The Dalles City Council took care of a lot of business last night, including passing a budget for the new fiscal year which starts July 1. Council members did postpone a decision on making changes in the city’s legal department and city manager’s office. Staff had proposed doing away with a part-time contracted prosecutor and hiring a new full-time hybrid position that would work both in the legal department and as an assistant to the city manager working on economic development issues. Several local attorneys testified in opposition to the proposal, saying the current arrangement was working well, that creating a new staff position would have greater costs than contracting the services out, and that it would be difficult to find a person who could do both jobs well.
In the other major development, council members agreed with staff that the streets in the city were falling way behind on maintenance. The next question was – how to pay for needed repairs. Councilors rejected options such as increasing franchise fees for utilities or adding franchise fees for cell phones or for Chenowith Water PUD. Councilors agreed to hold a hearing at the next city council meeting on June 24 about taking a 3 cent per gallon gas tax to city voters in November. Councilor Dan Spatz put it this way:
Spatz noted that other methods of raising revenue from vehicles such as license fees, belonged to the state government. The city has an existing 3 cent per gallon gas tax that has not been raised in 27 years.