By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer
Despite reluctance and a vote-splitting decision, the city of Camanche has come up with a solution to solve their $110,000 operation budget deficit.
Beginning in fiscal year 2014, the city of Camanche will begin issuing a 2 percent franchise fee on both gas and electrical services to its residents and possibly graduate that percentage in the years to come.
While a few council members were in favor of the franchise fee, others were reluctant to implementing additional taxes to residents they deemed already “taxed enough.”
“If we’re going to look down the road with these franchise fees we’re going to need to look at making cuts down the road as well,” Councilman Bill Wruck said.
A compromise was met with those council members who were against the franchise fee and instead felt cutting the budget was the only way to erase the deficit.
In addition to the 2 percent fee, which will generate approximately $95,000 of additional revenue the first year, the council also cut specific expenditures they felt were unecessary to the city’s budget including a $10,000 annual membership fee to the Clinton Regional Development Corp.
Despite recommendations from City Administrator Tom Roth, the council decided through a poll to cut their contribution to the CRDC because of the lack of activity in the community and the lack of commerical development options in the Camanche city limits.
“Because we don’t have the opportunities, when do we cut our losses, if we’re paying and not having the opportunities anyway,” Councilman Trevor Willis said.
While Roth agreed that commercial and industrial property in Camanche is limited, he strongly advised against the council’s decision to cut the annual fee because of possible development opportunities in the future.
He also added that although the city hasn’t reaped any benefits from the CRDC in more than 10 years, the economic development group has made major strides for the region in the past five years.
“If the CRDC does good things for the area, in my mind, that’s good for Camanche,” Roth said. “I think it’s an investment in your own community. We do not exist as an island.”