If the suburban Chicago middle-class wasn’t already squeezed enough financially, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed budget is calling for a 70% hike in Lake Michigan water rates over the next four years. The proposal would increase the price of Lake Michigan water by 25% in 2012, then by 15% more for each of the subsequent three years. Since the majority of Chicago suburbs are sourced by Lake Michigan, the rate hike will undoubtedly lead to increased water bills throughout much of DuPage County.
At the current rates, the DuPage Water Commission spends nearly $60-million annually on water purchased from the City of Chicago. By 2015, the commission will be paying close to $102-million for the same amount of water. If the proposed budget is approved, you can expect that you will see a significant increase on your water bills starting next year. Some DuPage County villages such as Warrenville, where residential water is supplied via city wells, will see increases, but nothing in comparison to those village sourced by Lake Michigan.
This is a prime example of how the financial trouble in Cook County directly impacts its neighbors. Expect this trend to continue into the future. Cook County’s stronghold on Lake Michigan water will continue to be a source of revenue for Chicago to tap into, while suburban villages are held hostage to pay (as you kind-of need water to survive).