New City Council Considering Street User Fee to Fund Repairs

You might want to start packing your piggy bank with that loose change. You may need it to pay the street user fee that the City is looking to adopt.

With nearly a billion dollars of needed street repairs, the City has been working on a way to pay for all that work. Now, a new council is set to decide how to go about paying for everything.

The last City Council worked with City staff to come up with a street user fee, one that, in some shape or form, will raise about $15 million a year.

One plan could have residents and businesses paying at the same rate. Another option is to come up with a mix of different rates.

The City of Austin has had a transportation user fee since the 1990s. Corpus Christi city leaders finally decided to go with one, because there's no other way they have found to raise revenue.

"What we found is that we just don't have the capacity to raise, for example, our sales tax, because our sales tax has a ceiling," Assistant City Manager Oscar Martinez said. "8.25-percent is all a city can raise, and we're at that cap. We cannot raise our property tax without a potential rollback election, so we just don't have the authority to raise revenue, which is why we have to shift to a street use fee."

The City is hoping to begin funding its street maintenance program so that it can start to seal coat or overlay many of the streets before they need even more costly total reconstruction.

They are also looking at the possibility of getting state lawmakers to allow the City to find more money for the street repairs through the gas tax and license renewals.

Of course, this Council is going to have the final say on what plan we ultimately have to live with.


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