HUDSON — As the city faces $127 million in current infrastructure needs, staff presented alternative funding options.
In May, the council heard that bringing aging infrastructure up to shape would mean a big bill, well beyond what it usually funds for street projects.
Addressing the issues fully is likely not possible for Hudson or most other cities, but City Engineer Dean Chamberlain presented two new funding sources that would help the city adequately maintain its busier main streets.
A combination of funding is the best option, he said.
Currently the city relies about 90% on bonding, and 10% on special assessments. In the future, Chamberlain recommended using a transportation utility and wheel tax in addition to bonding, and eliminating special assessment use.
A transportation utility is an amount charged to city properties based on the trips generated to and from the property added to a base access fee.
The utility provides stable financing at a lower administrative cost, Chamberlain said. It also benefits residential properties and ties the highest traffic generators to the highest cost. The downside is it can bring significant costs to high traffic generators, and does take a lot of startup effort.
A wheel tax is an amount that would be charged annually when people renew the tabs for each registered vehicle they own within the city.
Applying a transportation utility with a half-cent charger per round trip generated and a $120 year basic access charge, along with a $20 wheel tax would generate just under $1 million annually in additional funds for the city.
The costs to residents and business owners would vary from $170 to $5,000.
The proposed plan would also include increasing the city’s debt service significantly as bonding is increased, City Administrator Aaron Reeves said. That would mean an increase to taxes for residents. As an example, for a half-million dollar home, the tax would go up $18 a year in 2024 and then $130 a year in 2028.
The city will conduct neighborhood meetings in order to receive feedback on the proposal before asking council t o make a decision.
Council Member Randy Morrissette II said this is the worst timing to add expenses for residents.
“You can call this a fee all you want, it’s a tax, we’re going to be raising our taxes. That’s a big pill to swallow,” he said.
Council Member Joyce Hall said they need to put pressure on the state Legislature to get more support at the city-level for roads, as well as more support at the school district level.
Council Member Jim Webber said the city really has to turn a corner as it has been dealing with continually diminishing streets for a while.
“I know this is going to hurt, it’s going to be painful, there's going to be a lot of pushback on this, but people want their streets fixed,” he said.
The issue will be brought back to council at its next meeting for further consideration.