What’s good for the residents of Naperville, isn’t necessarily good for city officials. It’s been a mild summer this year, not too warm and plentiful rain to keep the lawns green. Air conditioning hasn’t been necessary for a good part of the summer, and residents haven’t had the need to be sitting when they opened their utility bills. Overall you could say the residents and businesses of Naperville caught a much needed break.
Giving residents a break is one of the last things Naperville city officials wanted. They would have preferred triple-digit heat waves and non-stop lawn watering during approved hours. City officials need the revenue generated from the utilities in order to cover their bad decisions involving the city owned electric utility, and the city water department. Naperville’s electric utility was millions of dollars in the red. So city officials had the bright idea to borrow millions from Naperville’s water department to cover electric, thinking they could squeeze additional dollars out of the residents this summer. It didn’t happen.
That means the Naperville city council has three choices to cover the money they didn’t get to cover the bad decisions they made. They can do something creative. That won’t happen because creativity is not part of city manager Doug Krieger’s strategic plan. They can cut expenses. That won’t happen because the only cutting the council does is with with a three-foot scissors during grand openings. Which means city officials will do what they always do; raise the utility rates for electric and water. There goes the much needed break that residents had this summer.
City officials will win the one-sided battle of higher utility rates. They’ll high-five each other during closed session, and then after the vote, they’ll head to downtown Naperville to their favorite liquor-licensed facility to catch last-call, down a few shots and head home with another battle victory over residents.
In just 205 days (April 7, 2015) voters will decide which, if any, council members will be re-elected. It’s very possible that more than half will be gone. Residents may again catch a very needed break, but this time, rather than relying on Mother Nature, they will be making it happen at the voting booth.