It seems like whenever Naperville city officials get themselves into trouble with awful decision-making, they reach out to the residents and businesses in Naperville to bail them out of the dilemma. The problem is they don’t learn from their mistakes, and in fact, compound them by making it worse. City officials find it much easier and more expedient to simply extract more money from anybody within city limits.
The most recent issue, is one of water rates and utilization. The Naperville city council made huge mistakes and miscalculations regarding the Naperville-owned electric utility, and found themselves $25 milllion dollars in the red. So the council decided to borrow millions from the water utility to pay the electric utility. Brilliant on their part; rob Peter to pay Paul. Until they realized, that the water department (Paul) is heading towards the financial cliff.
Now it appears the council’s game plan is a one-step process. Squeeze it out of Naperville residents and businesses, by jacking up the water rates, just as city officials are doing with the electric rates, Jim Holzapfel, Naperville’s water utility director, said in essence, that if income from water use narrows to a dribble, and “we start to look like we’re going to go negative, we can take some actions”, to stop it from becoming another huge financial deficit. Hence, the one-step solution; extract money from everybody within city limits.
A number of years ago, during an extended drought, city officials implored residents to limit their use of water, and warned residents, that if they didn’t do it, water rates would have to be raised. Residents abided, either out of civic responsibility, or fear of rate increase. At the end of that summer, Naperville city officials announced that because of ‘less than normal’ water usage, in order to offset lost income by the water utility, city officials would have to raise water rates.
There are still a number of residents around that remember that stunt, so it might be more difficult to pull that one off again, but looking at the bag of tricks the council uses, it’s pretty much a one-trick (raise rates) bag. Past experience shows that they are not very creative in solving issues.
So the next time you’re squeezing your water hose nozzle, remember who will be squeezing you.