The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 2, 2013

Committee debates how city will pay for sewer work

(Continued)

"I've said it before and I'll say it again. If something like this is going to cause greater fees and greater rates for the taxpayers than what we currently have, I don't care what it is, I'm not voting for it," Rowland said. 
At-large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf asked Rowland if he had any suggestions regarding how to pay for the sewer work. Rowland said he didn't, but recalled other work the city did not do only to be mandated by the state to do it.  
"This is a different situation in that the work has already been done," Kinser said. "So that's where we have to pay for it."  
Kinser explained the proposed option would have the least impact on the taxpayer, though she did not know what increase it would create on the debt service levy.  
The outlook for the sewer user is not as rosy. The city would need to implement sewer increases to cover the $165,000 annual principal and interest payments for the SRF loan or reduce costs to offset the growing debt.  
Although Kinser is exploring cost-saving options such as how to cut down on the Regional Waste Water Reclamation plant's monthly electricity bill, she told committee members there appears to be only one real option to forgo an increase.  
"We're pursuing things, but I don't think you could do it without reducing employees," Kinser said.
Liberty Square development, which Graf pondered as an option to neutralize the $2.2 million SRF loan, isn't likely to happen by the time the city needs to pay the DOT bill. 
Although the committee doesn't have the final say in how the city funds projects, it is responsible for passing on a plan to the plan commission, which will then come before the City Council during budget season.  
The $2.2 million SRF loan partnered with the $400,000 general obligation bond remained in the recommendation that will move on to the Plan Commission.  
"I guess there's a difference between do you want to vote for it or do you have an obligation to do it," Committee member Sue Tugana said. 

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