Posted: Feb 26, 2013 5:29 PM by Ben Lloyd - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Feb 26, 2013 11:22 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - The discussion on how to set rates on the proposed street user fee will be tabled, or put off, for further discussion in three weeks.
Too many questions were raised during public comment from business representatives unsure of how much they would pay, a possible appeals process and the way the city classifies their businesses. Council members weren't too clear on the details either.
Other business owners seemed to know very little of the proposal that's been discussed for the past year.
Earlier today, City Council approved the first reading of a separate ordinance to establish a street maintenance fee (user fee) to be included on utility bills. The ordinance would not go into effect until a second reading at a future council meeting. Only Priscilla Leal of District 3 voted against the ordinance.
The majority of the discussion this afternoon concerned the methods the city would use to assess the fee. Homeowners would see a $7 per month fee on their utility bills if the current rate structure is approved. The proposal calls for low income households to be exempt.
However, there are varying proposed rates for businesses based on classification by the city.
The fee would charge businesses per water meter based on square footage and the amount of traffic generated by their business. The data on the amount of traffic, or trip factor, comes from information provided by the State of Texas.
Included in the proposal is a cap on the fee for businesses. The exact figures are still being debated.
All of the monies collected under the fee would become part of a 'Street Fund' that can only be used to repair city streets.
Government buildings, hospitals, schools and the Regional Transportation Authority would be exempt from the fee as they are already maintained wholly, or in part, by taxpayer funding.
Many business leaders shared their discomfort with the council calling the proposed ordinance a fee rather than a tax.
The council will take up the matter again in three weeks.
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