The Kent City Council did not take any action at its July 20 meeting about whether to form a transportation benefit district in order to charge Kent residents an annual city vehicle-license registration fee that would cost anywhere from $10 to $20, and would be used to fund city street projects.
Several people testified at the Council’s public hearing about the issue that night.
“A few were against it and a couple were in favor,” said Tim LaPorte, city public works director, in a July 21 phone interview.
LaPorte said the ordinance could come back before the Council in August or September. The Council did not set a date for when it might consider a vote about forming a transportation benefit district.
The Council needs to form a benefit district, which would be composed of Council members, before it could charge a fee of up to $20 without voter approval.
A public hearing was required as part of the process in order to form such a district.
City officials are looking for ways to fund city street projects, including street-railroad grade separation projects over the next several years along South 228th Street, South 212th Street and Willis Street. Federal and state grants are not expected to be as available or cover as much of the cost as in previous street projects.
The state Legislature passed a law in 2007 that allows a city or county government to create local transportation benefit districts and impose a local vehicle registration fee to fund transportation projects.
The Council can adopt the fee without voter approval by keeping the cost at $20 or less. Voters would need to approve any fee higher than $20 with a ceiling of $100 per vehicle.