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Madison City Commission votes split on utility rate ordinances

The Madison City Commission remained divided in its votes Monday on ordinances establishing and increasing the rates and charges for water, electricity, and wastewater for city utility consumers for 2020.  The commission held second reading on each of the utility ordinances during its meeting Monday, with each passing on a 3-to-2 vote. Mayor Marshall Dennert and Commissioner Bob Thill both voted against each of the three ordinances.  

For the city’s water rates, City Finance Officer Jennifer Eimers explained the increases in the ordinance.

Eimers said the increase will generate an estimated 95-thousand dollars in additional funding for the city’s water fund in 2020.  

City resident George Lee questioned where the money brought in would be spent, and City resident Mike Johnson questioned how the city determined the amount of the increase.  Commissioner Jeremiah Corbin said a threshold was used to determine affordability, and the city needs to reinvest the money it brings in into infrastructure in the community.

Commissioners on Monday also held second reading of the city’s ordinance increasing electric rates.  Eimers explained the increase for 2020 is one-percent across the board, and that 2017 was the last time that the city had an electric rate increase.  Eimers said the increase is estimated to generate an additional one-hundred thousand dollars for the electric fund in 2020. Before voting against the second reading of the ordinance, Mayor Dennert asked if instead of raising the rates if the city could cut one-hundred thousand dollars from its budget for next year. 

In the commission’s discussion on the increase in the city’s wastewater user rates, Eimers said the increase is expected to generate approximately 160-thousand dollars next year.  Commissioner Thill disagreed on the timing of the rate increases.

Commissioner Corbin said during the first reading of the utility ordinances two weeks ago that he estimates on average, a city consumer’s utility bill will increase approximately six dollars a month in 2020.  

City commissioners unanimously approved second reading of a fourth ordinance Monday increasing some of the city’s restricted use site fees.  Commissioner Kelly Johnson said the site is filling up faster than the city had anticipated and that it’s time to start planning for it’s future. 


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