Morton leaders say new low-interest utility loan program likely won’t help Village

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MORTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The Village of Morton is now facing a nearly $5 million bill for heat.

It’s one of many central Illinois towns getting sticker shock, as costs suddenly increased five-fold. The high price tag is part of a trickle-down effect from the winter weather that slammed Texas and sent energy prices soaring.

On Wednesday, Feb. 23, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a $15 million low-interest loan program for utility costs to support struggling communities.

“The state of Illinois will not leave our people out in the cold,” said Pritzker.

However, Morton Public Works Director Craig Loudermilk said the village has money in the bank to cover its expenses- a double-edged sword.

“Fortunately, we have $13.8 million in the bank that was being saved for other things,” said Loudermilk.

The limited money in the loan program will start in towns and cities that can’t cover their costs. Loudermilk says it means Morton likely won’t get help from the program.

“We can pay the bill. But we still need help. So if we don’t get help, that’s $3.5, $4 million of our citizen’s hardworking money that we want back in some fashion or another,” said Loudermilk.

He said energy conservation helped the village save $2-3 million.

Still, he’s joining calls for a federal investigation into the spike in prices and wants assurance that a situation like this will not ever happen again.

Loudermilk said village leaders are also looking into options to help individuals pay their bills.

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