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Duluth Council President on Street Fees: 'I Wish We Wouldn't Have to Do This'

Updated: 06/09/2014 9:42 PM
Created: 06/09/2014 10:00 PM WDIO.com
By: Alan Hoglund
ahoglund@wdio.com

Duluth city councilors took up a plan to charge fees to pay for street maintenance in their meeting Monday evening, and while it didn't get a vote, it got a healthy dose of criticism from the community members who would have to write the check.

The fees would range from $5 to $240. According to Chief Administrative Officer Dave Montgomery, here's how they would break down:

  • $5/month for properties including homes and small businesses
  • $30/month for mid-sized businesses
  • $90/month for larger businesses
  • $240/month for biggest buildings and businesses (like the Essentia Health main hospital building or the city's largest schools)

According to Council President Linda Krug, the fees would bring in about $3 million per year.

Eyewitness News counted at least 8 emails to the city in opposition to the fees on Monday. A the meeting, a majority of the people who took the podium to speak, did so against the proposal.

Jerry Schlafer, of Duluth, was the second to speak. He said "the citizens of Duluth want the potholes repaired and are willing to pay to do it. The problem is that they feel they have already paid enough fees and taxes to do the job and they don't want to pay anymore to do it."

We asked Krug to respond to the concerns of citizens. She said "well, you know nobody wants to do this. I wish we wouldn't have to do this. We wouldn't be here if we still had our $6 million for our casino revenue."

The Fond-du-Luth Casino on Superior Street stopped paying the city for their presence downtown in 2009. The money was previously the main funding source for street repairs. A legal fight between the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the city is ongoing.

Councilors didn't vote on the fees Monday because they passed an amendment concerning credits for street repair assessments. Councilors will likely make a decision in their June 23rd meeting.

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