Madison re-establishes special-maintenance fee

By CHUCK CLEMENT

Property owners in Madison will continue to pay a special-maintenance fee to the city to provide funding for repairs and maintenance to city streets.

The city commissioners approved establishing for another year a $1 per linear foot fee for properties that stand along streets, avenues and any other improvements in Madison maintained by the city.

Within the resolution, city officials have limited the assessed fees to a 125-foot maximum for a property or number of properties located next to each other that have the same majority owner.

Jennifer Eimers, city finance officer, said the resolution was similar to the establishment of a special-maintenance fee in Madison during previous years. If the commissioners approved the resolution, her office would send a fee-collection request to the Lake County auditor for the collection of the money during 2021.

The Madison City Commission initially enacted a special-maintenance fee during the summer of 2013. By state law, the local governments that enact special-maintenance fee must reapprove the fees annually.

Eimers told the commissioners that the city should collect about $245,000 through the special-maintenance fee during the 2021 collections.

Commissioner Mike Waldner said city officials and the municipal Street Department had done "great things" with the money collected from the fees.

Commissioners Waldner, Jeremiah Corbin and Bob Thill and Mayor Marshal Dennert approved re-establishing the fee. Commissioner Kelly Johnson was absent from the meeting.

Within the city's 2019-23 infrastructure improvement plan, Madison officials had scheduled $300,000 each in 2020 and 2021 for annual surfacing projects. They had also scheduled $731,000 to pay for chip-seal projects from 2019-23. Those projects were just several of the more than a dozen infrastructure projects listed on the multi-year schedule.

City utility payments

Brad Lawrence, city utility director, told the commissioners that the resolution that halted late-payment fees and utility disconnects for unpaid utility bills was due to expire this month.

The city commission had approved the waiver of late-payment fees and utility disconnects due to the expected economic problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The commissioners enacted the waiver with a 60-day limit and then the policy would sunset.

The late fees and disconnect policies are reinstated for utility bills due in July.

The Madison Utility Department announced on its Facebook page that the first cycle of bills subject to the reinstatement is due for payment on July 5 and subject to disconnect on July 28.

The announcement also stated that any utility customers who need additional time to pay off their overdue balances are asked to call the utility billing office at 256-7504.