A sizable increase to Odell residents’ water rates approved at a June village board meeting has prompted both the creation of a petition for reconsideration of the rate hike and a special town hall meeting for July 5.
    The effort hasn’t been driven entirely by concerned voters, however; one of the village’s own trustees has helped organize the effort to have the rates changed to something more reasonable.
    At the Odell Village Board meeting on June 11, an item appeared on the agenda, “an ordinance relating to the conditions of supply and use of water in the Village of Odell,” which would amend the existing ordinance to charge a flat rate of $10.92 per 1,000 gallons of water used, and an annual rate increase of 3 percent every Jan. 1.
    The amendment also added a $25 debt charge per utility billing cycle, which Odell Village Trustee Mark Tissiere explained was created in order to make “some recent improvements to our system and bring our water fund to a point where it can sustain itself.” The measure passed five votes to one, with Tissiere apparently being the sole holdout.
    Before the ordinance was passed, there had been two rate increases in a year’s time: the first, instituted in 2017, put the rate at $6.40 per 1,000 gallons and a minimum rate raised to $20.30 for the first 2,600 gallons used.
    On Jan. 1 of this year, the rate was increased again to $7.05 per 1,000 gallons, with the minimum rate raised to $22.33 for the first 2,600 gallons. The latest amendment struck the 2,600 gallon minimum rate and instituted a flat $10.92 rate for every 1,000 gallons, instead.
    Leading up to the vote, and in the subsequent aftermath, Tissiere has used the “Odell, Illinois — News, Events, and Information” Facebook page, as well as his own recently created account, to raise residents’ awareness of the issue at hand. The petition circulating around the village calls the new rate “excessive and unprecedented,” and explains the action the signatories are seeking.
    “We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens of Odell who call on our acting village president and the board of trustees to call a special meeting with proper notice to lower the water rate and debt service fee to a level that is more affordable to all,” the petition states.
    While calling the rate increase voted on “beyond excessive,” Tissiere did note in a Facebook post that “a rather major increase is still needed to keep our water fund in good standing and stop it from bleeding money from our general fund.”
    “One of the reasons we need a sizable increase is a history of low or no increases for multiple years,” he further elucidated. “Sooner or later the bill comes due and it is a whopper.”
    Tissiere noted on a Facebook post early Monday that nearly were nearly 200 signers of the petition, and that the town hall meeting was to take place 6:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Odell Grade School gym.