Portland voters will have their say: Street fee to go on May bal - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland voters will have their say: Street fee to go on May ballot

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The long-running debate over how to tax residents in order to fund street maintenance in Portland will go to a vote in May.

The Portland City Council will refer a series of funding options to voters in what will be the city's first use of a public advisory vote to shape policy.

An increased gas tax, a progressive income tax, a local-option property tax levy and other mechanisms will likely be part of the options. A hearing is set for 6 p.m. Thursday to lay out the details of the proposals.

Mayor Charlie Hales said "the time to act is now" after 14 months of hearings and countless hours of debate.

"Throughout this process, a couple of things have become evident," Hales said in a written statement. "One: People agree that we need to fix streets, and we don't currently have the funding to do so. And two: No one funding mechanism is the consensus choice. So we will ask voters to pick the solution that is most palatable from an array of options."

The measure that gets the most yes votes on the May ballot will be scheduled to be adopted by the city council.

Voters could see between three to six options on the ballot.

"From the beginning, I've said the options are 'Do this, do something else, or do nothing.' And 'do nothing' isn't acceptable. That hasn't changed," Hales said.

The city has a few weeks to craft the advisory measures and forward them to Multnomah County in time for the May ballot. Details of each option – including dollar figures – will be determined following Thursday night's hearing.

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