City plans to examine street maintenance budget

DALLAS — The city of Dallas plans to form a citizens committee to examine and make recommendations on how to spend the city’s street maintenance budget.

After the Oregon Legislature approved a transportation bill, the city found it will receive about $350,000 more for street maintenance each year. That is added to the previous budget of about $300,000 annually.

The Streets Advisory Committee’s mission is to explore “possible funding sources for repairing city streets” and “propose policies on maintaining city streets,” according to description presented to the council at its Nov. 6 meeting.

Each of the nine city councilors will nominate two city residents to serve on the committee. Mayor Brian Dalton will select one from each councilor’s list to serve and present his choices to the city council.

Councilors have until Monday to turn in their nominations.

“The sooner the better on this, so if we could set a time that would give all the councilors time to talk to folks who may be interested,” Dalton said.

The same process was used to fill a previous citizen’s committee, which made the recommendation to ask voters for a general obligation bond in May of 2016. The bond failed.

Committee members will work with city staff to determine the best and most efficient use of the new gas tax revenue and recommend street projects to be completed.

Meetings of the committee will be open to the public and a schedule will be determined once the members are selected.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a resolution setting a utility license application and renewal fee ($200) and a 5-percent gross revenue utility fee on those utilities that do not have a franchise agreement with the city. The resolution passed on a 6-3 vote. The city council passed an ordinance creating the utility license fee in October. City Manager Ron Foggin estimated the fee will raise between $130,000 and $150,000 annually.

• Learned that the sale on the Mercer Reservoir watershed property sale purchase is final. Foggin said he was relieved to have the process completed. The city had been waiting on property line adjustments to be approved.

“It’s a goal that I have been working on for five years, and I have paperwork to prove that it closed,” Foggin said. “I appreciate the council’s support on that. I’m happy to be able to check that one off.”

Foggin said the city will turn its attention to writing a timber management plan and watershed management plan for the area. The sale gives the city control over about 400 acres surrounding the Mercer Reservoir.

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