New Lenox is considering another study of its sewer rates to ascertain whether it needs to increase its rates in the future or possibly even lower the rate increases already set for the next few years.
Village trustees Monday night approved two contracts with municipal financial advisers Ehlers Inc., totaling $24,000 for two separate studies.
One study will give the village the information necessary to decide whether a 50 percent discounted rate on impact fees still is necessary for the growing community. The discounted rate on the water and sewer connection fees was given to new developers in the past several years to spur housing growth.
The other study will help the village see where it is in terms of expected revenues from sewer fees in light of upcoming infrastructure improvements such as the planned large-scale regional wastewater treatment facility and a redundant water line that is underway.
The village had done a study in 2015, which led to increasing sewer rates from 2016 to 2021, as the village planned for an overhaul of its wastewater treatment system. According to that 2015 ordinance, residents should see 5 percent,
4 percent and 3 percent increases in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Mayor Tim Baldermann also said the board would look to balance any increases in fees so not only current residents but also future residents would shoulder the burden. The infrastructure changes are planned for at least 20 years of village growth.
Baldermann said after the meeting that commissioning the study on the sewer rates does not necessarily mean sewer rates will go up, and the study is necessary to see if the village is “on track” with the increases made previously.
He said the study could show that the village might not need to continue the rate increases planned for the next three years if the village is on track with revenues needed for the upcoming infrastructure projects.
He added that “if there is a gap,” the village also has options to look at other sources of revenue. Those studies should be completed by January, at which time the village will be able to start looking at options, he said.
The Village Board on Monday night also approved a $7,764 contract with Christopher B. Burke Engineering for a traffic analysis study, as the village plans a dog bone roundabout for the corner of Haven Avenue and Cedar Road.