Chicago Water Certification Progress

***Positive Movement with the City***

Following a December 29th ILTA working group meeting, the City of Chicago met with ILTA on January 4th to discuss ongoing water certification issues. The main working group goals highlighted a desire for the city to adhere to a ten day turnaround as much as possible and to increase communication, especially where there is possible delay in the process.

As a result of the working group’s discussions and meeting with the city, we are seeing some areas of progress that the title industry will need to monitor as well as important items the city has agreed to follow up on in the coming weeks. The association is thankful for the time and attention the city is providing and look forward to continued communication.

***Recent Background on Process Issues***

The City of Chicago acknowledges water certification problems since the fall of 2022 that resulted from staffing issues and a 20% increase in applications; however, the city also confirmed that increased staff hiring was implemented in the 4th quarter of 2022 and that training for new staff is near completion.

While the city’s November and December stats did indicate an average turnaround approaching ten days, the city also appreciated the need for more work and communication.

***Recommendations to Implement***

As structural issues continue to be worked on, the city did confirm several items that may help industry interactions in the near term:

  • Contact information provided on applications should include the individual able to provide direct access to the property for a meter reading;
  • Phone calls from the city for purposes of scheduling or seeking access to property will be from a number that contains “312-74#-####”;
  • If there are issues with scheduling or access to property, city staff now has a goal of updating portal notes within 3 days of a meter reading problem;
  • Once the meter reading is completed, city staff now has a goal of updating portal information within 3 days; and
  • While in-person customer service continues to be available, the city is encouraging use of the portal’s notes to communicate any issues.

***Issues Pending Resolution***

Based on ILTA’s working group discussions and meeting with the city, there will be continued work and clarifications sought over the next month; although not an exhaustive list, some issues that the city is checking:

  • Changes in scheduling city staff for meter readings to potentially address its impact on process delays; and
  • Consistent communication through portal notes regarding meter reading issues to potentially avoid order cancelations and reapplications.

As we work with the city on the above items, ILTA will also follow up with the city on some additional ILTA working group items including but not limited to:

  • Non-metered accounts;
  • Dollar amount discrepancies; and
  • Overall transparency.