November 16, 2015
City of Bend
Attn: Mayor Jim Clinton
710 NW Wall St.
Bend, OR 97701
RE: Street Preservation
Dear Mayor Jim Clinton and Bend City Council:
The Bend Chamber believes the road conditions in our town need improvement and that we need a strategy to not only improve our roads, but to ensure we do not find ourselves in a similar situation in the future.
In our letter to the Bend City Council on September 11, 2015, we outlined the need to prioritize street preservation and requested “the committee and council to take a bilateral approach to solving the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) problem by evaluating not only funding strategies, but also investigating opportunities to reduce the cost of improving the PCI.”
We applaud the efforts of the Street Funding Committee. The volunteers worked hard within the constraints they were given. However, five meetings is not enough time to develop a solution to this multi-million dollar problem.
The committee was given a starting point of, “you are here, how do you generate more revenue to fix the roads?” The problem with this approach is it does nothing to address how we got “here” in the first place. Simply adding revenue doesn’t solve the larger problem of budget prioritization, nor does it address efforts to save costs. In essence, the city is trying to buy its way out of inefficient management of the city budget street preservation line item.
We recommend city council reconvene the budget committee with the authorization to prioritize spending based on our community’s highest needs. We recommend specific emphasis be given to improving the street preservation line item. A budget which valued street preservation as a priority would never have led us to our current situation.
We strongly encourage city council not to attempt to raise taxes until the shortcomings of the past are solved. We understand time is of the essence. Substantial funding has been freed up through the Street Funding Committee process to begin moving us forward. We recommend council take advantage of the additional funding while it works to prioritize the budget and reduce costs.
Thank you for your consideration.
President & CEO