Oak Forest Raises Water and Sewer Rates in 2014

A 19-percent hike from the city's water suppliers is to blame for Oak Forest's increase, officials say.

Oak Forest residents' water and sewer bills could be higher in 2014 because of a city rate increase.

The City of Oak Forest has raised water and sewer rates beginning Jan. 1, because of a cost increase from water suppliers, according to a city press release.

Oak Forest receives its water from Lake Michigan thanks to a pact between the City of Chicago and the Village of Oak Lawn. The rate those municipalities charge increases 19 percent this year, the release stated.

“The cost of the water from Chicago is the largest component of the water rate,” City Administrator Troy Ishler stated in the release. “Chicago has raised the cost of water by 55 percent in the last three years and will raise the water rate another 15 percent next year.”

The rate increase also is needed to keep the Oak Forest's water and sewer fund self-supporting, the release stated.

Here's a breakdown of the rate increases and how they could change your bills:

Water Rates

(per 1,000 gallons for first 25,000 gallons)
2013: $6.65
2014: $7.31

(per 1,000 gallons for above 25,000 gallons)
2013: $7.36
2014: $8.21

Sewer Rates
(per 1,000 gallons)
2013: $1.52
2014: $1.73

Combined Rates

($15 quarterly water base fee remains unchanged)
Tier 1 Quarterly Increase: 87 cents
Tier 2 Quarterly Increase: $1.06

Sample Bills

Based on quarterly usage rates

Total: $60.22
Increase: $4.35

Total: $195.90
Increase: $17.42

Total: $290.81
Increase: $27.06

SOURCE: City of Oak Forest
OF January 02, 2014 at 07:07 AM
Michael M. January 02, 2014 at 12:23 PM
I wonder why The Patch didn't report the objection by Ald. Ensing? He objected to the rate increases because a study the city commissioned for the fee of $19,000 had not been submitted. According to Mr. Ensing a memo distributed to the city council stated that no increases would be instituted until the city could read the report; Ensing appeared to be reading from the memo. There was no response from the council about Mr. Ensing's statement regarding the contents of the memo. This is typical of govt because it is not their money. They also admit that about 20% of the water the city purchases is lost and they are notsure exactly where it goes, but some speculate it is lost in leakage. I am so tired of all fees and taxes, no wonder young people don't want to move here.
Martin January 02, 2014 at 01:35 PM
City waste too much water. It too city employees 4 hours last year to shut of water when pipe broke and 6 people looking into hole at one person. Give it to private contractor and cut out all these wasted hours
MA January 02, 2014 at 01:35 PM
I'm still wondering what the last $15 increase which was added early in 2011 is paying, as it is called only "Other Charges" on the water bill. I even wrote a note with one of my payment stubs, asking what other charges were, but of course it wasn't formally presented, so no answer. I noticed in this article it is called the quarterly water base fee, whatever that means. All it means to me is $60 more dollars a year. I had read that Chicago was to raise the water rates to the suburbs it supplies with water, but if we had a descent representative fighting for us, these "Other Charges", and new charges might have been at a different rate. People and Businesses are moving out of Oak Forest at a furious pace, maybe that is why they require more money from us long time residents. Take a long look at Cicero Ave and 159th St, , empty stores and Churches, it looks bad, and still the taxes and rates go up and up. Just who is working for the paying citizens of this town??? Any answers??
Roger Norkus January 02, 2014 at 01:54 PM
We need to blame the former leaders of Oak Forest for its poor planning. Way back to poor zoning, passing annexing land like where Menards is today....
Tom S January 02, 2014 at 03:08 PM
Why did the sewer rate go up?
MA January 02, 2014 at 03:12 PM
Good question Tom S. Possibly to contain the higher price water??!!
Joe Vince (Editor) January 02, 2014 at 03:14 PM
@Tom S: The sewer rate up so that the city's fund can be at self-sufficient levels. —Joe Vince, Oak Forest Patch Editor
Tired of the B.S. January 02, 2014 at 04:16 PM
Maybe if the city fixed the leaks in the water system there would be no need to raise the rates. One place to start would be the leak in front of the library that has been ongoing for months. Of course, with recent events in mind, I don't think that an independent audit of the cities books would be out of line.
MA January 02, 2014 at 08:16 PM
Dear Tired: I'm sorry we had opinions, but much that was said made sense, even that of a person with out a name.. Hopefully someone in charge will try and help us. Maybe that could be you. If someone knows of a problem, say a water leak, did they report it, and follow up on it, or just let if bug them? This opinion will probably have the option to delete it too, but I think I'll leave it, and never voice my opinion again.
Michael M. January 02, 2014 at 08:43 PM
Mary I don't understand your post towards Tired. What did he say that made you apologize for having an opinion? But you did say something that caught my attention-"Hopefully someone in charge will try and help us." That is the problem, you have to help yourself. We can't rely on govt to solve our problems. Maybe you could be the person to help. I have made my concerns known at the council meetings. You could go to a meeting, maybe even get your neighbors Involved. The real issue is why the city paid for a study and didn't wait for that report to make a decision; especially when a memo exists stating the city would wait. Maybe if more of us went to the council meeting, they would listen. The only thing politicians care about is elections and power, if they feel they will lose either, they will listen.
Rita Ramos January 02, 2014 at 09:58 PM
@Martin....my husband works for public works of Midlothian and I promise u an outside contractor wouldn't have even been there the first day it was reported. If u know anything about what they do it takes time first they can't even start until there clearedby julJulie to mark out the gas and electric lines and so forth. So in all actuality it would cost more and take longer if they got a private contractor.
jack hess January 03, 2014 at 01:02 PM
Just be thankful you don't live in Harvey , Robins, Dolton, Calumet City, and Park Forest. Their rates are higher.
Michael M. January 03, 2014 at 01:08 PM
I am not going to be thankful for being ripped off less than I could have. Add the $19,000 for the water study that they have not read into the equation.
Tired of the B.S. January 03, 2014 at 01:12 PM
I was wondering about the post from Mary, too. I guess because I choose to not use my name when I post, this upsets many people. There are many valid reasons to not use my real name, first one being because people can find out a lot about you (where you live...) with just a name. I guess it would be better if I changed my moniker to Joe Smith or Mary Attreau. After all, there is no way somebody could use an alias when it is a name. Plus...I AM tired of the B.S. that seems to be the norm in this town.
MA January 04, 2014 at 03:06 PM
I wasn't going to respond, but do agree with Michael M, even though voicing one's opinion sometimes upsets others, it;s no reason to attack each other. If I can, I will go to some City meetings, and learn more about what's happening with the water situation, and even talk to my area representative prior to going. Until then I'm done here.
Martin January 06, 2014 at 10:32 PM
Rita. I work in construction and know it does not take 10 people or more to fix a water break. We are paying for these workers. Put it in contract that problem has to be fixed that day and I bet you it will get done. And how many alderman voted for this why do these people in power blame the person before them for problems
Rita Ramos January 16, 2014 at 10:49 PM
Martin. No one said it takes 10 people to do a break so where u got that number I don't know. I guarantee towns will not save money by contracting out also public works is on call 24-7 so they r there as soon as they r needed where if u contract out u may have to wait due to prior commitments. Same goes for salting and plowing roads would not b done as soon as they r if it was contracted out. All I'm saying is go ahead and try to contract things and then the townspeople will see public works does more than they think.


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