Our view: Small rate increase now better than big one laterPublished 7:23am Thursday, January 31, 2013
By Niles Daily Star Editorial Board
No one likes to pay more for the same product.
So it’s understandable why some people would be upset that the Niles City Council passed on Monday a small increase on the rate of service for its water and wastewater utilities.
The key word here is small.
It’s a lot better to have small increases spaced out over several years than to have a large one hit you in the pocket book all at the same time.
The council was right to tackle the issue now with a set of small increases rather than kick the can down the road.
Water rates are scheduled to increase 4.25 percent this year and next year, and 2.5 percent in 2016 and 2017. Wastewater rates are scheduled to increase 3.75 percent each year through 2017.
Average customers can expect their water rate to go up 97 cents a month and their wastewater rate 91 cents per month next year. That’s less than $2 a month and less than $23 a year.
More importantly, the rate increases are justified.
According to a 2012 study, without a rate increase the city’s wastewater and water utilities would not be able to generate sufficient revenues to fund its operating and maintenance expenses, make bond payments and the five-year capital improvement program.
Although it hurts to shell out a little more cash now, it’s a lot better than shelling out a lot more later to keep the city’s utilities from going underwater.