Increased street fees keep projects funded in 2015 and beyond

by: SUBMITTED  - The city's 2013 road project is nearly complete, and planning for 2014 work will begin this fall.When West Linn residents received their utility bills for the month of September, they may have noticed a long-discussed hike in one particular area of expense.

The city’s street maintenance fees officially increased by 75 percent, from $5.89 to $10.31 per month, starting on Sept. 1 as a result of a new master fee schedule approved by city council back on Aug. 19. Under the new fee schedule, the 75 percent increase for fiscal year 2014 is by far the highest before leveling out at a 5 percent hike from 2015 to 2018.

The city hopes that increased funding will help raise the West Linn’s pavement condition index (PCI) from a “fair” 61 to a “very functional” 70 or higher.

When it comes to the fundamental details of the city’s road program, however, West Linn Public Works Director Lance Calvert said the benefits of the fee increases won’t really be seen until 2015.

“A combination of things are happening,” Calvert said. “We’re drawing down the existing fund balance now, and then the increasing fees will increase what’s available so in 2015 we’ll be able to complete those projects (that require) a larger amount of capital.”

Thus, regardless of the fee increase — council originally debated between a 50, 75 or 100 percent increase for 2014 — next year’s road program remains mostly unchanged. Among the projects slated for completion next year are Century Lane between Lowry Drive and a cul de sac (PCI 6), 19th Street between Johnson and Blankenship roads (PCI 13) and Blankenship Road between 13th Street and Johnson Road (PCI 18).

As those projects are funded and completed, the fee increase will help keep city’s annual capital outlay for streets closer to $1 million rather than below $500,000 (where it was in 2011 and 2012).

Meanwhile, Calvert said the 2013 road program, which included 27 street maintenance projects, is nearing completion.

“The paving is done,” Calvert said. “The pavement marking was done last week, and there’s a little bit left this week. And then a few ‘punch list’ items after that.

“We’ll start design on next year’s road program in the fall and winter.”

To learn more about the street maintenance program, visit

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