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City Council votes 3-2 to raise storm water rates

By Rich Glennie
The Glencoe City Council on Monday night approved a storm water rate increase to $12.50 a month per household, up from the current $7.50 a month. City Administrator Mark Larson said the rate increase is necessary to help pay for the 2018 storm water bond issue.
But the vote was 3-2 with council members Milan Alexander and Allen Robeck voting no. Voting for the increase were council members Gary Ziemer, John Schrupp and Cory Neid.
Larson said the city needs to generate about $205,000 a year to pay for the bond issue.
Robeck questioned whether the additional funds would be used exclusively for storm sewers “or to hire new people?”
“The new money is for debt service,” Larson shot back.
But Robeck said the city hired new employees the last time.
“Yes, and Council approved that,” Larson noted.
Alexander suggested the proposed three-year rate hike plan could be scaled back since the city got a break on issuing the storm water bonds. He suggested giving rate payers a break, too.
“We need to generate $205,000 a year, and the $12.50 (rate) will do that,” Larson replied. “All the money will stay in the storm water fund.”
Neid asked about the fund’s current balance.
Todd Trippel, city finance director, said the current balance is about $71,000.
Larson said the plan is to build that fund to cover the debt service payment, which comes due twice a year.
Neid said the city also is looking at raising its tax levy as well.
Larson said that levy could go up about $90,000 this year, but an old bond will be coming off the city’s debt service. “With growth in the community, hopefully, the impact will be minimum.”
“It’s a good project,” Robeck said, “but we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
For more about the issue, see the June 6 print edition of The Chronicle.