MASON CITY | The City Council on Tuesday set Feb. 20 as the date for a public hearing on a capital improvements plan that includes increases in the water and sanitation rates but a decrease in the debt service levy.

Finance Director Kevin Jacobson, who is also interim city administrator, said the plan also calls for $6.8 million in projects that will be funded with grants, donations of TIF revenues. The largest of these is the 27th Street paving project that will be funded by state grants, he said.

"If the revenues are not secured, the projects will not take place," said Jacobson.

The plan calls for general obligation bonding of just over $32 million for various projects involving the police and fire departments, development services, transit, museum, airport, cemetery and street and water.

Jacobson said the bonding also includes River City Renaissance project costs of $25.4 million which will be funded with state grants, TIF revenues, local option sales tax revenues, developer repayment fees, pending project approval by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Jacobson said the Water Fund has projects totaling almost $1.3 million, including the Highway 122 paving project and continued replacement of remote radio meters. He said the fund will have a 1 percent rate increase to help cover those costs.

The Sewer Fund has projects totaling $1.6 million including the continuation of the collection system maintenance. This fund will have no increase, said Jacobson.

But the Sanitation Fund will have a rate increase of 40 cents a month to help pay for a vehicle replacement and to build reserves for future replacements.

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