Forum: Water project questioned
March 14, 2013 10:44PM
Updated: April 16, 2013 4:25PM
In 2011, Chicago announced water rate increases for residents and suburbs that buy Lake Michigan water from that city. This will result in a cost of $3.81 per thousand gallons used on Jan. 1, 2015.
Justifiable anger by south Cook County officials resulted in efforts to find a lower-cost water supplier. Blue Island, Calumet Park and five other towns formed the South Suburban Joint Action Water Agency (SSJAWA) to build a water filtration plant and a pipeline to get lake water from Whiting, Ind.
I took an active interest in the proposed project in the fall of 2011 and did a low-cost feasibility study. As my work progressed, I shared the results with the Blue Island Municipal Services Committee and attempted to share it with the Blue Island City Council and SSJAWA.
I found potential problems with the water project. First, the agency plans to fund it with variable-rate revenue bonds that will be paid off by increasing water fees. This will place water consumers at the mercy of bond market variations. Also, if any SSJAWA member community defaults or falls short on its share of the bond debt, the other members must raise water rates or impose periodic special assessments to cover the revenue shortage.
Third, the bond market has a discredited reputation — professional advisers are urging investors to get out of the bond market because so many local governments have defaulted on bond debt.
Finally, my imperfect estimates indicate that the cost per thousand gallons to cover the debt and operating costs will dramatically exceed the prices that Chicago will charge for many years into the future.
Common sense says the proposed SSJAWA project is a bad idea. If the agency does not provide meaningful cost data before the April 9 election, I urge every voter in Blue Island and Calumet Park to oppose having our communities remain members of SSJAWA.
Remember nation’s foundation
If this country is going to survive as a free and prosperous nation, it is imperative that collectively we return to our basic three tenets. They are engraved on all of our coinage.
1) Liberty — Our freedom is one of our basic rights as Americans. We must never surrender it and need to always fight to protect it. But it is slowly and steadily being stolen away from us by progressive politicians and this administration.
2) In God We Trust — Not in any man or politician. He will show us the way for truth and justice. And the Constitution is our law to be guided by. Don’t ever give in to what appears to be the popular opinion of the day because tomorrow it will be something different. Stand on principles of righteousness.
3) E Pluribus Unum — Latin for “From many, one.” American is one nation of many people and races, a “melting pot.” We came here from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America for freedom and prosperity. One nation under God. Multiculturalism and diversity do not bring us together. United we stand, divided we fall, and when our backs are against this wall, we’ll be together, you and I.