Eugene city councilors voted Wednesday to send a city services fee to voters.
The county decided Tuesday to put its public safety levy on the ballot, and Wednesday with a vote of six-to-two, the city will also be looking to the public to help maintain its services.
“There’s been a lot of conversation about whether to even ask the voters for something,” said Jon Ruiz, Eugene City Manager.
But they will ask for no more than $10 a month for residents.
“There are other things we could do. We could sell our assets. We could do all sorts of things, to me which are less palatable than going to a fee,” said Alan Zelenka, Eugene City Councilor.
The council also entertained a property tax levy and even a stormwater and parks fee, but those were both taken off the table Monday. After months of discussion and research, this is the chosen one.
“I think the reason why they chose a fee is because primarily it’s ongoing revenue for ongoing costs. One of the reasons we find ourselves in these structurally imbalanced budgets is we use one-time money for ongoing costs,” Ruiz said.
The fees would help maintain services to a number of departments including fire, police, parks, pools and libraries.
“It’s not meant to expand anything. This is meant to preserve what we already have and prevent deterioration of these very important services that make this such a great town to live in,” said George Brown, Eugene City Councilor.
But the $5.3 million measure still leaves a gap that needs to be filled.
“If this passes, we will still need to make another million dollars worth of cuts. The city manager has not brought us those options to us yet, but I’m sure it’ll mean as it has meant somewhat less of everything,” said Kitty Piercy, Eugene Mayor.
If the measure passes, it would last five years and an oversight committee would review it each year to ensure accountability.