The City of Peoria is looking to revise its 125 year old franchise agreement with Illinois American Water Company.
The agreement allows the city to consider buying the water works every five years. The proposed changes would push the city’s purchase option to 20 years in exchange for about $2.5 million a year in revenue from Illinois American Water. That would adjust with inflation over the 20 year life of the contract.
The water company would in-part pay 3% of its gross receipts to the city. The Illinois Commerce Commission allows such a franchise fee to be passed onto customers. Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich says that would amount to about $1.33 a month for the average household.
“We have infrastructure needs. All you have to do is drive on the city streets right now and take a look at the number of potholes we have and the impact that this winter has had on our infrastructure. And that is the intent behind this it to invest that money back into our infrastructure.”
But some are expressing skepticism. Long-time City Councilman Eric Turner says he doesn’t like the idea of a tax increase. Public meetings on the proposal are 10:00 a.m. March 15 at the North Branch Public Library and 6:00 p.m. March 19 at the Gateway Building.
The Peoria City Council could take-up the matter March 25. It also needs ICC approval. That could happen as soon as this summer.