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Some fees in Alexandia won't go up after all

Not as many fees will go up in Alexandria as originally proposed. At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council eliminated, reduced or held off many of the fees it gave preliminary approval to last month. The new fee schedule: --Does n...

Not as many fees will go up in Alexandria as originally proposed.

At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council eliminated, reduced or held off many of the fees it gave preliminary approval to last month.

The new fee schedule:

--Does not include a proposed $10 charge for notary service. It will remain free.

--Leaves the rental fee for city hall rooms at the current rates - $10 for the conference rooms and $25 for the council chambers. The city was considering charging rates of $25, $50 and $100.

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--Leaves the city park shelter reservation fee at $15. The proposal has been $50 to cover electricity and garbage pickup.

--Referred a new proposed $10 fee for "recreational fires" to the city's legislative committee for further review. These are small fires that residents start on their own property just for enjoyment, not for burning leaves or other debris. Right now, there is no charge for recreational fires.

Council member Cindy Bigger asked what would ultimately happen with the recreational fire fee. City Administrator Jim Taddei said the city will review it with the fire chief and the fee will likely be dropped but a permitting process may still be enacted.

The following fee changes were approved:

--False police alarm fees. Right now, the city doesn't charge residents or businesses when police respond to an alarm on their premises that turns out to be a false alarm.

Now, the first five false alarms to a particular address in one year will be free. After that, the owners of the alarm system will pay the following: six to 10 false calls - $100 per call; 11 to 15 false calls - $200 per call; 16 or more false calls - $300 per call. (The fee for false fire alarms remains the same - a $300 charge for a third false fire alarm and each subsequent false alarm in one calendar year.)

--Refuse collection license fee. Right now, garbage companies pay the city $35 annually to cover the wear and tear their trucks place on city streets.

The new fee is $100 annually, starting in 2012 because renewal notices have already gone out for 2011.

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The city currently issues seven collection licenses so the higher fee is expected to bring in an additional $455.

--Maps. The city currently charges $10 for large-format color maps. The fee was increased to $15.

--Culvert survey fee. Public works wanted to start a new policy where every new driveway culvert is surveyed after placement to ensure proper placement. The goal is to avoid drainage problems and costly corrections in the future.

The city currently charges a $35 fee that's collected with the right-of-way permit. It's supposed to cover the time and costs of ordering the culvert, delivering it to the site and inspecting the restoration of the right-of-way after installation.

In addition, the city pays for the cost of each culvert, $575, out of its stormwater utility fund.

Under the new fee, the culvert installation and survey fee will be split 50-50 between the city and the property owner.

The council acted on a variety of other issues at Monday's meeting, including a proposed amendment to the Johnson Family Master Plan (a 504-acre parcel of land south of 18th Avenue near the proposed new high school); a rental inspection contract for 2011; starting the paperwork for possible eminent domain proceedings for a water extension project on Darling Drive; a request to pave Cardinal Lane; a plea from residents in the Lakeside Addition to place a stoplight somewhere along busy North Nokomis so they can get in and out of their neighborhood; and a fond farewell to Ward 1 city council member Cindy Bigger, who was recognized for her four years of service.

Watch for more details on these stories in upcoming issues of the Echo Press.

Related Topics: ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL
Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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