Limited Operations of the City of Lake Forest Finance Department Utility Billing effective March 17, 2020
February bills were due March 16. The City will defer penalties for late payments until City operations resume in full.
The Finance department will suspend all penalty notices and shut off procedures until City operations resume in full.
Online payments may be made at any time and will post automatically to accounts.
Mailed payments will be posted to accounts intermittently
ACH payments will process automatically on bill due dates.
Effective April 1, the Finance Department will resume preparation of final water bills – please see modified Real Estate Transfer Tax procedures.
To access your Utility Bill Click Here
Search Utility Billing by Account Number - In the search bar, enter your account number, and on the next screen, double click on your account. You will see your billing history, payment history, water usage history and be able to reprint your Utility Bills. You can also make a One-Time payment through this page by clicking “Pay Now”. This will direct you to the payment screen, at which you can choose to “Pay Now” to make a One-Time payment or “Register” to take advantage of our online billing features.
To make a One-Time Payment Click Here
You can make a payment using a checking account, savings account or a credit card without registering by selecting the “Pay Now” option. This link will take you directly to the payment screen. You will need your Utility Bill account number to look up your bill and make a payment. Please follow the prompts to pay your bill and complete your transaction. Your payment information will not be stored.
Sign in to your Online Account Click Here
If you have already registered and have a password, this link will take you directly to the Sign In screen where you will be able to sign in and manage your account. You will be able to store several different payment options, set up recurring auto payment, choose “Pay by Text” and other options. Another new feature is the option to schedule payments.
Utility billing for The City of Lake Forest is done on a quarterly basis. For billing purposes, the City is divided into three sections/cycles and each cycle is billed quarterly. Water meters in Lake Forest are equipped with a Radio Read Meter Transceiver Unit (MXU) which permits meter reading via radio signals. As the Public Works vehicle moves through the section of town to be billed, the MXU connected to your meter receives a wake up signal from the vehicle interrogation unit. The MXU obtains the meter's identification number and meter reading, which are transmitted back to the interrogation unit. The meter readings are then used to produce the water bills. Your water bill is based on an actual (not estimated) meter reading each quarter. Actual readings produce an accurate usage history and that helps detect leaks.
The utility bill includes a water charge, water customer charge, city use tax (5% of the water charge the Water Customer Charge), sewer charge, a sewer customer charge which is based on the size of the meter in each home or business, refuse collection fee effective May 1, 2014, and a public safety pension fee effective May 1, 2017.
Tiered Water Rate Structure
In February of 2014 the City Council adopted revisions to the water rate structure with one of the goals to incentivize residential customers to reduce water consumption during demand peak periods. The table below shows the tiered rates.
Refuse Collection Fee
In December of 2013 the City Council adopted changes to various fees and charges which included a Refuse Collection Fee. Residents who have their garbage and recycling collected by the City will be charged a Refuse Collection Fee on the water bill. For more detailed information regarding the Refuse Collection Fee please click on this link to the Sanitation Web Page.
The amount of water used during the winter billing quarter establishes the consumption charged for sewer for the next four bills, i.e. during the winter quarter your usage is 5,000 gallons of water, but in the summer water usage jumps to 48,000 gallons. The sewer charge will be based on a consumption of 5,000 gallons, not 48,000.
You will receive a separate bill from the North Shore Water Reclamation District for sewage treatment and disposal. The City of Lake Forest water bill includes charges for the maintenance of the sewer lines from your home or business to the North Shore Water Reclamation District intercepting sewers.
Public Safety Pension Fee
To increase public awareness of pension obligations, a portion of the funding required for police and fire pension costs is being funded by a Public Safety Pension Fee on the utility bill. The revenue generated by the fee will be added to police and fire pension property tax levy revenues to fund the police and fire pension costs. For a more detailed explanation, please click here.
We now offer the option to pay online or by phone (833-699-7832). Please note, you will need your account number to pay online or by phone. You may use a credit card at no additional charge (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express), or an electronic check.
Utility bill payments may be deposited in The City of Lake Forest postage-free white drop boxes located at the Telegraph Road train station parking lot and on Bank Lane north of Westminster. There is also a drop box located to the left of the main entrance of the Municipal Services building. You may also pay your utility bill in person at the Municipal Services Building or City Hall during the regular business hours of 8:00am to 4:30pm. We accept check, cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express.
Water Bill Changes
To request a change to the mailing address of your utility bill please complete the change of address form. You may download this Change of Address form and either email or mail the form to the Finance Department. This information is on the form. If you are requesting a name change and are not selling your property you will need to submit supporting documentation when submitting the change request form.
If you are selling your property you will need to have a Home Sanitary Sewer Inspection, request a final water meter reading, and pay your final utility bill prior to the closing date of the property sale. We suggest that you contact our office as soon as you have the closing date scheduled. A Seller /Buyer checklist can be downloaded for your reference. The Home Sanitary Sewer Inspection application and the fee of $150 (cash or check only) will need to be submitted to the Community Development Department in order to schedule the inspection.
If you are purchasing a home in The City of Lake Forest we ask that you contact the Utility Billing Department to set up your new water account. In addition to setting up your new water account you will need to purchase a Transfer Tax Stamp prior to the closing date. A City of Lake Forest Real Estate Transfer Tax Declaration will need to be completed. A Seller/Buyer Checklist can be downloaded for your reference. If you would like more information regarding the Transfer Tax Stamp click on this link to our Real Estate Transfer Tax Web Page
If you rent your property and would like to have a duplicate bill sent to your renter(s) please complete the Duplicate Billing Form. This form will authorize the City to send a duplicate bill to your renter(s). This form can be emailed or mailed to the Finance Department. The completed form will need to be signed by both the Owner and the renter(s). Please note important information regarding registering an online account and enrolling in auto-pay.
Is my utility bill high due to a water leak?
If your utility bill is higher than normal, it may be due to higher water consumption. Please see additional Information on how to check for a possible leak.
How much water do I use?
Many customers ask the question, "How much water does the average person use each day?" The answer to this question, of course, requires a definition of the "average person." In general, per capita water use ranges from about 80 - 100 gallons per day in the eastern United States, which would be an average of 9,000 gallons per billing quarter.