City of Clinton proposes franchise fee to increase gas, electric bills

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Clinton, Iowa (KWQC) - The city of Clinton is looking into implementing a franchise fee which would increase residents’ electric and gas bills by up to 5%.

The city of Clinton is holding several informational meetings for residents about its proposed franchise fee. (KWQC)

City officials held one of its many informational meetings about the franchise fee on Wednesday in order to be transparent.

The city administrator told TV6 that Clinton has a deficit of $1 million and has been struggling with not having enough city workers for a long time.

“So we started looking across the table at how we can continue to provide the same level of services to the community and bring in new revenues,” said Matt Brooke, Clinton’s city administrator. “As we looked across the state of Iowa, over 64% of the towns are doing a franchise fee on both gas and electric. About 19% are doing it on one or the other. We needed to take a look at this because we don’t want to reduce our firefighters or our police. We want to keep the same services going.”

Brooke said the reason many Iowa towns are looking into franchise fees is that the state has rolled back taxes.

“Basically instead of paying a $100,000 house with a $100,000 appraise value, it gets rolled back to $55,000,” he said. “We’re rolling back taxes, so there are less taxes available to provide these public services. That’s dictated by the state. God bless them. But meanwhile, we’re here trying to survive. But how do we do that? We have to find other revenue sources to put into the general fund to do that.”

During the meeting on Wednesday, Brooke talked to Clinton residents about where the franchise fee money would go.

“We are going to put them in the general fund to continue running the city with police, fire, city hall, finance, library, parks and recreation,” Brook said. “Meanwhile, the other percentage is going to go towards lowering taxes for individuals that own property.”

The franchise fee will not be set in stone until the end of March. If it goes through, it won’t be implemented until July.

The city will hold a few more informational meetings about the franchise fee for the public. Below are the listed dates and times when the next meetings will take place at Clinton City Hall.

Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.