Council reaches water deal for non-profits

It was a busy day in the Chicago City Council prompting alderman to hold a few more whispering caucus than usual.

One contentious item, the ordinance governing water rates for not-for-profit, or NFT, institutions like churches, synagogues, mosques, shelters, and other community organizations, was the subject of many small meetings. Aldermen, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and members of an interfaith coalition were at odds on how to make the ordinance fair and equitable, with everyone carrying the same weight.

The compromise plan divides the NFTs into four groups:

  • NFTs with net assets less than $1-M will be eligible for a 100% exemption from water payments,
  • NFTs with net assets between $1-M and $10-M will be eligible for a 60% exemption from water payments
  • NFTs with assets between $10-m and $250-M will be eligible for a 25% exemption.
  • No exemption for NFTs with assets over $250-M dollars. But basing the standard solely on assets with no individual determination will hurt small NFTs sitting on valuable property but having little income.

Working out a compromise became a thorny issue, so tough, in fact, that key aldermen, members of the interfaith coalition and staff went into the men’s room to work out a last minute deal.

In the end, a compromise deal was struck.

“We are very encouraged by the efforts of the city and of our coalition to work on a remedy to this situation with the water fees,” said Elder Kevin Anthony Ford of St. Paul Church of God in Christ.

As for the water deal, the ministers say that they have faith that more positive changes will still be made.

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