in this Century Tile building at 1395 N. Larkin Ave. The Joliet City Council on Tuesday approved the special use permit needed to covert the store into a resale shop.
The Salvation Army plans to open a resale store in this Century Tile building at 1395 N. Larkin Ave. The Joliet City Council on Tuesday approved the special use permit needed to covert the store into a resale shop.

JOLIET – Joliet officials are considering a hike in water and sewer rates that could go into effect in October.

City Council members are likely to question the need for a rate hike, which could be anywhere from 9 to 36 percent in two scenarios presented to the Finance Committee on Tuesday.

The city’s utility director told the committee his department is facing financial problems in three years without a rate hike.

“By 2018, we’re going to run out of money if we don’t do anything,” Utilities Director James Eggen told the committee. “We’re trying to maintain prudent management of the system.”

The water and sewer department typically runs on revenues collected through rates.

Council members showed some reluctance to consider a rate hike.

Councilman John Gerl noted the water and sewer department currently has a $29 million cash balance and said, “I think we need to look at that before we consider an increase.”

Finance Committee Chairman Michael Turk, reporting to the full City Council after the committee meeting, said staff was looking at enacting a rate hike in October but added, “It’s too early right now to say if and what that would be.”

The city’s last increase in water and sewer rates was from 2009 to 2011, when rates were hiked 35 percent the first year and 5 percent in the next two years.

The proposed rate hikes are in a study being developed for the city by consulting firm Burns & MacDonnell.

The report made to the committee noted water and sewer projects planned for the next 10 years total $223 million. Of that, $71 million would be spent on projects mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Salvation Army

The City Council approved a special use permit for a The Salvation Army resale store at 1395 S. Larkin Ave.

The Salvation Army store would be the second charitable organization this year to open a resale shop in space previously occupied by a mainstream retailer on one of the city’s main commercial corridors. The store would go into a 22,000-square-foot building still being used by Century Tile.

The Salvation Army would use the entire building. Century Tile may relocate to another spot in the city.

Earlier this year, St. Vincent de Paul opened a resale shop at 1820 W. Jefferson Street, taking a space that had been occupied by an Aldi grocery store. Aldi moved to a new store on Jefferson Street.

St. Vincent de Paul has another Joliet store in the downtown area.

City Manager Jim Hock noted to the City Council at its workshop meeting Monday The Salvation Army previously had a store downtown, but it was displaced in the early 1990s by construction of Harrah’s Casino and its parking deck.

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