City Commissioners chambers were filled to near bursting Thursday as councilors heard community objections to the proposed street fee, a fee which is estimated to cost property owners upwards of $140 per year starting next year.
Controversy over how such a fee should be enacted is also being debated, with the commission split on whether to approve the fee at the commission level, or to put it on a future ballot for the community to vote on. Citing those concerns, long-time Portland citizen John Shetterly questioned the drive behind the commission.
"For the common, working tax person, if you don't have money, you can't go to your boss and say I need more money – I’m not going to make my bills this month. You have to scrimp, cut back, do what you have to do to make your bills and live" said Shetterly to the Commissioners.
The vote on how to proceed with the street fee is scheduled for commission vote next week. This is the second instance that a vote has been scheduled for a vote, with the vote being postponed for further community input Wednesday. With Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick battling for a council-level vote on the matter versus Commissioners Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman, only time will tell whether a vote will occur, and if a decision on the matter can be made.
If the city commissioners vote to implement the fee, homeowners can expect to see the fee appear in 2015.