The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 7, 2012

Council to vote on street light fee Monday



“The goal was to diversify our revenue source to be able to isolate costs,” Hentges said.

Here is the proposed fee schedule:

n Single-family residences will pay $2.50 per month, as will commercial and industrial properties under 75 feet.

n Two- or three-unit residences will pay $5 per month.

n Commercial and industrial properties with more than 75 feet of frontage, as well as tax-exempt properties, will pay 5 cents per linear foot of frontage.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, for example, would pay about $138 per month. Minnesota State University would pay about $1,160 per month.

“It’s taking a look at the service to the entire community and spreading that across the whole community,” Laven said.

Not all council members are on board, nor are many nonprofits. Councilman Mark Frost emailed Susan Kroon of Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society and suggested she gather as many nonprofits as possible to attend Monday’s meeting.

“By the way, the attitude toward nonprofits in the current council is they are a bunch of freeloaders getting a free ride from taxed properties in Mankato,” Frost wrote to Kroon, copying in The Free Press on the email. “Even though it’s never been said that bluntly, the words used suggest that attitude, while the services offered by these nonprofits (churches, Salvation Army, BENCHS, etc.) are never mentioned.”

Frost, who couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, said in his email when the fee passes Monday it will be the second such fee assessed to nonprofits. The first passed a few years ago was a storm water fee.

Laven said he has never, nor will ever, consider nonprofits “freeloaders,” and he believes the fee makes the cost of street lights more fair for every user. Considine agrees.

“This isn’t about going after nonprofits,” Laven said.

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