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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Springfield: Sewer Rate Low Compared to Other Cities

The capital city has plenty of overdue work underground, and Springfield leaders are looking to raise sewer fees. You may be surprised to hear there's not been a sewer rate increase in Springfield for over 16 years, while surrounding communities are paying more for the same service.

In Springfield, there's $55 million of sewer work that needs to be done underground. To fix aging sewers, the city is looking to households to help. Alderman McMenamin's recent proposal calls to raise sewer fees 35 percent.

"I think its reasonable," McMenamin said. "We have the need and are below what other cities are charging, I think we've got a good case to make to raise rates."

Its been over 16 years since Springfield raised sewer rates, and time shows. Looking at other communities, you'll find sewer rates are almost double. Based on ten units of water, Springfield's fee is $9. Bloomington charges $17 and Normal charges about $12. Sherman pays $22, Rochester pays $17 and Chatham pays $11. Springfield pays the least.

Mayor Houston wants to double sewer rates, but the votes are not there.

"One third of a loaf of bread is better than none," McMenamin said.

Currently the fee shows up on your CWLP bill. There's a flat charge of $3.10 everyone pays, and a consumption charge. For every 7,500 gallons of water used, customers pay about six bucks.

The EPA is monitoring Springfield's sewers and there's pressure to do something now.

"We've got sewers that are 100 years old," Willis Logan said. "We've got sewers that are still brick sewers that need constant attention."

To pay for the identified repairs we've been telling you about, and to meet requirements, the city needs to spend about $5.5 million a year. McMenamin's plan would generate about 2 million. That money would go into a sewer fund.

Alderman Steve Dove is supporting McMenamin's plan. Dove tells us several constituents have told him they support a "modest" rate hike, as long as they can be assured the money is earmarked only for the sewer projects.

 
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