I support the implementation of the utility franchise fee.
I oppose both the Utility Franchise Fee for electric/gas as proposed with ordinance/item # 1017 and 1018 for these reasons:
1)Complexity with a public hearing in pandemic times. Only as of 09/15/2020 did the city of Northfield begin GoToMeeting format. There are no publicly posted agenda minutes since that date either. Why didn’t the city start earlier and post info in our city utility bill?
2)Amidst a galloping pandemic, working people are struggling to keep up paying housing, groceries, utilities and other basics.
3)Tax exempt properties will inherit a fee. This includes schools, colleges, churches. My home church is totally unaware of any change in their utility bill. This is problematic to setting next years budget.
A Utility Franchise Fee is a tax in sheep’s clothing. Taxes are uniform, levied for public purpose and have state constitution limitations. A fee is voluntary. There is no sunset clause or end date for review and concern is this fee will increase eventually.
I oppose the electric and gas franchise fees at this time...I am still paying for the assessment I received for "improvements" in 2014 and would be paying twice. This fee is "sold" to the taxpayers as more "fair" since non-taxable entities (i.e. the Colleges) would be included..HOWEVER, both colleges have decreased their dependence on Excel energy and eventually will produce their own power - thus no fee...and finally, buried in this request is the idea of the Climate Action Initiative which has nothing to do with streets (except more plants and trees) or infrastructure. This new fee is simply a way for this Council to circumvent public opinion at the expense of the taxpayers...(i.e. the trail connection defeated, relabeled - then revoted on to get it through). We have had enough. We are taxed to the max and this is yet another way to get more $ from us. It isn't called a tax but since most residences rely on Xcel we have no recourse...