Oakwood to seek deal with Utilities Inc. for water system

OAKWOOD — The village board agreed to pursue a sales agreement with Utilities Inc., a multistate water and wastewater utility based in Northbrook.

Last month, the board voted unanimously to solicit bids to sell the village's water system to an investor-owned utility. The village has received notices from the Illinois Environment Protection Agency regarding water safety violations. The IEPA had set a deadline of July 1, 2013, for the village to make a decision on how it wants to solve its water problem.

Utilities Inc. is offering lower customer rates that Aqua Illinois, another bidder for Oakwood's water system. Utilities Inc. is offering a better purchase agreement than Illinois American Water, the third bidder. The board reserved the right to switch to Aqua Illinois as a second choice and Illlinois American Water as a third choice, if the sale fails to go through.

A consultant hired by Oakwood said upgrading the village-owned water system would require a debt of more than $3 million, which would raise water rates 65 to 100 percent.

In other action, the board passed the village budget for the coming fiscal year. Very little has changed in the budget from last year.

"Sales tax was down significantly last year, but I'm hoping it will go up," said Bob Jennings, president of the board. Jennings also said that the non-home rule tax is down as well.

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