Duluth city leaders propose funding options for street repairs

By KBJR News 1

November 21, 2013 Updated Nov 21, 2013 at 2:11 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Take a drive down any Duluth road and it's easy to see some streets are in desperate need of repairs.

Now, city officials are looking for new ways to fund the cost of those repairs.

The city of Duluth has exhausted its resources when it comes to street funding, and it's due in part to the loss of its share of revenue from the Fond-du-Luth Casino which was close to $6 million a year for street repairs.

Since 2009, the city has been tapping into the Community Investment Trust (CIT) fund to make necessary street repairs, but now the city has exceeded the amount available by $5 million.

A 2013 Citizen Survey showed overwhelming public response (94%) that street repairs were a priority.

So to help generate more funding, a task force made up of city leaders have proposed two options.

The first would be in the form of a property tax levy that would increase property tax for an average price home valued at $149,000 dollars by $5.02 per month for two years resulting in $10.04 per month.

The second option would be in the form of a street improvement fee on a monthly utility bill of $8.00 per month for a single residential property.

The fee would be higher for other properties such as apartments and multiplexes.

Streets task force member and city councilor Linda Krug, says the proposed options presented would help support the street repairs in Duluth.

"Should we increase property taxes, should we have some sort of a dedicated fee, should we some kind of combination. We really want to hear what people think about that and we'll take that information back sit down with the working group and come up with a recommendation before the full council."

If a street improvement fee is approved by city council, enhanced street repairs could begin as early as January 2014. If a property tax levy is approved by the council, it would not be implemented until 2015.

The proposed street funding options are preliminary and city officials are asking for public feedback.

Public meetings will be held on Tuesday November 26 at Denfeld High School at 6 p.m. and then again on Monday December 2nd at Duluth City Hall at noon.

To provide feedback through the city's website click here.

Jeremy Brickley
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