Archived Story

Niles council tackles budget shortfall

Published 11:53am Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Niles City Council plans to offset a $350,000 shortfall in revenue by tapping into its three Utilities Divisions.

At a Committee of the Whole meeting Monday, Administrator Ric Huff proposed placing a 10 percent PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, on the Electric Utility, Wastewater Utility and Water Utility. The plan, he said, would raise from the utilities around $800,000, which would be enough to cover the shortfall, make a few needed capital improvements and hire two additional firemen and policemen.

What would this mean for the city’s utilities customers?

Jeff Dunlap, Utilities manager, said it is unclear. If this proposal moves forward, he said a rate study would have to be done this fall to determine if a change in utility rates is needed.

Huff said the plan would eventually affect utility rates.

Councilman Dan VandenHeede said he wouldn’t support the PILOT increase. He proposed using the city’s ample fund balance of around 23 percent to cover this year’s revenue shortfall and placing a public safety millage before voters.

No action was taken on the proposed PILOT increase.

The council appears to have abandoned an earlier plan to place a surcharge of one cent per kilowatt hour on electricity.

If you want the council to hear your opinion on the budget plan, a public hearing has been set for 5:55 p.m. Aug. 26.

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