City of Elmwood electricity bill increasing

For The Weekly Post

ELMWOOD – The city’s electricity bill is about to increase. A lot.
But Elmwood city government also has enough money in reserve to pay it. For now, at least.

A new one-year contract with Homefield Energy sets the electricity rate for its municipal customer at 15.042 cents per kilowatt hour, according to Elmwood Mayor JD Hulslander. The current rate is 4.8 cents. The new contract takes effect in June.

During a meeting May 17, Hulslander informed the City Council about the increase.

The Homefield Energy contract covers all city facilities. That includes City Hall, the water-department plant – even the flashing lights on crossing-guard signs around town.

Supply-chain issues and a rise in the price of natural gas are among the reasons for increasing energy prices nationwide. According to The New York Times, rates in Illinois have risen about 15 percent from 2021.

The increase in the Elmwood municipal rate is substantially higher than 15 percent. But according to Hulslander, the situation is not yet dire.

“We’re not going to have to go slash everything,” Hulslander said after the meeting adjourned. “We have some savings. We don’t spend everything we have every year.

“We do have some money to put back to be able to keep going with stuff, but we’ll just have to watch closer.”

In an email following the meeting, City Clerk Bethany Lovingood sounded a similar theme.

“The city will need to keep a very close eye when discussing and planning any expenditure budget items for this upcoming fiscal year,” Lovingood wrote.

From December through May, the city paid about $37,675 for gas and electricity, according to Lovingood. The bill for May was $5,828.65, a decrease of about $1,000 from April.

During a meeting that lasted about 15 minutes, the council approved the final extension of the Fairground Acres subdivision at the northeast edge of town.

The extension consists of five lots that are to connect two ends of Hickory Run, an unfinished thoroughfare on the east side of the development. According to subdivision co-developer Tom Meyers, one lot has been sold so far. Lots are listed at $30,000.

With those five lots, the subdivision established about 18 years ago will be complete, according to Meyers. The farmland upon which the subdivision was built was owned by wife Cathy’s family.

“The whole goal of this was to keep the school vibrant and away from consolidation,” Meyers said.

Fairground Acres is part of a tax-increment-financing district. In TIF districts, property taxes that are to go to various bodies are frozen. Subsequent tax increases are diverted into a fund that can be used for infrastructure improvements, as has