Some suburbs boost budgets with electric aggregation fees
By Tara Garcia Mathewson
West Dundee village officials found out Best Buy was closing its local store in February and the retailer was gone in March, leaving them to scale back the village budget by $200,000 due to lost sales tax revenue at about the same time as municipal elections.
Officials had the option of accepting a new revenue source when voters approved electric aggregation, giving village staffers the go-ahead to negotiate electricity rates with alternative suppliers to ComEd.
First Energy offered a “civic contribution” to the village in its bid, pledging to set aside one-tenth of a penny per kilowatt hour of electricity residents used as incentive to pick that vendor.
Unlike the vast majority of communities negotiating contracts through electric aggregation, West Dundee officials chose to accept the civic contribution. They expect to collect about $20,000 each year of the two-year contract.
“At this point, any new revenue is some assistance,” Village President Larry Keller said.
Hoffman Estates, Pingree Grove, Hanover Park, Island Lake, Sugar Grove and Wood Dale also are expecting varying amounts from the civic contribution, and Campton Hills is getting $11,500 as an administrative fee from its chosen supplier, MC Squared Energy Services.
The remaining 60 towns across the Northwest and West suburbs surveyed by the Daily Herald decided against accepting the civic contribution — some more vehemently than others.
“Our board was very unanimous in our position that that was just a hidden tax,” Gilberts Village President Rick Zirk said. “If you put those fees on for essentially doing nothing, you’re just increasing the tax burden on your residents.”
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