Local News

Jun 18, 2013 7:20 PM by Morgan Frances - MFrances@kristv.com

How City's Street Maintenance Fee Will Affect Local Businesses

CORPUS CHRISTI - Corpus Christi City Council is expected to vote on a plan to implement the street user fee next Tuesday. During a city budget workshop today, Assistant City Manager Oscar Martinez presented five options, pushing for one in particular.

That option would require residents to pay $5.99 a month. The amount that business owners will have to pay, however, will depend on a formula. The equation is pretty complex; it's based on property size and the number of times people visit the business. Under the plan, the city would put a cap on buildings that are bigger than 59,000 square feet.

The idea of a street user or maintenance fee has been a major point of discussion amongst city leaders for three years. While many options have been presented to city council, Carl Levy, owner of Roomates, just wants to know one thing.

"Where does it level off?" he said.

Levy operates his furniture store out of a shopping center on South Staples St. He says the square footage is 10,600 square feet. Following the equation proposed by the Assistant City Manager, Roommate's square footage must be divided by 1,500 to find its Equivalent Residential Unit (or ERU) of seven. Since he operates out of a shopping center, his pre-designated "trip factor" would be 4.34 which "Option-E "would cap at 3.78. Multiply those numbers together with the plan's rate of $5.99 and you get his monthly street maintenance fee of about $160; almost $2,000 a year for the business man.

"They're statistic majors," he said. "They've gone to college and done statistics and they're going to be saying, 'Well, Carl should be paying this amount and this amount.' when they have no idea."

Assistant City Manager Oscar Martinez says they plan to put the equation on the city's website by the end of this week so people can figure out what they'll have to pay but Levy says it's just an added tax.

"Where is that money supposed to come from?" he said as he reached into his pocket for some cash. "Right here. That's where it's going to come from. It's not going to increase my business," he said.

City Council is expected to vote on which plan they'll use next Tuesday. If approved, you could see these fees on your monthly bills starting January 1st, 2014.

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