After holding the item from its last meeting to allow village staff to conduct further research, the village council voted 4-1 to approve hikes in the village’s residential and commercial water rates at its Monday night meeting.

Commissioner Terry Steinbach cast the lone dissenting vote, again asking that the water rate hike for senior citizens be eliminated from the plans. Her motion to amend the ordinance passing the increase was not seconded.

The increases will take effect at the start of the next fiscal year, which begins in May.

Residential and multi-family rates will be increased by 6 percent next year and then 3 percent in subsequent years.

In the first year of the increase, this will bring residential rates up to $2.58 from $2.43 per 100 cubic feet of water transmitted, while multi-family rates will increase from $3.12 to $3.31.

Commercial rates, meanwhile, will increase by 4 percent in the first year, bringing them from $4.03 to $4.19 per 1,000 cubic feet, and increase by 3 percent in subsequent years. Commercial rates were also raised by the village in 2004.

Senior citizen rates, meanwhile, will go up 3 percent in the first year from $1.90 to $1.96, and continue rising by 3 percent in future years. According to Village Administrator Michael Sturino, rates for seniors dropped by two percent the last time rates were raised in 2001.

Still, Steinbach said that leaving senior rates untouched would result in a loss of only $5,980 in village revenues during the first two years of the increase. At the last meeting, she cited increased prescription drug costs and other expenses facing seniors as among the reasons she would like to see their rate remain at its current level.

According to a report prepared by Sturino and Finance Director Judy Kovacs, the village is anticipating a $325,000 deficit in its water fund at the conclusion of the current fiscal year, which ends April 30. Projections show that if the rates were left unaffected, the village would begin to endure net losses in the water fund beginning in fiscal year 2011.

Forest Park’s residential rates are currently the second lowest among 11 area municipalities, with only Melrose Park having lower rates, according to information provided by Engineer Michael Stirk.

Forest Park receives 3.4 million gallons of water per day from the city of Chicago, 1.5 million of which it supplies to the villages of Brookfield and North Riverside through the Brookfield North Riverside Water Commission