Washougal Council considers transportation benefit district

Public hearings are set for March 23 and April 13

Washougal residents are invited to comment on the potential creation of a transportation benefit district.

Last night, the Washougal City Council scheduled public hearings for Monday, March 23 and April 13, during the 7 p.m. meetings, at City Hall.

The idea of forming a TBD was mentioned during the council’s annual planning session in January 2014 and during a council meeting three months later.

This year during the Feb. 20 meeting of the council ad-hoc budget committee, there was discussion regarding establishing a TBD program as a placeholder to circumvent Clark County from preempting the option.

TBD revenue options that are not subject to voter approval include an annual vehicle fee of up to $20 per vehicle, to pay for street maintenance.

The establishment of any fees would be a separate ordinance after a TBD board is created.

During the council workshop yesterday, Councilman Paul Greenlee said he was concerned Clark County would create its own TBD and “swallow us up.”

Councilman Dave Shoemaker said the council should be very careful what it designates the money for.

A $20 tab fee is projected to raise approximately $215,000 annually, for pavement preservation.

When asked later if Washougal residents could be part of transportation benefit districts for Washougal and Clark County, City Administrator David Scott said the total tab fee that could be imposed by the combination of the two would be $20 without a vote.

“The legislature is considering changing that limit, but that is still very much in play as the legislative session continues and the ultimate outcome is still very unclear,” he said. “We will have exhaustive legal opinions on all the different scenarios as part of our staff presentation prior to the public hearing at the March 23 council meeting.”