Duluth City Council OKs using trust money for street debtSome Duluth City Council members contend the city shouldn’t use any more money from the Community Investment Trust to pay for street repairs and should instead develop an alternate plan to pay for street improvements.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
Some Duluth City Council members contend the city shouldn’t use any more money from the Community Investment Trust to pay for street repairs and should instead develop an alternate plan to pay for street improvements.
The Duluth City Council nearly shot down the idea of using the city’s Community Investment Trust to pay off street improvement costs for another year in 2013.
On Aug. 27, Councilors Jim Stauber, Garry Krause and Jennifer Julsrud all voted against a plan to use $2.9 million from the trust to pay off street debt that is coming due in 2013. To take money out of the trust fund, the transfer must be approved by at least seven of Duluth’s nine city councilors.
To meet its obligations without dipping into the trust fund, the city would have needed to deeply slash spending and to reduce the services it provides, said David Montgomery, Duluth’s chief administrative officer.
Alternatively, he said Duluth could have covered the cost by boosting its existing property tax levy by 16 percent. That tax increase probably would have come on top of 1.6 percent city administration already has proposed. The City Council upped the ante Monday even further when it approved plans to consider up to an additional 1.22 percent increase to bolster business development efforts.
All told, residents could have faced up to an 18.8 percent increase in the city levy come 2013.
But on Monday, Julsrud reversed her position, providing city administration with the seventh vote it needed to tap the trust fund.
“I do have faith in this council and city administration to come forward with a plan for our streets,” said Julsrud, noting that the issue is finally being treated with a sense of urgency.
“I feel we have a fire lit under us to find a plan that works for Duluth by 2014,” she said.