Dubuque faces multi-million dollar deficit - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque faces multi-million dollar deficit

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Dubuque's city leaders are working to find a way out from a multi-million dollar deficit. 

It's the second year in a row they've faced a budget shortfall this big.  It's mostly due to a decline in gaming revenue and the fallout from state property tax reforms.

The city has lost nearly $24 million over the past eight years due to the declining gaming revenue, City Manager Mike Van Milligan said.

And it looks like it's a trend that will continue.

"I keep hoping we've hit that bottom, but the last couple of years have shown that we have not hit that bottom yet," Kevin Lynch, a member of the city council, said.

To combat that shortfall, Van Milligan recommended a series of cuts and fee increases to the city council this week.

Perhaps the most notable is a nearly 173 percent increase in fees to landlords. 

"This fee is going to increase a lot of hardships on landlords. Absolutely, without a doubt, unquestionably," said Janet Schmidt, secretary of Dubuque Landlord's Association, said.  "It won't affect someone who isn't going to have their building for another four years. But within five years, you will see rents go up dramatically."

But Van Milligan doesn't see it that way.

"The good news for landlords is the property tax reform that the state passed is going to significantly reduce the property tax payments. Matter of fact, at a much greater level than we're increasing the fees for licensing and inspections," he said.

Other fee increases include parking and recreation fee increases.  Van Milligan has also recommended cutting 12 city jobs.

At this point, all of these are just recommendations.  The city will hold a number of meetings and a public hearing in April before anything is finalized. 

For a full look at everything budget related, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/fy2016budget.

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