During five town hall meetings in September and October, Gresham residents gave their mayor and an earful of feedback on his proposal to charge every household and business in the city $7.50 a month to avoid more cuts to police, fire and parks services.

Now, Gresham city councilors will hear proposals from city staff on how the community’s concerns could be addressed, as well as what a levy in lieu of the fee would look like.

Staff will present these potential revenue-generating options to the council at its 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, meeting in the council chambers,1331 N.W. Eastman Parkway.

The fee is in response to the city’s long struggle to fund services with one of the lowest property tax rates in the state.

Gresham residents narrowly defeated a public safety levy in 2008, which marked the first year of the global economic downturn.

Now, forecasts for property-tax revenue show a decline — the first since the recession began four years ago.

Mayor Shane Bemis’s proposed fee would charge every business and household in the city — including apartments — $7.50 a month, raising $3.5 million to prevent further cuts to public safety. Ninety-five percent would fund police and fire services, with 5 percent funding park maintenance.

The fee be added to utility bills for businesses and all households — apartments, duplexes, rental houses and owner-occupied dwellings — in Gresham because all businesses and households, not just property-tax paying homeowners, benefit from police and fire service.

Residents who attended the town hall meetings pointed out that the proposed fee is regressive — it’s the same for a multimillion-dollar corporation as a single parent living in poverty. Citizens complained that the city council would decide whether to charge the fee instead of residents voting on it. They also said a cap on the fee is needed.

Based on feedback received from the city council, staff is expected to present a proposal to the council for a vote on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

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