BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilor Victor Chudowsky says he has a way to fund Bend's needed street improvements without a local gas tax. He plans to present his idea to the Street Maintenance Funding Committee on Monday. He tells KBND, "It would be good if we spent at least $4.1 million a year on actual street preservation, which is the actual doling out contracts to repave of streets."
Chudowsky says a disproportionate amount of the streets budget is now going to support and personnel. "The first thing is, for the Transportation Operations Department, which has a budget of $21 million every two years; the idea is to really focus that department's budget on actual street paving. I feel the amount of money overall for that department has gone up over the years, but the amount actually spent on paving streets has not."
His plan calls for utilizing revenue from the newly created transient room tax to fund repairs. "One of the ones that has grown the most quickly is the receipts we get from the tourism tax - the room tax that we charge the tourists visiting Bend - That has been going up by leaps and bounds. I feel we are underestimated how much that tax is going to bring in to the city over the next five years. So, the plan is basically to set aside a portion of that tourism tax and divert it to paving streets."
He has asked for 15 minutes to present his ideas to the committee tasked with creating viable options for funding the $80 million in delayed street maintenance and improvements.