Jun 25, 2013 7:12 PM by Caroline Flores - email@example.com
CORPUS CHRISTI - After 18 months of discussion the city council approved a street maintenance fee. It's intended to raise $55 million a year for street repairs and maintenance.
The final version of the Street Maintenance Fee was only approved after one more round of rough remarks from both residents and some council members.
"I think it's just absurd. I think you oughta bring it before the public and let them vote on it," said one resident.
"No fee! You've got us all talking about a fee. No fee! Just put the 10 percent that we already pay into streets and be done with it," said another resident.
Council member Priscilla Leal agreed with the residents by saying, "I've been opposed to it from the set go. Number one, because this fee will never be fair to the people."
The fee passed by a 6 to 3 vote... with Priscilla Leal, Chad Magill, and Rudy Garza voting against it.
Beginning in January, residents will pay an extra $5.38 per month. Businesses will pay $5.38, plus an additional amount based on their square footage and how much traffic they create. This is the formula most council members found to be the most fair.
"I'm proud of this entity. I think that there will be cities across the county that will be doing what Coleen has done for the last 6 months and Google us," said Council Member Mark Scott.
But one business owner says residents and businesses shouldn't have to pay a cent.
"They could find more money the city coffers if they want to. But they want to put it on the business owners rather than the lack of management from the city," said owner of Marroquin Custom Upholstery Jose Marroquin.
Between now and January, city officials will figure out who should be allowed exemptions or reductions, and notify business how much they can expect to pay beginning next year.