Public lighting fee moves forward - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Conte

Public lighting fee moves forward


ROCHESTER (KTTC-DT)-- It's a controversial new plan that could be costing Rochester residents more money on their electricity bills. Rochester Public Utilities approved a plan Tuesday afternoon that would charge customers for public street lighting costs. But the proposal still has to be approved by the city council.

"Really what it comes down to is there really might not be one exact way to do the fee," says Tony Benson of Rochester Public Utilities.

After a request from the city council, RPU had a consultant come in to figure out what would be the best way to charge customers for the lights. The study concluded residential customers should pay one rate, while businesses pay another.

"For residential customers it would be a flat rate," Benson adds.

The city council proposed the community lighting fee, because they say it will save Rochester $1.3 million that could be used on public safety costs.

"I feel this plan is very unfair the way it's been structured," Mike McDonald said at an RPU meeting on Tuesday, McDonald opposes the hike.

"If you own under a $150,000, you're going to pay quite a bit more," McDonald notes.

 While RPU has approved the plan, it will ultimately be up to the city council to decide when and if customers will see the new fee on their electricity bills. The city council is set to vote on the proposed street light fee August, 2.

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