Budge Running Deficit
Sun August 12, 2012
Burlington Could Raise Garbage Fees
Burlington residents could soon pay more to get rid of their garbage.
City Manager Jim Ferneau says the base fee is $12.10/month. He says that does include recycling and inclusion in a city-wide clean-up.
The fee does not appear to be enough to balance the $2-million sanitation budget, which is carrying a roughly $220,000 shortfall.
Ferneau says part of the reason for that is the city has only adjusted the monthly rate based on increasing tipping fees at the local landfill.
He says the rate hikes did not take into account the fact that it costs Burlington more, each year, to pick-up garbage.
Ferneau says the city also chose to borrow money to pay for garbage trucks, instead of using the revenue generated by the monthly fee.
He plans to present a garbage rate increase to the city council in the near future.
Burlington hopes changing a tax incentive will lead to more residential improvements.
The city temporarily reduces or even eliminates the property taxes associated with substantial improvements through new construction or rehabilitation.
There has been a cap, though, so tax relief could only be provided on the first $75,000 of work.
The city council has voted to eliminate that cap in the hopes of larger, more substantial improvements throughout Burlington.
Burlington wants to keep its options open when it comes to hydroelectric power.
The city holds a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that would allow for the construction of a hydroelectric plant at Lock & Dam 18.
The permit expires at the end of the month, though, so the city council has authorized Klingner & Associates to apply for a 3-year extension on behalf of the city.
Ferneau says there are no immediate plans to use the permit, but the city wants it available when the market improves for hydroelectric power.
He says Burlington has been talking to a Canadian company about the permit.
The firm has expressed an interest in building a hydroelectric plant, but no proposal has come forward at this point.
Ferneau says a feasibility study shows Lock & Dam 18 is a solid location, but the issues for the city would be how to sell the energy and how to pay for the plant.
The city council has delayed a vote to extend a pair of union contracts so regional representatives of one of the organizations can meet with the city.
Aldermen were ready to add two years to the deals for members of the police union and the general union, which includes multiple departments.
In exchange for keeping the language the same, scheduled pay raises for next year would be cut from 4% to 2%. The additional two years of the contract would then include the 2% raises.
A meeting is scheduled for later this week.