By Megan Hopps
SUN PRESS Newspapers
Since 2011, property taxes have no longer been covering the operating costs associated with the street light system. In 2013 operating costs exceeded the property tax portion generated for street lights by approximately $60,000. Since the majority of the households in Champlin were constructed during a period between the mid ‘80’s through the late ‘90’s, the replacement of the street light infrastructure system is also projected to be replaced over the course of the next 10 to 15 years.
Minnesota Statutes Chapter 429 authorizes cities to install, replace, and maintain street lights and street lighting systems. The city council has determined that in order to promote the general health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Champlin, it is in the best interest of the residents and business owners to implement a city-wide street lighting utility fee. The council has further determined that the operation, maintenance and replacement of such utility benefits each and every property within the city and that the costs of such operation and maintenance should be paid on a fair and reasonable basis by all of the properties within the city, except those properties exempted by ordinance.
As part of the establishment of the 2013 Work Plan Priorities, the city council highlighted the need to establish a long-term Street Light Infrastructure Replacement Funding Program. To address the funding shortfall for the replacement of the street light system, the city council has provided preliminary consensus approval to a long-term funding program. The plan includes the implementation of a street light utility fee proposed at $3 per month for residential households.
The street light utility fee would be included on the residents’ utility bill and collected on a monthly basis. This fee will apply as of July 1 this year.
Drawing on examples from neighboring communities such as Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park, Plymouth, and Brooklyn Center along with a vast array of other metro communities, the city council has drafted the following plan outlining the proposed street utility fee for each of the various property classifications located throughout the city.
The city council has drafted the Street Light Utility fee to meet the current and future needs of the street lighting system and they welcome residents input on the proposed fee prior to its adoption by ordinance. The city extends an invitation to all residents. All are welcome and encouraged to speak at the public hearing Monday, April 14, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers.
For more information contact City Administrator Bret Heitkamp at [email protected] or 763-923-7110.