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BEND, OR --  Bend residents will vote on a 5 cent a gallon local gas tax in March.

 

The Bend City Council settled on the amount of the tax after more than an hour of discussion during Wednesday night's council meeting.

 

The vote was 5 to 2 with councilors Victor Chudowsky and Casey Roats voting no.

 

Councilor Sally Russell believe the time for talking is over .. its time to address the city's 80 million dollar backlog in street maintenance.

 

She also wanted to hold a special election in March, rather than wait until May.

 

"If we make a small investment in the election, we are able to implement the tax at the beginning of the tourism season.  And I think its important we need to share this burden with the people who use our infrastructure."

 

Mayor Jim Clinton agreed.  He knows time is money.

 

"It'd be true tha the tax would raise $200,000 a month with a fuel tax of five cents and waiting two months would cost $400,000 and delaying fixing the deteriorating roads would be another $200,000 a month, so in essence its $800,000 at play."

 

Councilors Casey Roats and Victor Chudowsky wanted to wait until May, but the five other councilors wanted to put the tax on the March ballot.  

 

The council voted to sunset the tax after ten years.

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