Weather Updates

Emanuel offering compromise on turning off free water spigot for non-profits

Updated: May 30, 2013 3:19PM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel backpedaled Sunday on his decision to take away free water from nonprofit organizations, putting forth a compromise proposal that would restore the perk to groups with assets under $1 million.

“We wanted to make sure the little guys, the churches and other groups that keep their doors open as safe havens but are struggling financially, could get this exemption to keep up their good works,” said Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), one of several aldermen who worked on the proposal with Emanuel’s office.

Under the new proposal, most other nonprofits worth more than $1 million would get discounts, but not free water.

Nonprofit groups with net assets between $1 and $10 million will be eligible for a 60 percent exemption from water payments. Groups with net assets between $10 and $250 milion will be eligible for a 25 percent exemption. Groups with more than $250 million would recieve no exemption. And public museums will maintain their 20 percent exemption regardless of net asset level.

The revised ordinance could be voted on as soon as May 8.

In 2011, Emanuel eliminated the free water perk for hospitals, churches, universities and other nonprofits as a budget-balancing measure.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.