Over at City Hall, the dynamic duo of Streetcar Charlie And Shorty Novick continue to try to peddle their "street fee" to a disbelieving business alliance; the latest iteration of which would involve two annual fee assessments for three years apiece. After the first three years of robbing us, they would put the matter to a public vote, and a "sunset clause" after the final three years of assessments would ostensibly ensure that the tax doesn't continue forever.
Right. And if you'll buy that, there's a view property on the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River that you might find appealing, as well.
According to Miller's memo, the City Council would appoint a citizen oversight committee to meet three years after Portland started collecting money from the yet-to-be approved revenue source.
At the three-year mark, the committee would decide whether to continue the program for another three years, refer the street funding plan to voters for another three-year approval, or defer the issue to City Council which can decide to let the fee "sunset."
Ah, so! The City Council "can decide to let the fee" go away. Sure they can. Because they're always so eager to stop taking money from residents and businesses. Some of the top minds in the Portland business community attended the latest propaganda effort meeting, and came away singularly unimpressed:
The city's proposal didn't gain much traction Monday from the 20-person business working group tasked with advising the city on how to improve the business portion of the street fee plan.
"It doesn't feel like a sunset to me," Heather Hoell, executive director of Venture Portland said.
One representative described the program as "toothless" because the Citizen Oversight Committee would be appointed by the City Council and could only recommend the council terminate the new funding program.
"It's a little fox in the hen house deal," Greg Goodman, co-president of Downtown Development Group, said of the arrangement.
They don't trust these clowns any further than us ordinary mortals do, and with good reason. We've all seen this movie before, and the ending sucks.
As it stands now, Streetcar and Shorty want to suck thousands of dollars a year from businesses, and stick the rest on homeowners (of detached, stand-alone homes - condos and apartment renters would be largely exempt). Meanwhile Streetcar's shoveling another $2 million from city "discretionary funds" into - surprise! - streetcar operations:
July 17th, 2014- City Council Meeting:
Accept Guaranteed Maximum Price of $1,998,187 from Stacy and Witbeck, Inc. for the construction of the Portland Streetcar Southwest Montgomery Street Track Relocation Project (Procurement Report - RFP No. 116186) 15 minutes requested
So much for "road maintenance".