Duluth city council puts off street maintenance fee implementation

By KBJR News 1

June 9, 2014 Updated Jun 9, 2014 at 10:57 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Action on the implementation of a street maintenance fee in Duluth will have to wait, once again.

The Duluth City Council held off on a vote Monday night following changes to the proposal.

The ordinance has to through a second reading because of the added amendment.

The council voted to add an amendment to the current ordinance, which would essentially change the fee amount based on improvements made to city streets.

Many people in the community showed up to Monday's meeting saying each time the city adds a new charge, they strain people's budgets.

But that didn't stop councilors from thoroughly considering charging people and businesses a fee to fund these projects.

The fee would cost $5 each month for residences and between $30-240 for commercial properties.

"A fee is an unfair tax against the poor, and people who are on fixed incomes. It takes a larger percentage of their income than it does for anybody else," said Glenn Jackson, who is in opposition to the fee.

"You're really hurting the very people that you all say that you want to protect, and senior citizens who have a limited amount of money," said John, who's also in opposition to the fee.

"The issue here is city government and how they spend the tax-payers dollars. The tax-payers think they're not getting enough for their dollars," said Gerald Schlafer, another party in opposition.

Many city councilors say the fee would really be a short-term solution to pay for street improvements until a final resolution of casino litigation is made.

The council also approved a resolution of intent to reduce the street lighting utility fee, which is a $5 annual fee for people living in Duluth.

Councilors say this means they hope to reduce the street lighting fee by half of the current amount by December 31, 2018.

Elsa Robins