In July 2003, the Corvallis City Council asked staff to begin a public process to address the issue of insufficient revenues for street maintenance services. Financial projections showed available cash reserves being used up in two years. To address this situation, the mayor appointed a task force of citizens representing 17 different stakeholder groups. She charged them with determining if there was a demonstrated need for new revenues to support street maintenance services and if so, to recommend a source for that new revenue.
In May 2004, after eleven months of work the task force made two recommendations. The first was that services be cut by over $350,000 annually, which was implemented in June 2004. The second recommendation was that a new revenue source was needed. In April 2005, the Council decided to pursue a transportation maintenance fee.
A key concept of the transportation maintenance fee is that everyone benefits from the transportation system, and everyone should pay a part of the cost of preserving it. Even someone without a car or bike gets services, like mail and garbage collection, via city streets. The actual charge per property is based the estimated traffic generated from that property. For example, commercial businesses that generate large volumes of traffic would pay more than a single-family home. The estimated traffic is generated based on a nationally-recognized model developed by the Institute of Traffic Engineers. The transportation maintenance fee is charged monthly on the City services bill, along with the water, wastewater and storm water fees.
An extensive public outreach effort was conducted during the summer of 2005, with presentations to local business groups, service organizations and the public. In November 2005, the City Council approved the implementation of a Transportation Maintenance Fee with an effective date of July 1, 2006 and a sunset date of June 30, 2011.
Use of the revenue generated from the fee was strictly regulated with about one third going to pavement preservation activities (overlays) on arterial and collector streets and the other two-thirds used to reconstruct portions of Western and Walnut Boulevards. The TMF rate was set for the five-year period (ex. a single-family residential customer paid $1.36 a month) with no increase authorized in the ordinance during that time.
In January 2010, staff returned to the City Council to discuss whether the TMF should be reauthorized and if so, how the program should be changed.
January 20 2010 Administrative Services Committee minutes
February 1 2010 City Council minutes (discussion begins on page 11)
The City Council decided to continue TMF program with the following changes that go into effect on July 1, 2011:
- The revenue will be used for pavement preservation activities on all streets (local, arterial, and collector). Street reconstruction will be supported by other revenue sources.
- The fee will be adjusted annually, beginning July 1, 2012 by the change in the Engineering News Record Construction Cost Index. This Index was selected because it is tied to fluctuations in the construction industry.
- The program will be reviewed every five years to evaluate the success of the activities and the appropriateness of the fee.