Officials unbothered by increase in NIU water bill

By Madison Kacer

Due to an annual budget of $1.5 million dedicated to water expenses, NIU officials are not financially concerned about the 4.5 percent increase to the water bill through 2024.

Alan Phillips, vice president of Administration and Finance, said $600,000 of NIU’s annual budget is typically spent on the water bill. The water bill increase is not anticipated to financially damage the university due to the scale of the annual budget.

NIU will see a $16,000 increase in 2016 and rates will increase by 4.5 percent from 2017 to 2024.

“A $16,000 increase is a very small amount to address in our overall utility and resource budget,” Phillips said.

NIU Chief Engineer Justin Bend said NIU receives its water from four to five of the city’s deep wells and two of the city’s shallow wells.

Because NIU’s water comes from the city of DeKalb, the repairs being implemented will have an effect on the campus’ water due to improved water quality and distribution.

“The improvements would mostly benefit [DeKalb’s] equipment, such as softeners and filter systems,” Bend said. “[NIU] might, however, see an improvement to our softening equipment, as well.”

The $13.1 million plan is set to fund recoating the water tower, repairing the water main, improving water treatment and cleaning the water supply well.

This systematic cleaning must be done every five to 10 years and requires roughly $100,000 in funding, said Tim Holdeman, DeKalb’s public works director.