Years of deferred maintenance forces Joliet rate hike

Last Monday’s Joliet’s Town Council meeting saw many community members talking about the significant rise in their water, sewer and garbage bill to help pay for the work to fix the lagoon and other issues that will have to be dealt with once the project has begun.

Starting in October the Joliet community will have $20 to add on to their bill each month. This new project is a 20 year loan. There are four components that Joliet must do in order to comply with the state requirements. The first is dredging two of the ponds, the second adding additional aerators, the third a UV system to disinfect and the fourth component is an auger to collect all the trash that is caught on the screen coming in to the lagoon.

Several residences explained how the rate increases will affect them personally. The Joliet School Superintendent, Jeff Bermes, stated, “we are probably your largest water user, paying $2,200 a month. If you add 85 percent that’s another $1,900. So my question is, are you willing to support a milllevy? Because I can’t afford that, that is a lot of money for a school district to absorb but we have to educate our kids. I’m worried as an educator about our kids that I’m going to be taking something away from our kids to pay for that bill whether it’s a textbook, a teacher, an aide or something like that. That’s my big concern and I think education should be a priority for us because that’s our future.”

A representative from KLJ Engineering, the engineering firm that works for the town of Joliet, explained that “basically the discharge from your lagoon is polluting the creek, essentially. It’s not doing its job right now. We looked into how we can fix it the best we can and there are big problems with the collection system. We had to identify the PER but the whole administration order is aimed at the discharge of what you’re getting, what’s coming out of your lagoon and so essentially in 2015 if you don’t do anything about it or solve the problem, then the state comes in and starts giving you guys fines.”

Another Joliet resident asked about what the future cost would be adding that they already pay $75 a month, and that this would now be $95.

“The ‘for sale’ sign at my places goes up at $100. That’s why I’m asking do you have any aspect of what we are looking at for the future?” they said.

“When we get done with this wastewater project that’s only half of what we need to do with it, with the sewer system” said Joliet Mayor Harley Sorrells.