Hammond, Chicago Heights agree to higher water prices
By Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org February 15, 2013 2:38PM
Updated: February 15, 2013 9:31PM
In the end, the residents of Chicago Heights, Ill., will continue to get drinking water, and Hammond will still get to charge their city quadruple for that right.
The two sides filed Thursday a motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit that Chicago Heights started last fall when it claimed its residents were in danger of losing their water supply because of a dispute over new prices Hammond wanted to charge.
Hammond has provided water to Chicago Heights for decades, and Chicago Heights sold part of that water in turn to other Illinois communities, including Glenwood, Thornton, South Chicago Heights and Ford Heights.
The contract ran out last year, and Hammond told Chicago Heights officials it wanted to increase from 44 cents per 1,000 gallons to $2.20 per 1,000 gallons. Hammond threatened to cut off water access if Chicago Heights didn’t pay the increase.
Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. defended the price increase, noting that it was still less than Chicago charges for its water. The two sides finally reached an agreement for 20 years that will have Chicago Heights pay the price Hammond originally asked for.
“The only thing that really happened is we both incurred a lot of attorneys fees,” McDermott said Friday.