The Pendleton City Council has the first inkling of a plan to take street funding proposals to residents.
The council met Tuesday night for a work session to discuss multiple ideas to pay for city streets.
City Manager Robb Corbett’s gas tax proposal remains on the table, along with a new fee on hotel rooms, recreational vehicle spots and short term lodging in local home, such as Airbnb stays.
Other proposals include a $1 fee on tickets for events that draw 500 or more people and outright increasing the monthly utility fee to as much as $15 to generate around $1.3 million a year.
Councilor Paul Chalmers proposed a local income tax.
According to data from the Oregon Employment Department, the total payroll inside the city limits exceeds $343 million a year. A tax of 0.25 percent on 1 percent of the total would generate almost $860,000 a year. Someone making $60,000 a year, then, would pay $150.
Mayor John Turner said all proposals remain on the table and action is a priority.
“We need to get out talking to our citizens sooner rather than later,” Turner said.
Pendlton needs $1 million a year for 10 years to cover Corbett’s $21.4 million plan for street repairs. However the city gets to the magic number, the council agreed multiple options is best, and a tax measure would need to go on the ballot for May 2020.
Councilor Scott Fairley said he would draft talking points on the proposals, and he and Councilor Jake Cambier will reach out to community groups, such as the Rotary Club, to discuss the options and garner feedback.
Turner said he wants a final proposal by December, particularly for any tax measure. Passing a tax would require “a sharp public information campaign,” he said, and he expects an energetic commitment from the council on the matter.