Posted: Feb 26, 2013 9:00 PM by Melissa Schroeder - email@example.com
CORPUS CHRISTI -- City council members today agreed on a $7 flat rate street user fee for homeowners, but the jury is still out on how businesses will pay for the same fee.
Many small business owners are concerned a high fee could cause major problems for their bottom line.
For $15 million a year, city staff members say the streets can be fixed.
But, how to get that money is what's being debated.
Small business owners -- at this meeting -- talked about what they called an "unfair" formula.
It's a formula city staff used to decide how much each business will pay for the street fee.
Downtown business owner Curt Bloomfield said, "I think you're going to have an uprising from all the small businesses and I hope you look at the fee and fix the problem before you throw money at it."
One of the main problems discussed is what's called a trip factor.
Basically, it's an estimate on how much each business and it's customers use the streets.
Some businesses -- like furniture stores -- have a very low trip factor..because there isn't heavy traffic in and out of their location.
Where, fast food restaurants have a much higher trip factor because they see more customers.
But -- the way the formula works -- all businesses would be considered to have the same amount of traffic which means some businesses pay more than they should and others pay much less, even though they use the streets more.
Council members agreed there are some problems with the current formula and asked city staff to look into solutions.
The city council tabled a vote on how much business owners will pay for the street fee.
They'll discuss that fee again in three weeks.
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