Village of Montrose Acquisition: Newest EJ Water Members!

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Village of Montrose Acquisition: Newest EJ Water Members!

EJ Water Cooperative is excited to welcome the Village of Montrose residents as EJ Water members starting October 1, 2021! The Village of Montrose Board recently approved the Water & Wastewater Asset Transfer Agreement to EJ Water Cooperative. Due to increasing water costs and an aging water system, the Village of Montrose would’ve had to implement a $9.75/month water rate increase (85% increase) to cover infrastructure improvement expenses. By joining EJ Water, Montrose residents will not have an 85% rate increase and in addition will receive the 5 year capital improvement plan while enjoying the 10 year fixed rate structure that gives them a sustainable long-term rates. Additionally,  EJ Water’s team will own the wastewater system maintenance and ensure excellent care of the recent upgrades as well as sustainable long-term 10 year wastewater rates.

It’s been a priority of the Village of Montrose to keep water and wastewater rates affordable and provide long-term sustainability for the community. About 18 months ago, the Village realized they needed to refurbish the Village’s Water Plant but the cost to do this would be too expensive for residents to afford. The board applied for a grant to be able to connect to EJ Water which would’ve allowed them to retire their water plant and capping the wells. At the same time, the Board implemented a 5% rate increase in order to save for the unforeseen water & wastewater system upkeep expenses that would eventually arise. Though they were being proactive, unfortunately the community didn’t receive the grant that they hoped would subsidize some of the necessary infrastructure update expenses. There have also been an abundant amount of new IEPA restrictions and requirements that placed the Village in a predicament, and therefore the Village Board was  at a crucial time to make decisions for the community. This led the Village to evaluate different alternatives to maintain the goal of affordable rates for the years to come. After exploring their options, the Village Board decided the best decision was to join EJ Water.

EJ Water Cooperative is a not-for-profit member owned utility based out of Dieterich, IL, with the mission to help rural communities grow. Due to the Village’s challenges, EJ presented the Village with an opportunity which embraces Montrose residents as EJ Water members, and continues to allow their residents a voice. Since EJ is  a not-for-profit, member-owned organization  they are committed to maintaining long-term affordable rates, as seen by their average 1.97% increase over the last 20 years, which is far below the rate of monetary inflation.

Not only will Montrose residents have a minimal water rate increase with EJ compared to staying on their own, but EJ will also be making  infrastructure updates, pursuing a grant for the  community, and painting the water tower. EJ will assume the $300,000 USDA-RD wastewater loan that the village has, along with implementing a fixed 3%, 10yr fixed structure for the Village residents. After the 10 years, it would increase yearly at the same rate as water. These minimal yearly increases prevent a large increase in the future when maintenance or upgrades may be needed.   

Through this proposed transfer Montrose residents will not only enjoy long-term sustainable rates, but will also have access to several member benefits,  such as:

  • Setting up for auto withdrawal each month from your checking or savings account. You will also have the option to choose from a few different monthly withdrawal dates.
  • Access to paying your bill online 24/7 using credit card
  • Electronic Bill Options
  • 24/7 service in case of an emergency
  • Text notifications for service interruptions, boil orders, bill reminders, and any important updates

This partnership is a product of EJ’s mission, “Improving the Quality of Life, the Cooperative Way” by helping our rural communities grow through long-term sustainability. We are proud to be a not-for-profit cooperative that not only helps our neighboring communities, but also simultaneously increases the long-term sustainability of the Co-Op and affordable water rates for our members. These new community partnerships allow increasing costs to be spread across more members and ultimately ensuring long-term affordable rates due to economies of scale. Furthermore, partnering with a community like Montrose that has no debt on their water system will help increase EJ’s overall revenue which positively impacts the bottom line and long-term sustainability for the Co-Op.

As a not-for-profit cooperative, we are honored to be a part of helping our rural communities grow and help maintain sustainable rates while providing award-winning water to communities. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this decision will have on the Village of Montrose!