SAUK RAPIDS - Sauk Rapids residents will start paying a new street light utility fee in January. The city council has unanimously passed a new Street Light Utility Ordinance.

The new fee is expected to more fairly pay for the city's street lights, rather than just through property taxes. About 19 percent of the property in Sauk Rapids is tax exempt.

The new fee means the city's levy next year will be reduced by just over $153,000.

Homeowners will pay about $2.40 a month. Apartments would pay an additional $1.20 a month per unit. The Sauk Rapids school district has raised concerns about the fee, which is expected to cost them anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 a year. The fee will be collected on the regular city utility bills.

The city council has until the end of the year to tweak the new utility light fee before it goes into effect.

St. Cloud has a similar street light utility fee.