EUGENE, Ore. — Eugene residents called proposed fees to the city’s stormwater system a deception and they don’t want anything to do with it.
The City Manager presented the option at the end of last year to help balance the $6 million gap in the budget. While, it could provide the city about $4.5 million to maintain the city’s parks and open spaces, residents aren’t so sure it’s really making the situation any better.
More than 20 people signed up to speak their mind against the potential change.
Right now, the city gets money to operate and maintain parks, open space and natural areas from the general fund. The amendment being talked about would allow the city to use money from stormwater fees paid on utility bills. While city staff are still working out exactly what this will cost residents, they say it won’t be more than $10 a month. But citizens say that’s just more than they can bear and it’s just not the way to get things done. Many weren’t even sure the money would go where it was supposed to.
But the council said this isn’t about asking for money.
Eugene City Councilor Claire Syrett said, “It’s about us trying to find a way forward for this community and if that means we have to live in tighter means than what we’re imagining than we’ll figure that out and we’ll do that.”
While councilors heard what folks had to say, what sort of impact that say has we’ll all have to wait to find out. While the ordinance was up for public comment, it is currently not going to be up for public vote. Council will decide on Monday what to do next. And just for clarity, Tuesday night’s discussion was separate from the proposed city service fee that may show up on the ballot in May.
The proposed change to the stormwater fee structure was one of several issues on the agenda. The public also weighed in on the proposed changes to the types of farm animals they can keep in their backyards. Several people got up in front of the council to talk about the changes.
Among other things, the current proposal increases the number of chickens and goats people will be allowed to have. With the addition comes restrictions.
Some councilors are worried about unwanted noise and odors. Many argued the call for more housing and fences for the animals are a bit too restrictive. The council could take action next month.