MOLINE — Aldermen did not support a proposed stormwater utility rate increase presented to the Moline Committee of the Whole on Tuesday. |
In fact, it was not discussed or voted on. The proposed increase of 15 percent each year for three years, beginning in 2015, failed for lack of a motion by aldermen. Following that, city engineer Scott Hinton asked his scheduled presentation of the 2013 Capital Improvement Program be tabled.
The city traditionally tries to tackle road projects in which the utilities underneath — water, sewer and stormwater — also need replacing. Without a rate increase, there will not be enough stormwater funds to complete all of the road projects staffers proposed for the 2013 CIP. Mr. Hinton said staffers will need to go back and eliminate projects from the list.
The stormwater utility is an enterprise fund. It hasn't been raised since 2005, and more funding is needed for stormwater infrastructure replacement and repair, Mr. Hinton has said.
Water and sewer rates have increased in that time, and the city began to levy a utility tax to pay for more road improvements.
The proposed stormwater utility rate increase would have raised about $500,000 each year. It would have cost the average Moline property owner a cumulative $12 when fully implemented in 2015.
Mayor Don Welvaert said he was surprised no motion was made by aldermen on the proposal, which prevented any discussion by the committee of the whole on an increase.
Ald. Scott Raes, 3rd Ward, said after the meeting he agrees the utility is underfunded, but rather than a straight percentage increase, he will ask staff to investigate a fee-based proposal.
The current utility rate is based on the size of a lot — people living on a half-acre to two acres pay $23.07 per quarter. A property under a quarter acre is billed $5.84 per quarter.
"Just because you have a large property does not mean you are causing the run-off," Ald. Raes said, adding many large property owners use very little of the land for a driveway. "They are not necessarily the ones causing the problem," he added.
Ald. Richard Meredith, 2nd Ward, said after the meeting he wanted, and would still like, more information before voting for a rate increase. He also wondered why the funding need hadn't been addressed in the past.
Alds. Lori Turner, 5th Ward, Kevin Schoonmaker, 6th Ward, and Sean Liddell, 7th Ward, were absent from the meeting.
In other business, the city council approved a resolution stating its intent to allow video gaming in Moline. The council also heard a first reading of an amendment to an ordnance which would allow video gaming in the city.
Moline does not allow certain forms of gambling, but it is anticipated by the end of the year the state will allow approved liquor-license holders to have up to five video gaming machines.
If video gaming is offered in Moline, the city gets a percentage of the state tax imposed per machine.
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