March 3, 2024 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Sewer rates set to increase

Soon St. Joseph residents will receive a postcard in their mailbox.


The postcard will explain the upcoming sewer rate increase.


“The postcards will be for notification of the rate increase, a breakdown on what that rate increase does for the village and timeline for the changes,” said Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges.

The post cards will include information stating that the sewer plant is reaching capacity and the village is having to do a lot of maintenance on the plant due to its age.

Fruhling-Voges said the Illinois Environmental Protectional Agency is requiring the village to remove phosphorous from the plant and the village is required to have everything in place and working by next spring.


This will cost the village $300,000 for the phosphorous removal system. The village will also have to pay an increased cost for the actual removal every year. 


The village recently passed an ordinance that includes rate increases over the next 15 years.


Fruhling-Voges said the rate increase was necessary.


“In the past, the village has not had a solid plan for the future costs of operating expenses, plant capital maintenance, sewer capital maintenance or expansion to keep up with any kind of growth,” she said.  “We have spread out the rate increases in such a way that the residents will not have to deal with such large rate increase all at once as it had been done in the past.”

Fruhling-Voges said the rate increase approved for this year is an increase of $2.50 for the minimum flat fee user and an additional $1.50 for the extra units.  The amount of increase expected for the average sewer customer for 2019 will be a monthly rate increase of $8.50.  Next year the village expects the monthly rate increase to be $9.50.


The future rates will be evaluated every year before they are implemented, Fruhling-Voges said.  


“Over time the structure of the rate increases are set to not have as much of an impact on our minimum users such as the village’s senior citizens and the larger impact will be to the heavy users in the village. I want to stress that those who only use the minimum will only see an increase in their monthly bill of $2.50.  This will be most of our Senior Citizens who use two units or 1500 gallons a month. ” Fruhling-Voges said. “The rate increase is set to start with the May usage and the first monthly billing will begin in June.”

If anyone has questions after they receive their billing increase the village office will be happy to review their bill with them, Fruhling-Voges said.


“ I want this to go as smoothly as possible,” Fruhling-Voges said. “Maintaining our sewer plant is a very vital part of the village’s infrastructure and sustaining it extremely important for our future.”

Starting May 1, the village office will be open 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The office will be closed from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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