April 29, 2013; DNAinfo.com–Chicago

Pressured by religious leaders, other nonprofits and Chicago Aldermen Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a sliding scale pay structure on water rates for nonprofits.

In 2011, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel decided that the waiving of water fees on nonprofits was costing the city somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million each year. The full impact of the extra expense would not have been felt immediately because the fees were to have been phased in. According to the Chicago Tribune, approximately 4,000 nonprofits were billed for 40 percent of their water costs last year. This year, it increased to 60 percent, and it was scheduled to go to 80 percent next year, where it would stay.

Under Emanuel’s current, or as he would say, “final” proposal, nonprofits with assets of less than $1 million would get free water. Those organizations with assets between $1 million and $10 million would have to pay 60% of what a non-exempt would have to pay, and those with assets between $10 million and $250 million would have to pay 75 percent. If your budget is over $250 million, you will get no additional exemption. The only exception to this is for public museums, which will retain an exemption of 20 percent, and Disproportionate Share Hospitals, which have a minimum exemption of 25 percent.

NPQ has been following this story since it began in 2011.—Ruth McCambridge