City approves $1.4 million street repair fee

HARLINGEN — The city plans to “ramp up” its street repairs.

After months of debate, city commissioners Wednesday approved an ordinance allowing the city to charge utility customers a monthly fee projected to raise $1.4 million to help fund street projects.

Now, officials plan to determine the amount of money they will pull from the city’s $42 million general fund to subsidize the fee’s revenues, City Manager Dan Serna said today.

“The intent is to ramp up our street overlay program and do streets on a more consistent basis year after year,” Serna said.

In the last few years, he said, officials have funded street programs ranging from about $380,000 to $1.2 million.

The new fee replaces the city’s so-called infrastructure fee charging utility customers $1 a month to help fund projects such as public building improvements.

Under the new ordinance, utility bills will include a monthly $2.50 fee for apartments and other multi-family units; a $2.50 monthly fee for single-family homes using 1,000 gallons of water a month of less; a $4.50 monthly fee for single-family homes using more than 1,000 gallons a month; and an $8.50 monthly fee for commercial accounts.

The fee will raise about $1.4 million a year to help fund street projects.

The ordinance creates a five-year program identifying streets for improvements.