Fort Dodge Looking at Franchise Fee to Fund New Police Positions

by Brian Wilson
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Fort Dodge leaders may soon add a franchise fee to utility bills to help pay for hiring more police officers. Police Chief Dennis Quinn says Fort Dodge experienced seven homicides last year, and that’s unusual for his city of 25,000.

The city council approved the first reading of a plan to add a five-percent franchise fee to pay for eight new officers, an increase in the force of 20%. Many communities and counties across the state turn to franchise fees on electric and gas bills for extra funding. Quinn says it’s an effort to be proactive.

Fort Dodge City Manager David Fierke says the new fee would raise about two-point-four million dollars a year, with part of the money also going toward property tax relief and quality-of-life services like the library, art museum, and senior center. Fierke says new state tax laws now limit the money communities can levy.

Fierke says if the city council gives its full support, customers could see the franchise fee on their utility bills as soon as this summer.

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