Erie City Council officials are one step closer to finalizing the 2023 budget.

Wednesday’s vote by the city council means property owners will be paying more next year. City council approved an increase in sewer and refuse fees. Only one councilman voted against it.

Erie City Council must have a new budget by the end of the month. Mayor Joe Schember is proposing increased sewer and refuse fees for next year. The council voted on two ordinances approving increases to those fees.

“The one hadn’t been increased for three years, the other for four years. We’re trying to get council into doing small increases every year. We think over the long term we’ll have to do less that way, cause when we’re trying to make up for delays, it costs more money that way. I was very pleased with that vote,” said Erie City Mayor Joe Schember.

Starting next year, property owners will pay roughly $10 more in refuse collection fees each year, and sewer rates will also go up.

One city councilman said although the fee increase passed, he will continue to stand up for those struggling to make ends meet.       

“It’s the idea that we are putting it on the folks who spent their life in Erie have basically paid off their houses and are still going to get hit with extra money. How much can those folks on a fixed income handle? That’s my concern,” said Ed Brzezinski, Erie City Councilman.       

City Council President Liz Allen said she believes the increase will benefit property owners in the long run.

“We’ve had recommendations that these rates should be periodically adjusted and we’ve skipped doing that for the last couple of years. I realize that we’re asking people to pay more, which is never easy. We are able to avoid a property tax increase,” said Liz Allen, president, Erie City Council.

City council has until Dec. 31 to submit the budget.