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City council to reconsider water rates

The DeKalb City Council is slated this week to discuss raising city water rates on a gradually increasing schedule over the next five years. Public Works Assistant Director Bryan Faivre is expected Monday night to present to council members four different methods of raising water rates throughout the city. “The cost of delivering this product is increasing at rates not previously experienced,” City Manager Mark Biernacki said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. “With the current rates, we can't cover costs and certainly won't be able to cover costs as we move forward.” Biernacki and DeKalb Public Works Director Rick Monas cited a survey done by staff in the southern Illinois city of Carbondale that looked at the water rates of 331 Illinois municipalities. DeKalb's rate of $2.07 per 750 gallons of water was in the lowest fifth of municipalities examined. The goal for the rate increases is to eventually raise the rate to more than $3 per 750 gallons, Biernacki said. Aside from covering current costs, the increases are also to cover future expansion of water treatment facilities and personnel to run and service the equipment, Biernacki said. Council members will look at different schedules of rate increases to happen between 2008 and 2013. The presentations will be made during the committee-of-the-whole meeting Monday night. The council will only be considering the rate schedules Monday night and will make a recommendation to be voted on for approval at a future meeting.

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