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Commercial street fees hiked

Increase follows identical 75 percent residential street fee hike in 2013

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The fee hike applies only to the city's top trip generators like Safeway, Albertsons and various gas stations. More than a year after increasing residential street maintenance fees by 75 percent, the City Council voted Monday to do the same for commercial street fees.

The West Linn Economic Development Committee recommended the identical 75 percent increase back in June. The new fee will raise an existing cap of $510 per month to $892.50 per month for the city’s highest “trip generators,” affecting a total of 17 businesses including Safeway, Albertsons, Wal-Mart and various gas stations.

“There has been a lot of outreach, and this is not a surprise to businesses,” Mayor John Kovash said.

Back in the summer, the city sent a notice about the proposed fee increase to all local businesses, regardless of whether they would be affected by the change. Community Development Director Chris Kerr also met individually with two of the business owners who would pay the new rate.

A 75 percent increase will raise $65,402.40 in additional annual revenue for the city, according to the EDC’s findings.

“The revenue impact of this is pretty minimal,” City Councilor Mike Jones said. “The issue is more about equity and making sure businesses that operate in West Linn are being treated equitably.”

In September 2013, residential street fees raised from $5.89 to $10.31 per month.

The fees are set to increase by 5 percent each fiscal year from 2015 to 2018, with the overarching goal being to increase the city’s pavement condition index (PCI) from a “fair” 61 to a “very functional” 70 or higher.

Before Monday’s vote, council-elects Brenda Perry and Russ Axelrod requested that the decision be delayed to allow for further examination and input, but the council proceeded with the vote as planned.

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