The Jamestown Finance and Legal Committee recommended increases to utility rates and some municipal fees during its regular meeting Tuesday. The resolution containing the increases must be approved at the Dec. 2 City Council meeting and would be part of the January billing for residents.
The increases were planned during the budget process earlier this year but required approval before taking effect.
Municipal utilities will increase 5% or about $2.33 per month for residents using the minimum water amount of 400 cubic feet per month. The increased utility rates are in addition to the new $4 per month stormwater utility fee that the city began charging residents in September.
Committee members did not discuss the increases in utility fees but did discuss the $25 late fee included in the utility fee structure.
Steve Brubakken, city councilman, said people had communicated to him that the late fee sometimes exceeds the original bill for utilities.
Sarah Hellekson, city administrator, said the high late fee had increased the number of people who paid their utility bills on time.
Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich said city administration has the authority to waive or reduce the late fee for people with valid reasons their payment was late.
"There have to be some cases where discretion can be used," he said. "Hopefully, we show some compassion."
The Finance and Legal Committee also recommended approval of an increase from $4,000 to $5,000 for the license fee for the medical marijuana business in Jamestown. Hellekson said the fee increase was necessary to cover the actual administrative costs and the costs of background checks the city incurred licensing the current medical marijuana operation.
The city also raised the fee charged for engineering and law enforcement efforts when a house or other building is moved in Jamestown from $50 to $100. The animal impound fee, charged when an animal is kept in the city pound, was increased from $25 to $30 per day.
The Jamestown Civic Center and Promotion Committee approved a waiver of Civic Center fees for a food drive planned for Dec. 20. The food drive will be led by the Jamestown High School Student Council and will include volunteers from the high school and middle school.
Leo Ryan, city attorney, also reported the negotiations between the city of Jamestown and the Frontier Village Association were proceeding.
"Both parties are working together," he said. "The discussions are going will ... we can get this issue resolved."