URBANA — City council members on Tuesday could move forward with a plan to fight a proposed Illinois American Water rate increase with a number of area municipalities.
The city council will meet on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St.
According to a memo from Chief of Staff Mike Monson to the council, Illinois American Water is asking the Illinois Commerce Commission for a rate hike that could be an 18 percent average increase for residential customers in Champaign-Urbana and 21 percent to 26 percent for small businesses.
For a customer using 600 cubic feet of water per month, the monthly bill would increase from $41.14 to $48.58, according to Monson. Overall, the water company is asking for a rate hike that would affect 308,000 customers and would total $38 million in new revenues.
Such proposals must be cleared by the Illinois Commerce Commission, and area agencies have teamed up in the past to fight utility rate hikes. Urbana city officials would join Champaign, Savoy, St. Joseph, Sidney and Philo in retaining a Chicago attorney to intervene in the ICC hearing.
The agencies will split the legal fees on a per capita basis, and Urbana's share would be $8,000 if the council approves of the strategy. The total legal cost for the consortium could be as high as $25,000.
According to Monson's memo, the intervention would increase the likelihood that the commission would scale back Illinois American Water's proposed increase.