Government

Woodstock City Council approves 2017-18 budget, 3 percent water rate hike

Woodstock resident Jenn Feeley, who lives on the Square, said at a City Council meeting Tuesday that she thinks improvements to the Old Courthouse are important because the space adds value to the community.
Woodstock resident Jenn Feeley, who lives on the Square, said at a City Council meeting Tuesday that she thinks improvements to the Old Courthouse are important because the space adds value to the community.

WOODSTOCK – Residents can expect to see a rise in water and sewer rates beginning May 1 after Woodstock City Council members adopted a 2017-18 budget that includes a 3 percent increase.

Council members Tuesday voted to adopt the budget, with outgoing member R.B. Thompson the only member opposing the item. The revenue from the water and sewer increase will go toward the Water and Sewer Utility fund, which is needed to pay for capital projects to maintain water services, according to city documents.

The average Woodstock resident will see his or her bill go up from about $123 to $127, officials said.

Overall, the city’s budget is balanced with projected revenues of $32.6 million, an increase of 1 percent compared with last year.

Expenditures are projected to come in at $32 million, a decrease of 1.2 percent from last year, according to city documents.

The amount of money to be spent on the Old Courthouse was a heated topic of conversation among council and community members Tuesday. Thompson said he wanted to see more of a focus on developing the Square and spend less on fixing the courthouse.

“We should be, as a council, focusing on making our downtown even more attractive for potential businesses and for people,” he said. “Every year we put it off and put it off, but we continue to put a lot of money into an area that’s not increasing tax value.”

Woodstock resident Jenn Feeley, who lives on the Square, said that she thinks improvements to the Old Courthouse are important because the space adds value to the community – and would add even more value once recommendations from the Artspace study are underway.

“We can’t just have industry,” she said. “In order for people to move here, we have to have things for them to do and places for them to go, and the courthouse provides a perfect opportunity. I support the money for the [tax increment district] going toward that.”

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