Hammond mayor: Water deal with Chicago Heights almost done
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com January 10, 2013 5:18PM
Updated: February 12, 2013 2:42PM
Chicago Heights, Ill. officials have verbally agreed to pay a higher rate for water from Hammond, according to Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr.
“We’ve come to a verbal agreement that will reduced to writing which charges $2.20 (per 1,000 gallons) over the course of 20 years,” McDermott said.
The $2.20 rate is more than four times what Chicago Heights pays Hammond currently, and it led the Illinois community to sue Hammond in U.S. District Court in October. In turn, Hammond threatened to shut off the water in March if Chicago Heights did not find an alternate water arrangement. The communities had a 30-year contract with the option to renew the contract for 20 years by Nov. 12. 2012. 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.
McDermott’s comments differ from the characterization of the negotiations by Chicago Heights attorney T.J. Somer, who said Wednesday that the lawyers for both sides are talking but no parameters have been established.
A joint status report filed in federal court on Monday said the parties had reached a settlement in principle and stayed any action by the court and the IURC until Jan. 31.