Connection Fees: Can Your District Operating Under the 1936 Act Charge Higher Connection Fees?

higher connection fees for utilities, Oakbrook Terrace municipal law attorneys

The question answered in this article is whether a Sanitary District operating under the 1936 Act may charge a new development in its district connection fees greater than connection fees charged to citizens situated in other areas serviced by the district?

Applicable Law

“The board of trustees of any sanitary district…may require before any connection is made to the sewage or drainage system of the district that a permit be issued by the sanitary district and the district shall, after the permit is issued, be permitted to inspect the drainage lines to determine whether they are adequate and suitable and in conformance with plans and specifications upon which the permit was issued.” 70 ILCS 2805/25a. (2013). In addition “the sanitary district may collect a reasonable charge for the issuance of the permit and inspection service. Funds collected as inspection charges shall be used by the sanitary district for its general corporate purposes after payment of the costs of issuing the permit and making the inspection.” 70 ILCS 2805/25a. (2013).

The power to establish connection fees is derived from the police powers delegated to municipalities by the Illinois Legislature with the purpose to preserve and protect health and public safety. As sanitary districts are an important subject of public health and safety “the general Assembly of Illinois has delegated to the District the power to collect a charge from new users for connection to its system. In the absence of precise directions as to the manner in which such charge is to be established, it is implicit that it must be reasonable.” Spalding v. Granite City, 415 Ill. 274 (Ill. 1953).

Practice Areas

  • IAWA
  • Water Environment Federation
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association