Larger Water Rate Hike Possible

Macomb, IL – As Macomb begins to grapple with a budget gap, the city's top administrator says water rates might need to be increased even more than planned next year.

The city originally anticipated it would increase rates 17% in its next budget year, which begins May 1. That's on top of a 20% hike this year.

City Administrator Dean Torreson told aldermen this year's hike increased revenues by $300,000 compared to this time last year. But that's just a 13% increase in the amount of money taken in, which is not as much additional revenue as projected.

He blamed the poor economy and a drop in usage.

"In putting our numbers together over the past two weeks, it now looks like we're going to need a 20% rate increase in the spring of 2010," said Torreson.

You can listen to Torreson's entire presentation about water rates by clicking on the audio button.

Torreson said even with the larger rate increase, the water fund might not contain more than around $50,000 by the end of the 2010 budget year.

Torreson told aldermen the city will try to save some money by delaying maintenance on water towers and mains.

The city's water fund contains money for day-to-day operations and for construction. Torreson said the goal is to eventually separate those into different funds.