City Commissioner Steve Novick has confirmed the plan to split his proposed Portland street fee into two parts—and pass the household fee first, while delaying the charge on businesses.

But he says City Council must pass the business fee by November 14, or lose the whole proposal.

"The Mayor's and my plan is to move forward with a vote on a residential fee, and set a deadline of November 14, 2014 for the City Council to pass a nonresidential fee," Novick says in a statement. "Both fees would take effect as of July 1, 2015. If Council does not pass a nonresidential fee by November 14, the residential fee would be cancelled."

That November deadline is being written into the language of the $138-a-household fee, which City Council will vote on June 4.

Mayor Charlie Hales' office told WW last night that city officials planned to take up the business side of the fee within a few weeks. But the November deadline means City Hall could try to delay long enough keep opponents of the fee from referring it to the November ballot.

A public hearing on the divided fee starts today at 2 pm.

Here's the full text of Novick's statement:

It is true, as some outlets reported yesterday, that the

Mayor and I are proposing to do further work on the business / nonresidential

side of the proposed Transportation User Fee before putting it to a vote before

Council. This does not mean that we are planning to have a fee for residents

but no fee for businesses; in fact, we are putting language in the residential

fee ordinance that says that if the Council does not pass a nonresidential fee

by this November, the residential fee will be cancelled. Both residential and

nonresidential users would start paying as of July 2015. But we do think there

is reason to do more work on the business/nonresidential fee.

The business / nonresidential fee is inherently more

complicated than the residential fee. What we plan to do, as other cities have

done, is base the nonresidential fee on the Institute of Traffic Engineers’

“trip generation” model. The ITE divides up businesses and other nonresidential

users into a number of categories, and then, based on a lot of research, gives

a figure for each type of business for how many “trips” (e.g., traffic) each

type generates, per month, for a given number of square feet.  Business pay fees based on how many

trips they generate. 

Other cities use the ITE, but there is some variation in the

way they use it; not every city’s nonresidential fee is calculated the same

way. Some cities, for example, combine some related ITE categories into one category.



In Portland, in 2007, PBOT worked with many representatives

of the business community to create a formula for using the ITE that was

broadly acceptable to most of those representatives. In this year’s effort, we

took that formula as a starting point, figuring that since it was broadly

acceptable in 2007, it would be this year as well.

Over the past week, however, reading numerous emails from

small business owners, it became clear to me that many business owners were not

part of that 2007 process, and have a lot of questions. Some are not sure which

of the ITE categories they fit into; some question the fairness of applying the

ITE model to their particular business. And it wasn’t just business owners;

religious organizations and other property owners have concerns about the

application of the ITE model.

We still believe that the ITE manual is an appropriate basis

for computing nonresidential fees. But again, other cities have developed

variations on how to use the ITE. We think it is appropriate to take a few

months to give business owners and other nonresidential parties who may not

have been involved in the 2007 process to ask questions about and help shape

our particular formulation.

So, the Mayor’s and my plan is to move forward with a vote

on a residential fee, and set a deadline of November 14, 2014 for the City

Council to pass a nonresidential fee. Both fees would take effect as of July 1,

2015. If Council does not pass a nonresidential fee by November 14, the residential

fee would be cancelled.

I appreciate all the feedback and suggestions that this

proposal has garnered, and I look forward to continued dialogue.

Thank you,

Commissioner Steve Novick