The Pendleton City Council is taking its options for raising more revenue for street maintenance on the road.
Council members gathered Tuesday for a workshop, where Mayor John Turner distributed a sheet of revenue ideas to each councilor.
Turner emphasized that these were not ironclad proposals, but ideas meant to spur public discussion as council members present them to community groups.
Turner said the city had about $1.2 million in the upcoming fiscal year for street maintenance funding, but needed another million dollars to start fixing a deteriorating street system.
“The message we’re going to take out to the public is, ‘OK, you told us that infrastructure, maintenance, and repair is your No. 1 issue, you our citizens. You told us to fix it. We’re going to fix it but it isn’t going to be free and it’s not going to be cheap,’” he said.
The list of ideas includes the one unveiled by City Manager Robb Corbett in March: a 6-cent gas tax proposal followed by a successive 7-cent proposal. If both pass, Corbett saidthe city would be able to repeal the $5.21 street utility fee.
They could also go the other direction and rely increasingly on the street utility fee, which does not require a ballot measure to pass. The fee, which is assessed to customers’ utility bills, could be nearly doubled or tripled and garner the city another $450,000 to $900,000 for street repairs.
Although the concepts didn’t have number figures attached, the sheet also included other ideas that were a little less conventional:
• An “entertainment fee” that’s charged to hotel rooms, recreational vehicle spots, and bed-and-breakfast rooms
• A ticket fee for events of 500 people or more
• A street light fee
• A beverage fee
At the workshop, some councilors suggested ideas not on the list, like a payroll or income tax or a restaurant tax.
The council is looking for better results than their last appeal to the public in 2015, when a 5-cent gas tax proposal was voted down by nearly a 2 to 1 margin.