Latest posts by Nicole Trottie (see all)
- Are Maywood residents footing the water bill for commercial customers? - December 8, 2017
- Decades-long alleged illegal water hookup may account for drain on Maywood’s low-income, minority residents - November 21, 2017
- The hookup - November 16, 2017
County Board to examine Maywood’s high disparity in water rates
L. Nicole Trottie
MAYWOOD | Following a Tribune report, alarmed by the wide disparity of water rates in the Chicago area and excessive water loss, the Cook County Board voted Wednesday to hold a hearing to examine the issue.
The Tribune reported, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin proposed the hearing after it was found that Maywood residents and other low-income residents in Chicago, pay more for their water — as much as six times more — than those in the wealthiest towns. The Tribune also found that residents of towns with majority African-American and Latino populations, such as Maywood, pay a monthly water bill that is 20 percent higher than towns with majority white populations.
As the West Suburban Journal reported in March in an interview with Mayor Edwenna Perkins, Maywood loses more than 30 percent of water due to leaking infrastructure.
“Boykin’s district includes Maywood, the community with the highest water loss — 38 percent — and seventh-largest monthly water bill among towns that receive Lake Michigan water and manage their water systems in the area,” the Tribune reported
“We can have a big voice on this,” Boykin said, stressing that placing pressure on local municipalities can scale back excessive water rates and high water service reconnection fees.
Boykin confirmed to West Suburban Journal that he spoke with Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet Jr., who acknowledged the village’s significant water loss. Norfleet said that he is willing to testify before the board.
The commissioner plans to invite as many village officials willing to testify.
“We can’t be charging these residents excessive rates for water,” he said. “It’s unacceptable.”
While Boykin’s proposal calls for county officials to “do everything within its power to help its residents,” board President Toni Preckwinkle is skeptical of the county’s reach.
“It’s hard to know what the county can do,” Preckwinkle said, highlighting that the county is not a seller or buyer of water and doesn’t own water pipes or mains. “These are matters for the cities, towns and villages involved,” she said in an interview with the Tribune.
In an anonymous letter to West Suburban Journal, an employee of a Maywood-based company charged their employer with allegedly having at least two illegal water connections beginning in 2000, and possibly another since 1950.
The letter includes physical “hidden” water connections and their locations, of which West Suburban Journal verified at least one does exit.
West Suburban Journal submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request to the Village of Maywood on November 16, 2017 to obtain copies of water bills associated with the business.