Gold Beach is considering a survey to determine what citizens think might be the best way to pay for $2.1 million in needed street repairs.
A recent study conducted by Dyer Partnership of Coos Bay indicates Gold Beach needs $2.1 million in capital improvements. There is no funding mechanism for those repairs — much less unanticipated road failures, City Administrator Jodi Fritts said in a report for a meeting Monday.
A flat fee on utility bills would range between $1 and $5 per month, depending what work the city wants done. A gas tax could range from 1 to 4 percent, depending on the work needed on the roads and any data the city can get from the state.
Brookings faced a similar situation in 2015 when it was trying to figure out how much gas was sold in Brookings. They couldn’t obtain data from Fred Meyer, the largest purveyor of fuel in the city, which cited its gas sales as proprietary information.
The state, to the surprise of city officials, also did not have data regarding the number of gallons of gasoline sold in each county — nor the extrapolated figures when compared to the revenue it derives.
Brookings was then forced to guess how many gallons were sold, primarily by counting the number of gas fueling trucks serving Fred Meyer each day and finding out how many gallons each holds.
Currently, Gold Beach receives about $120,000 from the state in gas-tax revenue.
“While this might sound like a tidy sum, one road failure or repair can easily use all those funds, and more,” Fritts said. “As an example, a small slide in the winter of 2016 on Grizzly Mountain Road by the library cost more than $120,000 to repair. And repairs to stormwater culverts and catch-basins are also part of the street maintenance fund.”
Staff recommended during last year’s budget talks that a flat fee be added to monthly utility bills. Another suggestion was a gas tax, similar to the one approved by voters in Brookings. The fee would not require a vote of the public, although a fuel tax would.
“We discussed the pros and cons of both options and thought a citizen’s survey would be helpful in determining which funding mechanism to choose, if any,” Fritts said.
Like Gold Beach, Brookings realized it would need much more money than it was garnering from a fee on its utility bills to maintain existing roads. The 4-cent per gallon fuel tax, implemented in 2015, generates about $290,000 a year, just shy of the $300,000 the city had hoped for needed maintenance.