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April 30, 2013

Chicago Mayor Offers Compromise on Nonprofits' Water Fees

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, facing a showdown with churches and charities over the blanket imposition of water charges on nonprofit groups, has offered an adjusted plan that would reduce or eliminate the fees for small organizations, NBC Chicago reports.

The initial plan, approved in late 2011 and set to be implemented this year, called for all city nonprofits to pay 60 percent of the going rate for water in 2013 and 80 percent thenceforth. Previously, the fees had been waived for all nonprofits. The new proposal, which City Hall termed final, would establish a sliding scale based on charities' size. Groups with assets of less than $1-million would pay no fees, while those with more than $250-million would pay the full rate.

Nonprofit and clergy leaders, including Chicago Cardinal Francis George, were planning to speak out this week against the water-fee policy, which the city adopted to help reduce its budget deficit.