More city fees? Some Chicagoans feeling fleeced

October 12, 2011 (CHICAGO)

At the Chicago Auto Center, water is the main ingredient for the car wash business. Now, businesses and residents will see their bills jump 25 percent next year.

"Our prices are going to have to go up at some point to help balance it all out. It's not going to make the customers happy, nobody is going to be happy," said Demetrios Rizos, Chicago Auto Center.

And that's not all. There will be a 15 percent increase for each of the three following years. The money will be used to overhaul the city's century old water and sewer lines.

If you have meter installed for free, the city's water departments says that could save you money.

"I think the metered system, at the end of the day, is going to encourage conservation nd encourage folks to be more conscious of the resources that we're using," said Commissioner Michael Alvarez, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

If you drive a truck or SUV, your city sticker will cost another $15 bucks, jumping from $120 to $135.

The city reports that SUVs and trucks cause 80 percent of the street damage. SUV owners point out that all drivers use the roads.

"Everybody can bear the burden of couple dollars more. If you can afford a car, you can afford $3-4 more," said Chris Kraft, SUV driver.

For drivers like Kraft, it's a double whammy if you park in a downtown parking garage. Everyone who uses a downtown parking garage will pay more. Daily users will pay an additional $2 to $5 during weekdays. If you pay more than $240 for monthly parking, tag on another $60 to $100 a month.

"I worry about whether or not it will affect the tourism industry in downtown," said Matt Smith, driver.

The hotel tax is jumping from 3.5 to 4.5 percent too. But property and sales taxes, at least for now, will not increase.

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