In our home budgets we usually make money at our jobs. We then use that to pay our bills. Sometimes the husband/wife/partner will have separate accounts. But after taxes and other deductibles, what is left, has to pay the bills, often by priority (food, heat, lights, mortgage, etc….).
In Village government, by law, there is a separation of spending, billing and accounting. Our budget is set in 3 categories. They are the General Fund, Sewer Fund and Water Fund. The General Fund is the largest as it covers street repairs, snow plowing, most vehicles and their maintenance, street lights, Frontenac Park, administration, and the list goes on and on.
But the Sewer and Water Funds are separate. Only money collected for sewer and water can pay for sewer and water costs.
Many of you know that you are billed a set amount for sewer maintenance ($90.00/quarter). That includes the wastewater treatment plant, all of the piping and pumps as well as staff.
On the water side you are billed $15.00/quarter for the standard operation and maintenance and $3.00 per thousand gallons for usage. This covers 2 wells with pumps, the hi-tech water plant, 2 strippers (to clean pollutants caused by the PowerEx/GE leaks), all of the village water pipes, main and secondary valves, and 2 water tanks (off Center Street and Grove Street). And I should probably mention the repair and replacement of the fire hydrants.
The tax rates for sewer and water are collected for the yearly working maintenance and operation of each system. Although we raised the rates recently, we realized that we are still operating at a deficit. Our goal is to implement small percentage increases (2-5%) on a yearly basis to keep up with the rising costs of operation, and not have large increases periodically.
We are having a Public Hearing to discuss these tax rate changes on Tuesday, April 17th starting at 6:00 pm. I promise to do my best to explain the process and to show how our fiscal diligence will keep everyone with safe and efficient sewer and water services.
P.S. – Please note that some emergencies (water main breaks, generator and pump failures, etc.) are not always covered with repair budget dollars. We hold a Reserve Fund Balance in each account to cover more expensive and sudden costs.
Additionally, the cost of the hydrant repair/replacement and main valve repair(s) is currently estimated at $700,000. This is also not covered and well beyond our current reserve fund balance.
Mayor Bud Shattuck