The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


October 19, 2012

Clinton residents face referendum to reallocate money to sewer work

CLINTON — Members of the Clinton City Council on Thursday came together to ensure there will not be a sewer rate increase in January. 

What will happen to residents’ bills and the city’s finances in the coming decade, or even year, is not so certain.    

During a special Committee of the Whole work session, council members approved a series of measures that will be taken in order to bring some level of solvency to the city’s sewer funds.

To make a large change to the immediate and near future expenditures, the Iowa Finance Authority, at the request of the city, will restructure the city’s $62 million debt for the new treatment plant from a 20-year to a 30-year debt service schedule.

The IFA will also waive certain bond requirements that will allow the city to pursue a State Revolving Fund loan of $2.2 million to cover the payment to the Iowa DOT for the sewer work along Liberty Avenue which will be payed back over a 20-year period.

The city will also pursue another SRF loan for $6.5 million for the 25th Avenue North pump station project. Additionally, the city will not perform transfers to reserves for fiscal years 2013 to 2015.  

These items altogether have a $1 million expenditure impact, allowing the city to push the proposed sewer rate increases back and hopefully have a positive balance in the sewer fund by the end of fiscal year 2015.   

“All of us collectively, have all said we are not going to put this on the  the taxpayers in the form of a monthly increase in January,” At-large councilwoman Jennifer Graf said.

While the new plan does not involve the 25 percent increase in January as was suggested at the Sept. 25 COW work session, it does involve a 25 percent rate increase in July 2013 and a subsequent 15 percent increase in July 2014 with moderate 3 percent increases in 2015 and beyond.

However, these increases are not set in stone. They are merely place holders, Finance Director Jessica Kinser said, and will be reviewed during budget discussions in February.

During Thursday’s meeting Kinser stressed the weight of the situation and the effects it will have on city finances.  

“We are talking about things that will have a long-term impact on the city. Ultimately, This is a delicate balance of what being’s required right now with what risk can the future take....This is a drastic step. I don’t want to minimize this in anyway way because this is a drastic step,” Kinser said. “Is it the best case financial scenario? It’s not. But we’re in a position where we don’t really have a best case financial scenario that really conforms to good financing principles at this point.”

The council also was asked to pursue a $20 million, 20-year general obligation bond with annual interest and payments equal to $1.5 million to fund a majority of the projects in years 2013 to 2016 established in the city’s long term control plan.

This will use a half of the 1-cent local option sales tax that is currently allocated for streets, sewer and waste water treatment plant construction and put the city near its bonding capacity. This will also use the funds that had been previously planned to fund the city’s pavement management program.

Because the 50 percent of the local option sales tax allocated for these types of projects will be tied up in funding projects for the long-term control plan and the general obligation bond will put the city near its bonding capacity, the city will hold a special election in March to ask voters to allocate the other 50 percent of the local option sales tax to street construction and maintenance as well as sewer projects.

That other 50 percent is currently used to provide property tax relief by offsetting the debt service from the tax levy. For fiscal year 2013, $1.3 million of the local option sales tax was used to abate the levy.  

If the referendum were to pass and 100 percent of the local option sales tax was allocated to sewer, streets and wastewater, it would mean an additional $1 per every $1,000 of assessed value on resident’s property tax bills.  

However, if the referendum does not pass, it will mean the city will need to pursue a $1 million general obligation bond annually plus an additional $2.7 million general obligation bond in order to continue funding the city’s pavement management program if the council chooses to do so.  

This referendum will come forward in March at the earliest if it is approved by the City Council.

All of these items will move forward for council approval.

Text Only
  • 4-23-14 Northey Burkens committed to ag education CLINTON -- As the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey said his department doesn't hand out the Good Farm Neighbor Award arbitrarily. Only 10 acknowledgements are bestowed each year. On Wednesday, the honor went to a worthy family in Clinton C

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Evers: For love of the green CLINTON - Conner Evers calls The Oaks Golf Course his home. There isn't a day where Evers won't visit the golf course on the city's west side. "I spend a lot of time here," Evers said with a laugh. "This is my second home. I love golf, and there's no

    April 24, 2014

  • World Book Night 1 Clinton Public Library hosts largest World Book Night event in the country

    CLINTON -- With more than 21 titles and 800 copies to give away, what reader wouldn't adore an event like World Book Night? Organizers at the Clinton Public Library wondered the same Wednesday, and were pleased with turnout for the third annual event

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • LumberKings score bizarre run CLINTON -- Rain was the only thing that could have saved the Clinton LumberKings from losing Wednesday to Quad Cities 7-1. The run that the LumberKings got, however, came on a bizarre play. In the bottom of the first inning, Tyler O'Neill singled o

    April 24, 2014

  • 4-24-14 1B-Photo, Drake story Youngsters take on oval

    CLINTON -- One of the biggest track meets in the nation begins today, and the youngsters will kick off the event at Drake University in Des Moines. The high school portion of the Drake Relays begins at 3 p.m. with the field events, and Clinton senior

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Blog: Council amenable to tree-saving route

    Pershing or Roosevelt? Councilmembers leaning toward more expensive, but more "green" alternative for force main construction.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man charged in meth case

    A Clinton man has been charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine.

    Timothy W. Atkinson, 35, 1419 Honey Lane, was arrested Sunday after Clinton police executed a search warrant at his residence.

    April 23, 2014

  • Judge denies guilty plea withdrawal

    A Clinton County District Court judge has denied a man's attempt at withdrawing a guilty plea.

    Eric R. Hook, 45, 900 S. 10th St., was sentenced last week to no more than five years in prison for willful injury causing bodily injury, a class D felony. He also was given a sentence of no more than two years in prison for domestic abuse assault, second offense, to be served concurrently.

    April 23, 2014

  • Medication drop boxes available

    Although no formal event is planned in Clinton County for Saturday’s nationwide Medication Take Back Day, area officials are reminding residents this week about permanent drop boxes at area law enforcement agencies.
    Unused or expired medications can be disposed of during normal business hours in the lobbies of four police departments in Clinton County — Camanche Police Department, 819 South Washington Blvd.; Clinton County Sheriff’s office, 241 Seventh Ave. North; Clinton Police Department, 116 Sixth Ave. South; DeWitt Police Department, 606 Ninth St.

    April 23, 2014

  • Legal Services photo New legal services agreement proceeds CLINTON - By one vote, the Clinton City Council voted for Lynch Dallas over local firm Frey, Haufe and Current as its next city attorney service. On Tuesday, in a show of solidarity, the council was unanimous, officially hiring the Cedar Rapids group

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Clinton Herald Photos

Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.