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Hales going to mayors' conference in DC next week

Mayor Charlie Hales will be able to spend a little more time in Washington DC next week, not that he's hit the pause button on the proposed street fee.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Hales had been schedule to preside over a special street fee hearing on Tuesday afternoon and then fly Washington DC for a three-day gathering of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which is timed to correspond with President Obama's State of the Union Address on Tuesday.

Now Hales will not have take the red eye flight to the conference, which officially starts at noon on Wednesday.

Mayors at the conference will response to Obama's address, and then hold an opening press conference on Wednesday in the Capital Hilton, where they will release the results of a national poll surveying public perceptions of local government.

More than 80 mayors are expected to attend the conference. Other subjects topping the agenda include community policing, the economy, innovation and transportation. Numerous cabinet members are scheduled to speak at the conference.

Hales' office said Government Relations Director Martha Pellegrino is among others going to the conference. The final cost will be determined after all the bookings are made.

The Tuesday street fee hearing would have been special under city rules because it is not happening on Wednesday or Thursday, when the council normally meets. Hales and the rest of the council are scheduled to discuss putting one or more non-binding residential fee proposals on the May 19 Special Election ballot to gauge support for them before drafting the final version.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.