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City Council to Vote on Agreement to Split Blank Park Zoo’s Water Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa -- On Monday the Des Moines City Council will vote on a preliminary agreement to deal with the Blank Park Zoo's outstanding $1 million water bill.

Back in March, Des Moines Water Works announced that the zoo, which used to qualify for free water more than 15 years ago, was no longer eligible to receive the discount and hadn't been since 2003. That left an almost $1 million water bill unpaid. Water Works says they are not looking for back pay and now the city is stepping in the fill the gap.

The city council is looking at a plan in which the zoo will pay 20 percent of their water by 2023. However, it is the remaining 80 percent that is proving the be sticking point. City Councilman Joe Gatto wants Water Works to foot the bill or else it would fall to taxpayers. He says that because the city owns the zoo, they should get free or discounted water just like any other city building and that the cost is nothing compare to what the zoo offers.

“We're talking less than a nickel. For the rate payers to pick that up for a regional attraction like the Blank Park Zoo I think is more than fair,” said Gatto.

He says the next step is to get Des Moines Water Works and the Iowa Utility Board in agreement.

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