The Illinois Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform held a special hearing on two bills filed by State Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria) that aim to help Peoria residents learn more about the costs of their water system and the potential for a city purchase of the system.
“The city has been looking into purchasing their water system for many years,” said Sen. Weaver. “This legislation would allow the citizens of Peoria to have a better understanding of what they’re buying and what a fair price is for the system.“
Senate Bill 1092 would require water suppliers to provide more information on their pricing and cost structure so that citizens can understand what they are paying for, and what investments are being made for above above-ground and underground infrastructure.
“We have the second highest rates in the state of Illinois,” said Cheryl Budzinski from the League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria, who testified on behalf of the legislation in committee. “We think we should know why we’re paying more money, we’re right on an aquifer next to the Illinois River.”
Senate Bill 1093 would improve the process for determining the price a city would have to pay when purchasing a water utility. Currently there are different process for determining that price, which can produce wildly different results.
“The issue arises from different approaches to the appraisal. In 2005, when the City of Peoria went through this process last time, the two different prices came in more than $200 million apart,” said Joe Glawe of the CEO Council of Peoria, who also travelled to Springfield to testify in favor of the bills. “That’s one of the reasons this legislation needs to go through.”
While this committee hearing was on the subject matter only, Senator Weaver said he plans to return to the committee for a vote on his legislation.
“We’re trying to get as much information as we can for our citizens down the road,” said Senator Weaver.