HERMISTON — The Hermiston City Council on Monday discussed legislative priorities for the upcoming year. The League of Oregon Cities creates a list of priorities ahead of the sessions and asks cities around the state to weigh in.
A long list of topics being considered included more flexibility for annexation, more mental health funding, steps to solve the Public Employee Retirement System’s unfunded liabilities, local control over speed limits, more money for infrastructure, property tax reform and protection of franchise fees.
City Manager Byron Smith said franchise fees, which telecommunications companies pay to place their infrastructure on city-controlled rights of way, are the city’s second largest source of revenue after property taxes. Telecommunications companies have started to suggest that the shouldn’t have to pay those fees and should have more control over the rights of way and the League is interested in a preventative bill strengthening the cities’ position.