The Forest Park Village Council continued it overhaul of the village fee structure May 29, voting unanimously to increase water rates by 1.5 percent.
Since November, village officials have been raising fees in an effort to plug a budget deficit of more than $1 million.
Under the first water rate increase since 2015, the cost for residential customers will increase from $4.73 per 100 cubic feet of water transmitted to $7.31. Commercial, multi-family, senior citizen and institutional customers will see similar increases.
Forest Park officials said the village is no longer able to absorb annual increases from the city of Chicago, which supplies water to the village.
Referring to it as a “bitter pill to swallow,” Mayor Anthony Calderone said future increases from the city of Chicago would likely be passed on to residents as they occur.
“Whatever the increases are, we need to pass them along to residents due to our financial situation,” he explained. “The reality is that, moving forward, we are not going to have a choice but to pass these increases along.”
In response to a comment from Commissioner Tom Mannix, Calderone explained that increases from the city of Chicago are capped at the consumer price index or 5 percent, whichever is lower, since 2016.
Rates per 100 cubic feet of water transmitted for commercial/industrial customers will increase from $7.46 to $11.52; for multi-family customers from $5.96 to $9.20; for senior citizen customers from $3.66 to $5.66; and for institutional customers from $4.31 to $6.66. The rate for 1,000 cubic feet of water transmitted for industrial/commercial large meter customers will increase from $74.60 to $115.25.
Village Administrator Tim Gillian said the increases are expected to generate an additional $86,500 annually.
Other fee increases village officials have approved since November include parking permits, parking tickets, garbage pickup and ambulance service.
The combined fee increases are expected to generate more than $500,000 annually but village officials will not see that entire amount until each increase has been in effect for a full 12 months. The parking ticket fee increase is expected to generate an additional $250,000; the parking permit fee increase, $170,000; the ambulance service fee increase, $53,600; and the garbage pickup fee increase, $21,000.
“We’re not all the way there yet but we getting close to the bottom,” Calderone said when asked what other fees the village could increase.