By Emily Jankauski
The village of Mahomet’s water/wastewater department recommended to the board of trustees raising water rates 5 cents per 100 gallons of water used effective May 1.
The board reviews water rates, wastewater rates and connection fees annually.
The average monthly bill for residents, which is based on estimated use of 5,250 gallons of water, would increase $2.62 and thus raise the total monthly average bill to $30.72.
Water usage charges would change to 56 cents per 100 gallons of water. Use of 30,000 gallons of water and up to 50,000 gallons of water will be 50 cents per gallon, and the use of 50,000 gallons of water or more will cost 44 cents per gallon.
The village of Mahomet will not raise wastewater rates and connection fees in 2018. The water rate increase will provide a projected $71,941 of revenue for the village in 2018, which is based on the 143,883,000 gallons of water billed during the 2017 calendar year.
With two water main breaks last week, the aging infrastructure raises concerns for the ever-increasing water supply demands, and Village Administrator Patrick Brown said the concerns must be addressed by increasing water rates to maintain the infrastructures.
“The 5-cent water rate increase will help with more capital water projects that need to be done,” Brown said. “We want to be conscious of the overall bill, but we need the funds to do the water projects.”
Other board discussions included developing a cable/video service provider fee ordinance, which would allow the village to collect a fee from cable/video providers to replace the current franchise fee.
“The franchise agreement gave Mediacom the right to operate in the village,” Brown said. “When you use the village’s right of way (the area from the street to the sidewalk) for your utilities, you have to get permission from the village and pay a fee for that use.”
Discussions of creating an ordinance began when Mediacom Illinois LLC, a cable/video service provider, terminated its franchise agreement with the village of Mahomet.
The franchise agreements changed, however, in 2007 when the state of Illinois passed the Illinois Cable and Video Competition Law (Public Act 95-0009), which allows cable/video providers to establish their franchise agreements through the Illinois Commerce Commission rather than with municipalities. Mediacom Illinois LLC received its authorization to provide cable/video services from the ICC on Jan. 26.
The law also grants municipalities the authority to substitute lost revenue from the franchise agreement by creating a provider fee for the use of the municipality’s right of way, which Mediacom Illinois LLC pays quarterly to the village.
If the ordinance is approved, the village will continue to receive the estimated $44,000 to $48,000 in revenue from cable/video providers. Mediacom Illinois LLC will continue to pass this expense onto residents who use the cable/video services.
“Let me be clear, the cable companies will pass these fees onto residents’ bills,” Brown said. “Residents were already paying these fees when the village collected the franchise agreement. It’ll be the same as before, but it’ll just be a different name for the fee.”
In other business, the board members discussed an ordinance to establish building permit fees for the village’s handlings, on-site inspections and the review of plans for residential building accessories, such as decks, driveway right of ways, fences, garages, patios, pools and porches.
If approved, the ordinance would both establish new permit fees for patio plan reviews and provide an affordable fee for pool and fence plan reviews, as well as increase fees for deck, fence, pool and porch plan reviews. The increase is approximately 0.09 cent per gross square foot.
“After analysis and consideration of the amount of time spent with each type of permit, it was determined that raising the fees is appropriate,” said Ken Buchanan, building inspector and code enforcement officer. “The additional revenue would help offset the costs of the department.”
The new patio fee plan review provides assistance to current village zoning laws. Brown said the new review of patio plans will prevent drainage issues.
“You can only have so much concrete on your lot because concrete creates runoff and drainage issues,” Brown said.
The proposed patio permit fee is $50 and discussions concerning establishing a combined pool and fence fee of $100 would eliminate the separate permit fee of $50 for the pool and $75 for the fence, which would save residents $25.
Decks, pools and porches saw a $15 increase with the new total proposed permit fee set at $50, while the fence fee had an increase of $40 with the new proposed permit fee set at $75.
Board members also heard discussions from the Mahomet Parks and Recreation Department about a resolution to execute a contract for $121,052 with Jackson Quality Construction of Mahomet for renovations to the commons area and multipurpose room at the department’s 218 S. Lake of the Woods Road location. The bids were opened Feb. 9.
Renovations will include building walls to separate the multipurpose room used for adult fitness programs from the park and recreation department’s office spaces, adding a kitchenette, replacing the carpet near the common areas, replacing heating and air conditioning units and updating bathrooms.
If approved, renovations would start as early as March and the project would be done by July.
The board will vote on topics discussed at the study session at its next regular board meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 27.