MOLINE — Water and sewer connection fees in the city may soon come free of charge.
An ordinance amendment proposed by staff suggested changing the fees from $20 per frontage foot for water and $25 per frontage foot for sewer to a flat rate of $300 regardless of parcel size.
Tony Loete, Utilities General Manager, said that Davenport and Bettendorf did not not charge for water hook-up, but the sewer hook up in Bettendorf is charged at $300. Rock Island and East Moline provide both free of charge.
Loete explained that the developers would still have to pay their costs to the plumber to install the plumbing. He said the annual fees collected over the past five years were $5,000 for water and about $9,500 for sewer.
An amendment was made to drop the fee altogether, which resulted in a 4-4 tie vote. Mayor Stephanie Acri cast the tiebreaking vote to move forward with no charge.
Aldermen David Parker, Mike Wendt, Kevin Schoonmaker and Alderwoman Sonia Berg voted in favor of the change. Alderman Dick Potter, Mike Waldron, Quentin Rodriguez and Alderwoman Lori Turner voted against the change.
Waldron said it would be a loss of revenue for the city, and switching to a flat fee would not recover the cost to the city.
Berg said that offering the hook-up for free would show that the city was business- friendly.
The ordinance change will move on to the regular council meeting where it will need to pass two more readings to pass.
In other business:
- An amendment to change the dates and maintain a flat 3.5 percent interest rate for the Captain’s Table Restaurant was passed out of the committee-of-the-whole unanimously.
The Revenue Anticipation note is worth $800,000 and will come from the general fund, which will in turn be given to the park fund to eliminate financial burden there.
- Four new police officers were sworn in for a probationary appointment: Devin Syler, Katherine Pennacchio, Steven Murphy and Tyler McLaughlin.
- Mark Evans was appointed by Acri to the Citizens Advisory Council on Urban Planning for a full three-year term, which will expire on July 31, 2022.
- Acri made a proclamation that January is “Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month” in the city.
- The intersection of 25th Ave. and 14th St will now become an all-way stop after council members voted in favor of the change on a 6-2 vote. Potter and Waldron were the votes against the installations.
- An amendment to the beekeeping ordinance passed unanimously out of committee. The changes include no longer requiring a sign that notifies bees are being kept there and shifts the annual license term to April 1 through March 31. Currently the license term is from August 1 through July 31.
- Doug Maxeiner, city administrator, gave the council an update on incorporating an ombudsman for people to turn to when looking for information about new developments in the city. He suggested having a person in both the city hall and public works who could split duties for a few months to see if there was a need to create a separate position.
Aldermen suggested renaming the position as a development liason.
Rodriguez suggested that the departments are already spread too thin and this might not be effective.
Schoonmaker said he thought it was probably its own position.
Maxeiner said he would modify his report and get back to the council at a later date.