DIXON – The day after Christmas, the Dixon City Council will vote on whether to waive an automatic sewer rate increase for 5 years.
The vote will come during a special meeting, and after the City Council voted 4-1 against a 1-year freezing of the automatic 3 percent increase during its regular meeting Monday night.
By voting down the ordinance for 1-year, the City Council will be able to vote on a 5-year freeze.
Commissioner Dennis Considine was the only vote for the 1-year freeze, he said, in part, because it could be extended next year and each year after.
Commissioner David Blackburn voted against the 1-year freeze, but said he doesn’t support a 5-year freeze, either. Commissioners Colleen Brechon, Jeff Kuhn and Mayor Jim Burke do.
A 1-year freeze of the automatic 3 percent rate increase would save the average homeowner $15 for the year, said Dan Mahan, superintendent of the waste water department. Businesses, which use more water, would see greater savings.
If the 5-year freeze is approved Dec. 26, the average homeowner would save $75 during that time.
The waste water department, however, loses $400,000 after 5 years just based off the 1-year freeze, said Police Chief Danny Langloss, who previously served as a special assistant to the council.
By freezing the rates, Blackburn was concerned the city would be faced with an unforeseen upgrade or expense and not have the funds available.
“For us to just waive this at this time, and for a 5-year period, or whatever, it scares me to death,” Blackburn said, adding that the city doesn’t know what upgrades to the waste water treatment facility the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could require in the coming years.
The city is projected to have positive cash balance in the waste water fund if the 3 percent automatic increase is waived for 5 years, Burke said.
“I don’t think it’s going to have an impact for 1 year,” Brechon said, referring to the savings for the residents. “I think that people in our community, and businesses, would be able to project and budget a little better if it was a 5-year freeze on this 3 percent [automatic increase].”
Kuhn supported the freeze, he said, as a way of helping residents, in a way they see, with the money the city has and will receive from the settlement with its former auditors and the auction of former Comptroller Rita Crundwell’s property.
The City Council also placed on file an agreement to allow Allied Waste Transportation Inc. to assume the city’s garbage collection. Allied will take over the contract from Affordable Waste Systems LLC. after it purchased the company.
Once Allied presents the city with proof of insurance and the required financial guarantee, the transition from one company to the other is expected to be seamless, said City Attorney Rob LeSage.
The vote on allowing Allied to assume that contract will be during the special City Council meeting Dec. 26.
The Dixon City Council next meets at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 26 at City Hall, 121 W. Second St., on the second floor in the Council Chambers for a special meeting.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 6 at City Hall.
Go to www.DiscoverDixon.org or call City Hall at 815-288-1485 for an agenda or more information.