The Marceline City Council met Oct. 17 to approve a reduced commercial electric rate for Marceline businesses.

The council also approved the city’s budget for the next year.

The Marceline City Council unanimously approved a new commercial electric rate during their October meeting. The new commercial rate has been reduced by five-percent and will take effect Dec. 1, 2018.

According to Rich Hoon Marceline City Manager, he wants to look at more reductions.

“Every year, we’re going to see how the numbers sit,” Hoon said. “This is not a huge cut, but it’s something, we want to keep reducing our utility rates. Something’s got to change and that’s what we’re working on now.”

The new new electric rate will reflect a subtle cost reduction. The average monthly commercial usage is about 2,500 kilowatt hours. The electric rate reduction would be about $19.34 saved each month.

Currently, the Marceline general fund is propped up by the electric rate. The general fund is supported by sales tax, property taxes, railroad taxes, licenses and permits, city fines and fees and some donations. According to Hoon, the Marceline property tax, or ad valorem tax, has not been raised in many years. For years, the general fund has been balanced by moving money from the electric fund account to the city’s general fund.

Hoon wants the city to run more efficiently.

“We don’t want to rely on utilities to run the city’s general fund,” Hoon said. “We have a plan to increase the other taxes, so we can bring the cost of utilities down.”

The next step for Hoon and the city council will be addressing taxes, which haven’t been raised in years and possibly implementing a use tax to make revenue off of online purchases in Marceline. The property tax is currently set at $0.6019 per $100 of assessed valuation.

As previously reported, the city council approved a reduced residential rate earlier this year. With the help of electric consultant Bob Harbour, the city council was able to approve a reduced electric this summer. The residential electric rate was also reduced by five-percent.

In other business, the city council approved the city’s budget for next on a five-to-one vote. After two budget meetings with council members before the October meeting, the 2019 Marceline budget was approved Oct. 17.

The budget shows where the city is hoping to cut back, in order to save money. The 2019 budget reflects a $74,688 reduction in spending for the next year. The saving comes from purchasing less water chemicals, reduced police spending and reduction in miscellaneous income.

The lone “no” vote on the budget came from longtime city employee councilmember Liz Cupp. Cupp has previously been critical of the city’s budget voting no to approve the city’s monthly financial report. Cupp did not have a comment on the city’s new budget.