South Weber leaders mull new $15-a-month fee to generate road funding

Friday , June 16, 2017 - 5:15 AM

TIM VANDENACK, Standard-Examiner Staff

SOUTH WEBER — City officials in South Weber are considering adding a new $15 fee to utility bills to help generate funds to maintain local roads.

South Weber’s proposed transportation utility fee would total $15 a month and be added to city customers’ water, sewer and garbage collection bills. The added cost would amount to $180 a year per customer and generate around $378,000 per year in all, estimates Tom Smith, the South Weber city manager.

The new fee is included in the planned 2018 city budget and has been the focus of a pair of open houses to inform the public. It and next year’s spending plan are also the focus of a planned public hearing on June 20.

As is, the city has scrambled to keep up with road maintenance, according to Smith, with about $212,000 available per year of late. “The problem is, state funding is not enough,” he said.

The city gets around $62,000 a year in funds per Proposition 1, the 2015 measure that increased the sales tax for transportation initiatives in counties where it was approved. It received about $200,000 more in Class B and C road funds from the state for 2017, though only about $150,000 was used for road maintenance, with the rest going for snow removal and other expenses.

The funds from the transportation utility fee would allow South Weber to be more proactive in maintaining roads rather than waiting until a problem emerges and fixing it. “Right now we’re reactive,” he said.

The city’s June newsletter says 46 percent of South Weber roads have only six years or less of “service life” left. “The street conditions in South Weber city are failing to met expected service levels. With each passing year, the integrity of the city’s roads decreases,” it reads.

Raising property taxes to generate more funds would be another option, Smith said. But the money coming from the hike wouldn’t necessarily be earmarked for roads, as it would be per the proposed fee.

North Ogden assesses a $3 a month transportation utility fee and Smith said Provo also assesses such a fee.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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