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O’Fallon City Council rejects streetlight fee ordinance

At its Dec. 14 meeting, the O’Fallon City Council overwhelmingly rejected an ordinance that would have imposed a new streetlight fee that would’ve been used to boost the city’s road funding.

Nine members of the city council voted “no” on the ordinance. The new streetlight fee would have generated about $1 million annually with the new revenue going to the city’s street fund. Councilmember Jeff Schwentker [Ward 4] voted in favor of the ordinance.

The streetlight fee was suggested earlier this year as a way to close the funding gap in the city’s Street Road Improvement Fund. It has been estimated that an additional $20 million is needed to meet the city’s goals and that O’Fallon needs to bring in an additional $5 million annually over the next five years.

If passed, the streetlight fee would have appeared on homeowners’ bi-monthly utility bills and the specific cost per homeowner would have been allocated among the homeowner in each subdivision. A review from the city showed the new fee would have cost most homeowners about $3.50 per month, with some households paying more or less. Residents would have first seen the fee on their October 2018 utility bills.

Prior to the city council’s vote, Councilmember Jeff Kuehn [Ward 4] said he couldn’t support imposing a new fee on residents.

Other suggestions to increase O’Fallon street improvement funding have included raising the city’s sales tax, increasing property tax revenues and imposing a use tax on internet purchases.

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