The question of water rates was settled in Hickory Hills at the Jan. 28 council meeting with a unanimous approval of an ordinance affecting water rates, delinquent charges and turn-on fees.
Approval of the ordinance established a rate consisting of a basic user charge, water rate, minimum billing amount and a minimum charge for the use of water supplied by the City of Hickory Hills.
What this means to residents is that effective this past Monday, the basic user charge is $5.25 per month, increased from $4.80, regardless of whether any water is being used. The rate for water used shall be $7.80 per 1,000 gallons, increased from $7.26.
The ordinance also established a minimum charge for commercial users at $39 per monthly billing, and a $93.60 minimum per quarterly billing for residential users.
However, any single family residential user who qualifies as a senior citizen ages 65 years or older shall not be subject to the minimum billing amount and minimum charges.
Also outlined in the ordinance were new consequences for late pays on water bills. If a bill is not paid within 30 days, the city clerk will send a notice of delinquency by mail. The notice will state that if the delinquent bill is not paid within 10 days from the date of the notice, the water services will be turned off. The service will not resume until all water bills, including delinquencies, have been paid.
In order to restore services, there will be a $50 turn-on fee. If the city is required to restore water service more than one time in a 24-month period, the turn-on fee will be increased by $25. The fee will increase by $25 with each additional turn-on required.
Other action by the council resulted in good news for residents. The council voted unanimously to not add a $2.50 surcharge fee to the water rates that had been proposed by Treasurer Dan Schramm at the Jan. 14 council meeting. The surcharge proposal was to prepare for costs which would be imposed to satisfy mandates from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District regarding replacement of lateral lines to residential homes.
Public Works Director Larry Boettcher explained that he thought it was too early to try to plan for meeting these mandates of MWRD. “They have not yet been very clear on how a municipality is to accomplish these replacements. It is going to happen, but it is a long way down the road.
Aldermen Thomas McAvoy (3rd) and Mike McHugh (1st) agreed, saying there was not enough information yet on the mandates.
Schramm added that he was OK with waiting. “If we don’t have to do it this year, then I am fine with it,” he said.
In other business, the council approved an amendment to an ordinance changing the number of Class E liquor licenses from nine to 10, to include Sonny’s Slots & Café, located at 8841 W. 87th St. The vote to approve was 7-1, with Ald. Joe Stachnik (3rd) opposed.
In later comments, Stachnik said he voted against the ordinance as a protest to the name of the café.
“I would like the council to consider that a requirement be included in liquor licenses that the name of the business reflect a more residential atmosphere. We need to be conscious of the image we are projecting in the city,” he said.
Other approvals included the purchase of an Elgin Street Sweeper at a cost of $230,000 and final payments to a Gallagher Asphalt project, at $17,121, and $4,083 to AC Pavement Striping Company.