Genoa officials are on their way to restructuring a utility deposit plan to help businesses opening in the village.
Village council had its second reading on the revision of the utility deposit ordinance, according to Village Administrator Kevin Gladden. The third reading is scheduled for Nov. 5.
For years, the village has asked business owners to pay a $450 fee prior to be allowed to connect to utilities offered by the village. Those services include water, sewer and electric.
All the businesses pay the same fee whether they are a small business, industrial or commercial. Councilman Ray St. Marie noted in a utilities meeting in September that he believed the practice was wrong and asked the utilities committee, now headed by new councilman Ken Harsenje, Jr., to lower the fee rates.
The committee discussed the matter and agreed to review the fee structure. Its proposal came before council this month.
The revised ordinance stipulates the following fee structure breakdown: $200 for residential; $250 for retail/business and $450 for commercial, Gladden said.
“The way I interpreted it (the ordinance) was not the way the previous administration had,” Gladden said. “The billing people were told something different -- that this was a straight $450 fee period. There used to be no difference between whether you were a downtown small business or a large one.”
“Now if a business comes in here, they’ll get a little bit of a break,” the administrator added. “The initial amount (of $450) – it’s a pretty steep deposit for a small business just opening.”
The utility fee rate revision was just one of the two proposals St. Marie brought before the utilities committee.
The other did not fare so well. That request centered on lowering the electrical rates the village charged commercial businesses.
Gladden said the village cannot lower business or residential rates because of its current bonding obligations. As it stands, the village is holding its own, Gladden told the committee. But a new rate study will be necessary soon to see how the future looks for electrical rates in Genoa, he added.
The last electrical rate increase happened in 2006.