City Council in 2015

A looming debt forced council members to take a closer look at ways to cut back on spending and rebuild reserves to maintain their AAA bond rating.

Back in September, members voted unanimously to establish a half percent home rule sales tax.

The sales tax will expire after two years and council also abated $2 million this year in property taxes.

“None of us like to implement taxes, so the fact that a good part of it is going to come back to the residents helped some of us move along,” said City Councilman, Kevin Coyne.

Another way the city plans to save on spending is by matching the cost of garbage pickup, through an increase in garbage fees for residents.

The monthly garbage fee will increase to $12.35 a month, which will be added to resident’s utility bill. This is expected to generate about $5 million of the $6.8 million operating budget shortfall.

And in November, council made an effort to chip away at the Electric Department’s $44.3 million of debt, $13.2 million of which was a loan from the Water Department that now must be repaid.

Residents and commercial customers will see an 8.3% increase in their electric bill. This allows for the Water Department to move forward without increasing their debt.

“The first thing we need to do, is we need to make water whole, they’ve got a lot of capital improvement projects that need to be done where if we don’t do them we’ll be asking residents and businesses along Ogden to take on some risks,” said City Councilman, John Krummen.

This increase equals about $8.30 more on monthly bills for the average resident currently paying $103.75 a month and will repay the water loan by 2018.

On top of a financially challenging year, it was also unprecedented with a brand new City Council and new Mayor.

Naperville News 17’s Rachel Pierson reports.

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