Harvey Alderman Addresses High Price Of Water
1/24/2018, noon | Updated on 1/24/2018, noon
Harvey Alderman Addresses briefly High Price of Water
By: Katherine Newman
Alderman Chris Clark represents Harvey’s Third Ward and on Jan. 5, he sent a four-page letter to the Cook County Commissioners Human Relations Committee in preparation for an upcoming meeting, scheduled for Jan. 9, to address countywide concerns about the high price of water in Chicago’s suburbs.
“As Third Ward Alderman in the City of Harvey, drinking water is an important issue to my constituents as well as the entire Harvey community,” Clark stated in the opening of his letter.
Also included in the letter, is a review of water rate increases in Harvey over the last several years, the price paid to the City of Chicago for water, the price surrounding communities are paying to purchase water from Harvey and the current price that residents are paying for water.
“If the Cook County Humans Relations Committee was going to investigate the matter, I thought that they should be able to investigate it and make informed decisions about what they were going to do,” said Clark. “Even though my letter was detailed, it was detailed because of research I had done myself and not necessarily because it came from the Mayors Office.”
During the meeting on Jan. 9, Eric Kellogg, mayor of Harvey, and Andre Lewis, water supervisor for Harvey, spoke about the current price of water, stating that they have not raised resident rates more than the City of Chicago has raised the rates for Harvey.
“For the last 17 years, our rates have been increased from the City of Chicago by 137 percent,” said Lewis. “We did what is considered a pass-through, we passed the rate from the City of Chicago to the citizens because we had no choice.”
Mayor Kellogg also went on to say that it is not the Harvey administration that is initiating the high water rate, it is a consistent theme across African American communities coming from the City of Chicago.
“During the course of the Emanuel administration, the City of Harvey and poor African communities witnessed record breaking water increases by the City of Chicago,” said Kellogg.
“These water rates, shall we say gouging, practices by the City of Chicago widens the income gap between the rich and the poor, the black and the white. More importantly, when you look at what Chicago has tried to do, it has tried to balance the budget on the backs of poor African American communities.”
Alderman Clark however, isn’t buying it. He believes there has been a misuse of water funds in Harvey and a Cook County Circuit Court Judge agreed.
Judge Kathleen Pantle ruled that Harvey had misused water funds several times and failed to deposit all of the water revenue into the water fund, which is necessary to maintain the water system that provides water to Hervey along with other surrounding communities, according to a Cook County Circuit
Court Order filed on July 19.
The same court order also appointed a water receiver to take control of the water fund and make sure all water revenue was being deposited into the water fund.
Having a water receiver in place will keep Harvey accountable for using the water funds the way there are intended to be used, first to pay Chicago for the water they receive, second to pay water workers, and third to maintain
the water system, according to Clark.
Moving forward, Clark is calling for greater oversight of water funds across the county, which he addressed in the closing of his letter to the Human Relations Committee.
“I would like to see the passing of a measure that controls how cities in Cook County use their water fund, but also to attach penalties to any misappropriation of those funds and give the Cook County attorney the means to enforce those guidelines,” said Clark.
For more information and to view Alderman Clark’s letter, visit harveywaterbill.com