BEND, OR -- Residential utility bills in Bend could see an additional $15 a month next year, if the city approves a proposed transportation fee. They hosted a roundtable Wednesday to hear from community partners.
Bend Streets and Operations Director David Abbas reports less money is coming from the two main revenue streams that pay for transportation infrastructure, “State fuel tax is flat or declining. And then the general fund has constraints and, and limitations locked in from the low property tax rate and the increasing needs and priorities of the community for that general funding.”
The city is looking for $15-million a year, $8-million from residential customers, $7-million from non-residential. It would likely mean $12 to $15 a month tacked on to a residential utility bill starting next year.
Gina Franzosa, an engineer representing the transportation bond oversite committee and a neighborhood association, thinks the proposed residential fee is too high, “$10 a month…Just gut feeling, feels better. But either way I'd like more detail than we are going to implement these programs.”
The proposed non-residential transportation fee of $215 dollars a month got some push back from Katie Anderson, board chair-elect of the Bend Chamber of Commerce, “What I would ask is that we continue to balance how this impacts our business community, especially given the latest round of fee increases. There's a lot of impact that our businesses are feeling whether it's from the business license fees, the increase of SDCs.”
Envision Bend’s James Dorofi says surveys show increased safety is a priority, “People want people to go slower. They want people to signal at roundabouts, Reduce traffic congestion.”
Another roundtable meeting to discuss the fee’s equity, transparency, and accountability is set for next month.