BendBend transportation fee could begin in July, reach up to $16 per...

Bend transportation fee could begin in July, reach up to $16 per month for some

Bend transportation fee could begin in July, reach up to  per month for some

Utility Bill

Bend’s proposed transportation fee could start being tacked onto utility bills by July, according to the latest proposal presented at Wednesday’s city council meeting. The fee, which may be phased-in over three years, could eventually cost Bend single-family households $16 per month.

The City says the fee would cover things like more plowing during the winter, street sweeping, pothole fixes and improved safety and connectivity for arterials and collectors. It would not be for road construction or general repair or replacement of sidewalks.

Wednesday night’s update calls for the council to hold listening sessions in February. A first reading on the bill could come on March 20 with a second reading, and potential passage, on April 3. The first bills could go out in July 1.

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The proposal calls for a phased-in rate structure, which the City says is preliminary and subject to change.

Total Revenue Generation $5 million (Year 1) $10 million (Year 2)

$15 million (Year 3)

Single unit accounts $5.50/month $11.00/month $16.00/month
Multi-unit accounts $4.00/month $8.00/month $12.00/month

A multi-unit account is one meter serving two or more units.

For those on Utility Billing Assistance, which affects about 2,000 households, the monthly fee could reach anywhere from zero to $8 per month by year three.

There was also discussion about creating special categories for hotels, motels, short-term rentals, schools and parks. The City’s presentation said that short-term rentals generate more of an impact than residential use.

Unlike the $190 million transportation bond voters passed in 2020, voters will not get a say on the fee.

“The reason we’re calling it a fee is because that’s what it is legally,” Mayor Melanie Kebler told Central Oregon Daily News in October. “You also have fees that are on your stormwater, your sewer utility bill that account for projects that we need to build. This is very similar. We’re thinking about transportation systems as a service the city provides.”

The City held a handful of roundtables last year, but public comment was not allowed. Some Bend neighborhood associations held their own public forums.
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