Council takes first look at fee ordinance

DALLAS -- The City Council took a first look at a proposed ordinance that would create a street maintenance fee at its meeting Monday night.



DALLAS -- The City Council took a first look at a proposed ordinance that would create a street maintenance fee at its meeting Monday night.

Council members took no action on the draft, but rather took a preliminary look at the wording of the ordinance written by City Attorney Lane Shetterly.

Shetterly said because the fee has attracted attention and the council has committed to gradually increasing the amount, he included a fee schedule within the ordinance for clarity. Typically, fee schedules are determined with a separate resolution, he noted.

"This puts those dollars square, front and center," Shetterly said.

Several members of the council agreed that the ordinance establishing a street fee should be as clear as possible.

"I think this is a special case, considering the microscope it is under," Councilor David Shein said.

Furthermore, Mayor Jim Fairchild said amending an ordinance, while not difficult, subjects any changes to two reviews by the council instead of just one, as would be the case with a resolution. That gives the public more chances to express concerns, he said.

The draft ordinance establishes a $2.50 per month fee charged to every housing or business unit in the city starting on July 1, 2010. The amount increases $1 each year until reaching a cap of $5.50 per month in 2013.

The fee assessment would be attached to city water and sewer bills, and only units receiving bills would be subject to the fee.

"If they are not getting a water bill, they are not paying the fee," Shetterly said.

The fee sunsets in 2020, unless the council decides to continue it. Council members would review the fee and the need for an increase, if one is scheduled, each year after implementation.

The council will review the ordinance again at its next meeting on Dec. 21.



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