ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — The Rock Island city council unanimously voted to increase utilities on the city's water, wastewater, and storm water through 2025. It came after a dramatic and, at times, heated city council meeting over the future, possible privatization of the city's water.
Water utility rates will now increase 5.5% every year through 2025 for all user classes. Wastewater utilities will increase at a rate of 4.5% every year through 2025 for all user classes. And the storm water utility rate will increase by $0.34 every year through 2025 for the average household.
Aldermen Randy Hurt, Judith Higgins Gilbert, Jenni Swanson, Mark Poulos and David Geenen all voted 5-0 to increase the three utilities. Aldermen Moses Robinson, Jr. and Dylan Parker were absent.
The votes came after the council heard a presentation from Illinois American Water (IAM), a private company the city has been in talks with for nearly a year and a half on the subject of buying Rock Island's water services. At Monday night's meeting, IAM answered council questions and pitched why the city should sell the public service to the private business.
It was a move that drew protestors and a packed council meeting room, as union members from the city's public works department showed out to show their displeasure with the potential move.
While IAM says they can help solve some of Rock Island's problems, and provide an impressive check at the time of the sale, union members say that the real cost will come at the expense of consumers, who will face increasing rates with no oversight or control.