Chicago Heights will likely raise water rates next month to bring in funds in case the courts side with Hammond's proposed water rate increase. Mayor David Gonzalez said the increased rates would also pay for infrastructure work.
The Heights has been in negotiations with Hammond since before the last 30-year water contract expired on Nov. 12. In the new contract, Hammond has proposed a rate increase from 57 cents per 1000 gallons to $2.20 per 1000 gallons. The Height is fighting the rate in federal and state courts.
The cities had a hearing in front of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission last Monday. Hammond moved to dismiss the Heights' complaint there, according to Corporation Counsel T.J. Somer. Hammond said the commission does not have the jurisdiction to regulate the City's rates because Hammond is not a utility.
The commission decided to take Hammond's argument into consideration, Somer said.
"They essentially promised us that they would have a decision back on the jurisdictional argument by the first of the year," Somer told Northwest Indiana Times reporter Paul Czpakowicz.
Mayor David Gonzalez has questioned Hammond's motives, pointing out that Lansing pays exactly half of the proposed rate for Chicago Heights.
Follow the Heights-Hammond water dispute:
- City Hits Impasse In Hammond Water Negotiations
- Heights Car Wash Owner: New Water Rates 'Would Put Us Out'
- The Thing About Water: Heights vs. Hammond