Keokuk Mayor discusses new utility tax in tomorrow's state of th - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Keokuk Mayor discusses new utility tax in tomorrow's state of the city

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KEOKUK, Ia. (WGEM) -

The Keokuk mayor says his city needs more money to fix roads and provide other key city services.

And, that will be the focus of his state of the city address tomorrow.

Mayor Tom Marion says one of the issues he will discuss tomorrow is a new franchise tax to fund city services.

Marion said the tax would increase gas and electric utility bills by 3%.

But, there's already some opposition to the idea.

David Sparrow runs 4th Street Cafe in Keokuk with his family and said one of the struggles of running a small business is the cost of utilities.

"Cost of gas, electricity you know? If you look at it at the end of the month you are like woah," said Sparrow.

Sparrow said the costs of utilities is always something they have to think about.

"It goes through my mind all the time when I am heating up the oven to bake something what I can multi-task and bake," said Sparrow.

The utilities at 4th Street Cafe might go up even more if a franchise tax that is in talks at city hall goes in effect.

Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion said the city is not generating enough money in sales tax to keep up with the city's needs.

"Money is always the issue, but with the franchise tax there are no limits on where we can put that. We can put it in our general fund, we can put it in our infrastructure," said Marion.  

Marion said the extra money would help finance major road projects and other key city services.

"We're going to be doing a lot of streets next year. We will be continuing with our sewer project and as part of that where we put in new sewers, we'll put in new streets," said Marion.

Sparrow said he agrees with Marion that the streets are in need of repair, but that doesn't mean a franchise tax would hurt his family's bottom line.

"It's hard enough to run a business in a town that has a depressed economy, so it's like Oh gosh with that I would hate to have to raise prices, we'd probably just keep things the same, it would just be tougher," said Sparrow.

Marion said he will discuss the tax increase with the city council soon, but there is no timeline of when it would be implemented if passed by the council.

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