Brookings will vote Jan. 8 on an ordinance asking voters in May to reauthorize the 4-cent-per-gallon fuel tax, which sunsets in 2018.
The ballot question extends the sunset to five years and would not have a monetary cap on it as the current one does.
The gas tax was approved by voters in 2015 to replace System Replacement Fees for roads, which appeared on monthly water bills. Money generated from SRFs were inadequate to maintain the city’s roads for the next 10 years, according to a report by the Dyer Partnership. A tax on fuel was also seen as more directly related to road wear and tear.
The city debated for months how much to charge per gallon, as local gas stations — notably Fred Meyer, the largest purveyor of fuel in the area — would not divulge how much gas they sell, citing it as proprietary information. State officials even said they couldn’t determine how much gasoline is sold in any given county, despite it receiving tax revenue for its sale — a conundrum that had local officials wondering if the state worked with gas stations on the honor system.
The city, left to guess how much gas is sold in town, learned how many gallons of gas a fuel truck holds and counted the number of times trucks arrived at Fred Meyer. Using that information and knowing it needed $300,000 a year needed to maintain roads, city staff deduced a 4-cent tax would be necessary.
The city council also agreed it would eliminate the SRF from customer water bills if voters approved the fuel tax.
They did, and revenue generated from the gas tax now hovers just shy of the $300,000 city officials had
City officials have been specific when discussing which road improvements were done using gasoline tax revenue and others that might have been done using grants or state funds.
In 2015-16, the city repaired a slide on Marine Drive, a slope on North Bank Chetco River Road, built sidewalks on Center and Easy streets and widened Hemlock Street.
It also resurfaced Midland Way, Highland Avenue, Crestwood Place, Cameo Court, Hassett Street between Third and Fifth streets, Third Street between Ransom Avenue and Brooke Lane, Fifth Street between Ransom Avenue and Brooke Lane, Homestead Road, View Court, Julie Drive, and Moore, Hazel and Hemlock streets.
In the 2016-17 fiscal year, it completed work on Arnold Lane from Chetco Avenue to Rowland Lane; Fern/Elk Drive to Easy Street; Hemlock Street from Willow to Fern streets; Center Street from Chetco Avenue to Railroad Street; and Hassett Street from Pioneer to Old County roads.
This fiscal year, the city plans to do extensive work on Spruce Drive from Alder to Linden Lane, and Alder to Railroad Street, and Ransom Avenue from Sixth Street to Kevin Place and Kevin Place from Hassett Street to Ransom Avenue.
Some of those projects have already gone out to bid.
And left to do
Projects the city would like to do in 2018-19 include updating its street master pavement management plan, install a storm drain on Ransom Avenue from Kevin Place to Fawn Drive and do major improvements on Mendy Street, off Pacific Avenue.
The storm drain is estimated to cost $232,000 and the work on Mendy is estimated at $60,000.
Other major work the city plans over the years include updating its storm and sewer master plans and numerous road repairs or repaving jobs around town, many in the Mill Beach area and neighborhoods behind Brookings-Harbor High School.
At the turn of the decade, the city plans to work with the Baptist Church construction anticipated on Lundeen Lane and install a $187,000 water line on Easy Manor Drive and a 36-inch stormwater line on Frontage Road, from Ross Road to Elk Drive at an estimated cost of $97,000.
Major water and sewer line construction is planned in 2022-23, including work on Memory Lane from Railroad Street to Tanbark Road, Hemlock Street from Alder to Oak streets, Fifth Street from Barbra to Ransom Avenue and First Street from Ransom Avenue to Easy Street.