By Mary Owen
A measure for establishing a 3-cent motor vehicle fuel tax will be up for voter approval on the May 16 ballot.
“Street funding levels have not kept pace with needs,” City Administrator Keith Campbell said about the fuel tax proposal. “Supplemental funding could be generated by implementing a gas tax, increasing the transportation fee, a bond, or by other means.”
A “yes” vote will raise funds to go toward improving Stayton’s nine miles of streets needing reconstruction and 12 miles of streets needing pavement overlays.
“Supplemental funding will assist in reducing the backlog of street repair projects,” Campbell said. “The current backlog is $23.75 million. At current spending, it will take 147 years to bring all city streets up to ‘good.’”
More than 70 percent of residents answering the city survey named street maintenance as the city’s top priority.
“Streets received over 61 percent more votes than the second place priority,” Campbell said. “The poor condition of our streets is not a secret.”
Presently, Stayton’s Street Fund is comprised of revenues from transportation maintenance fees, shared state gas revenues, and the Surface Transportation Program. The 3-cent per gallon motor vehicle fuel tax is estimated to raise approximately $165,000 per year.
Other avenues to pursue to acquire the necessary funding include: urban renewal, local improvement districts and street fees, Campbell said.
“Last year, 5.4 millions of gallons of gas sold in Stayton,” he said. “The city has 3,100 households which equates to 1,742 gallons of gas per household. If each house bought 20 gallons per week, it would equal 3.2 millions of gallons of gas or 1,032 gallons of gas per household. Based on this information, it is most likely 40 percent of all gas sold in Stayton is from non-residents.”
The city will hold multiple Town Hall meetings to share the presentation given to the Stayton City Council on Feb. 6 and answer questions from on the proposed measure. The meetings will be held in the E.G. Siegmund meeting room at the Stayton Public Library. Presentations are scheduled for Tuesday, April 18, 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday, April 19, 1 p.m.; and Saturday, April 22, 10 a.m.
To download the PowerPoint presentation and a copy of the city’s Street Ratings spreadsheet, go to www.staytonoregon.gov/page/gov_election_FuelTax. For information, contact City Hall at 503-769-3425.