New Hope Proposes to Double the Franchise Fee
By Andrew Richter
New Hope New Hope New Hope! Their demand for money just never ends. Their annual 7% tax increase isn’t enough. Now they want an increase in the city franchise fee. And they don’t just want to increase it! They want to double it!
The New Hope City Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, August 22, to consider increasing utility franchise fees to provide additional funds for the city’s pavement management program. State statute allows Minnesota cities to charge gas and electric companies a franchise fee to reimburse the cities for the damage and disruption the utilities cause in the public right‐of‐way. New Hope first implemented a utility franchise fee in 2003. The residential franchise fee rate, at that time, was $1.50 per month, per utility customer, for each utility. Commercial and industrial customers pay varying rates. New Hope has not increased its utility franchise fee rates since 2003, and New Hope’s rates are currently substantially below the average rate charged by other area cities.
Oh well we can’t have that. New Hope needs to copy everyone else.
The City Council is considering a proposal to double the residential electric and gas franchise fee from $1.50 to $3 per month. Commercial and industrial rates would increase to the average rate charged by other cities. The proposed rates would bring New Hope’s franchise fees more in line with those charged by comparable cities.
Monkey see monkey do.
If the increase in utility franchise fees is approved, it would generate about an additional $400,000 each year. New Hope began implementing a more aggressive approach toward pavement management in 2014.
How about you cut spending $400,000?
New Hope property owners do not pay special assessments for street improvements. The city funds those improvements through an annual street infrastructure levy. With New Hope’s recent efforts to improve city streets more quickly, however, it has been difficult for the levy funds to keep up with the project needs. The additional $400,000 in utility franchise fees will be used to provide additional funding for street improvements. Interested residents are invited to attend and comment at the public hearing on August 22. The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at New Hope City Hall, 4401 Xylon Ave. N.
This is nothing but a tax by another name. My guess is that a decision to do this has already been made and the public hearing is just for show.
Come on New Hope citizens! Show up to this meeting and give them hell!