Hammond, Chicago Heights getting closer to ending water rate dispute
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com January 9, 2013 5:00PM
Updated: February 11, 2013 7:28AM
Representatives from Hammond and Chicago Heights, Ill., are still in discussions about a possible settlement to the parties’ water dispute.
Chicago Heights attorney T.J. Somer said the sides are talking about a settlement, but no parameters have been established yet.
“The lawyers are talking, which is more than we were doing a few weeks ago,” Somer said.
Chicago Heights filed suit against Hammond in October in the U.S. District Court, disputing whether Hammond could quadruple its rates from 44 cents per 1,000 gallons to $2.20 per 1,000 gallons. The communities had a 30-year contract with the option to renew the contract for 20 years by Nov. 12. 2012. Chicago Heights sells some of the water they get to Glenwood, Thornton, South Chicago Heights and Ford Heights, Ill.
Hammond had threatened to turn the water off in March if the two parties couldn’t come to agreement. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission is still considering a request by Chicago Heights to intervene by establishing a new rate and issuing an emergency order requiring Hammond to continue water service.
The parties filed a joint status report on Monday in U.S. District Court in Hammond, which said that they had “reached a settlement in principle and that they are in the process of reducing to writing the complete terms of such settlement.” Somer said the motion simply requested that requested the court and IURC stay any action before a Jan. 31 deadline for dismissing the suit.