City council looks into street light tax
With the nation in an economic crisis, the city of Eau Claire is having some problems of its own.ÿ
Because of budget issues, Eau Claire City Councilman Larry Balow proposed a new tax at the Oct. 20 meeting that would make all property owners pay a separate street light tax. The proposal would also include a snowplow fee.
This would then help the city generate more revenue as the economy worsens. The new tax would also affect both for-profit and non-profit organizations.ÿ In the past, non-profit organizations have been exempt from such taxes.ÿ
City Councilman Dave Duax said that this new tax is something that the council has never implemented before.ÿ
“We would need to have a system set up to assess these fees and to determine what to do with government-owned facilities,” Duax said. “This includes UW-Eau Claire.”ÿ
With the new tax increase, it could potentially bring in over $600,000, money the city desperately needs, Duax said.ÿÿ
“This tax would enable the city to balance its budget without further property tax increases,” Duax said.ÿ
Though this proposal would help alleviate the budget problems Eau Claire is facing, Duax doesn’t think the city council will approve it.ÿ ÿÿÿ
“I do not support this issue,” he said. “I don’t think this is the time to be adding new fees and taxes without first trying to cut city expenses or programs, or delaying large new expenditures.”ÿ
Senior student renter Ashley Houle said she thinks it is unfair to have property owners pay for street lights.ÿ
“I think street light costs should be a part of what the city pays for and not for property owners or even people who rent,” she said.
With this new proposal, Duax doesn’t think that it will affect student renters directly.ÿ
“It will affect them in the same way property taxes affect them,” he said.ÿ
University Area Housing realtor Robin Banker doesn’t think that student renters should be nervous about the new tax, even if it happens.ÿ
“Unless it is a significant tax increase, we wouldn’t raise any rent rates,” she said.ÿ
In the end, whether or not the proposal goes through is up to the council.
“I do not believe that the city council will approve this, although in theory it would provide needed revenue,” Duax said.ÿ “If it is brought back next year, we would have to figure out how to administer it. However, I do not expect to see it back.”