Updated: 06/23/2014 11:04 PM
Created: 06/23/2014 10:46 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
The Duluth City Council approved a plan to charge Duluth citizens and businesses street maintenance fees in a meeting Monday night.
The fees range from $5 to $240. According to Chief Administrative Officer Dave Montgomery, here's how they 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 should bring in about $3 million per year.
Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce representative David Ross was one of a handful of citizens who spoke out against the fee.
“(Businesses) have, I believe, received or will be receiving a disproportionately high amount of this fee,” Ross said. “This is money that has not been anticipated, not been budgeted and it will be a hardship on those businesses.”
Councilors said the fee will take effect in four to five weeks, meaning five months of collections in 2014. Councilor Emily Larson said the fee is up for reconsideration each year, and the council will discuss implementing it again at the end of 2015.
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.
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