Bend City Councilors change their tune

On Wednesday, Bend City Councilors unanimously approved the proposed amendments to the Street Maintenance Funding Resolution they passed earlier this month.

The amendments will allow the temporary committee, established to evaluate and recommend street funding options, to develop two proposals: one with a fuel tax option for approval by the voters and one without.

On Aug. 15, Bend City Councilors voted and approved a motion to put a fuel tax measure on the City of Bend ballot in March. Councilors also voted to create a temporary committee to evaluate and recommend street funding options. Councilors Doug Knight, Casey Roats and Victor Chudowsky opposed both motions. Councilors Roats and Chudowsky claimed there was no value in creating a committee if the outcome of having a fuel tax on the ballot was already predetermined.

The Bend Chamber had been in conversations with other stakeholders in the community to find a solution to the street preservation funding issue. At a work session on Aug. 3, the Bend Chamber supported Bend 2030’s recommendation that council hold off on placing a fuel tax on the November ballot and form a citizen’s advisory committee to evaluate and recommend options for funding streets instead.

But because of council’s decision to put a fuel tax on the March ballot, the Bend Chamber temporarily suspended development and collaboration in regards to the street preservation committee.

On Tuesday, the Bend Chamber Board of Directors is scheduled to discuss the issue to determine the best course of action.

“City council’s consideration to allow the committee to explore an option without a fuel tax is encouraging and a move in the right direction,” said Tim Casey, president and CEO of the Bend Chamber. “We would be hopeful that serious consideration be given to all possible solutions.”

As part of the amendments, city council has directed the committee to review the result of no additional funding; funding to maintain current Pavement Condition Index (PCI); and how much funding would be needed to improve the PCI to the agreed upon goal.

Councilors also voted to amend the methodology for the sewer system development charges. The motion, which passed 4-2 with Roats and Chudowsky opposed, changed the effective date of implementation to Sept. 1 for half of the increase, with the remainder occurring on March 1. In the interim, staff has been directed to come up with recommendations on the SDC deferral program.

Councilors Chudowsky and Roats voted against the motion because they were concerned the proposed phase in was not long enough. Roats made a motion for a two-year approach that failed.


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