By Denise Lana,
The first reading of two ordinances amending the city’s water and sewer rates were both passed unanimously by Decorah City Council. The proposed ordinance would increase water rates by 12 percent and sewer rates by 6 percent. The city had anticipated a two-year span of 8 percent and 4 percent increases in 2022 and 2023, but a recent comparison to towns similar to Decorah showed that Decorah would need to increase its rates to maintain a budgeted level. The second reading of the ordinance will take place at the council’s April 17 meeting held at city hall at 5:45 p.m.
The council held a public hearing on the proposed FY24 budget, with one comment received in writing from a Decorah resident. The budget has undergone several changes due to State File 181, which reduced residential rollback. For an in-depth explanation of the entire budget, be sure to check out the property tax analysis and breakdown story in the April 6 Decorah Public Opinion Newspaper.
In conformance with the newly-established Alley Assessment Policy, the council held a public hearing to discuss the proposed assessment of houses adjacent to the 2023 alley project which encompasses alleys within the 300 and 400 blocks between Decorah and Center Avenues. The project will include resurfacing south of Center Avenue between Riverside Avenue and Second Street, and there will be more street maintenance to do while working on the alley, according to Jeremy Bril, Decorah City Engineer. The 2023 proposed assessment will include construction of 4” asphalt alley paving 10 feet wide, a two-feet wide concrete flume, grading and rock base, concrete alley approaches and sidewalk as necessary. All adjacent property owners were notified of the proposed assessment for their part of the project, at just under $2,500 per property.
Jim Hoeg of 303 Center Avenue, spoke to the council, asking, “How do we pay this, is it over a period of time? The assessment I got — the actual cost — will it be adjusted after bids come in?”
City Manager Travis Goedken addressed these questions, explaining, “Historically, you can elect to pay the full value or it can be a voluntary assessment on property taxes.”
Goedken stressed that the length of assessment has yet to be determined, as the resolution has yet to be set. City Attorney John Anderson stated that currently the assessment length is five years for non-corner lot houses, and 10 years for corner-lot homes.
Complete story in the the April 6 Decorah Public Opinion Newspaper.