DUBUQUE, Iowa - The city of Dubuque is losing a bit at the casino these days. Revenue from the city-owned Mystique casino has dropped nearly 20 percent since 2008. That means less profit passed to the city.
On Wednesday, The Dubuque City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.
News of a fare increase came as a surprise for someone people riding the Jule, Dubuque's bus system. For many fixed route riders, they'll soon have to pay an extra .50 cents each time they hop on the bus.
Bus Rider Jan Ludovissy laughed while saying, "I didn't know that, but I do now, "
Ludovissy says he might as well laugh, because there's nothing he can do about it. Like thousands of others, he depends on the city bus to get him to and from work.
Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligan said, "We have not had a fixed route far increase since 1986 "
Van Milligan says the bus fare increase is one way of evening out the budget for fiscal year 2015. The city is already 2.9 Million dollars over budget this year.
Van Milligan says that's because the casinos haven't been making as much money this year compared to years past.
"It's been a very difficult winter," said Van Milligan, "The gaming taxes and fees are down. But also there's increased competition. "
That means in order to continue some city services, home-owners will have to make up the difference. That includes about a 3 percent increase in property taxes.
The budget also includes city service rate increases.
"In this case there needed to be increases in the storm water fee. The refuse collection fee," said Van Milligan.
Changes the city says will all add up in a big way.
There will also be an fee increase for drivers who park too close to a fire hydrant. Right now, that is a $15 fine. But the new budget raises that to $50 dollars to bring it in line with other parking fines.