Plan calls for residents to pay $4.50 monthly fee for street repairs

HARLINGEN — City commissioners are honing a proposal that would charge utility customers a monthly fee for street repairs.

On Wednesday, commissioners will discuss the proposal in a workshop before entering into meeting to consider approving an ordinance setting the fee.

“There are pros and cons,” Mayor Chris Boswell said today. “We still have a workshop. The city commission has to discuss this and hash it out.”

In January, city commissioners voted 3-2 against imposing a proposed fee that would raise about $1.2 million a year.

Under City Manager Dan Serna’s original proposal, the city’s utility bills would include a monthly $4.50 charge to residential and multi-family utility accounts and $8.50 per month to commercial and industrial utility accounts.

Serna said other cities charging residential and commercial fees to fund street improvements include Austin, Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Richmond, Lampasas, College Station, Taylor, Bryan and Lumberton.

Serna’s proposal stems from last summer’s budget workshop, when commissioners asked him to create a fixed account to help fund street projects.

Too often, commissioners said, officials defer expenditures such as street repairs to fund other projects.