County sets public hearings on vehicle registration fees
Clackamas County appears to be one step closer to charging residents a $30 annual vehicle registration fee. It's been talked about for months, but this is the first time the public is getting a chance to weigh in on it.
The proposed fee will apply to cars, pick-up trucks, vans and other passenger vehicles registered in Clackamas County. Motorcycle costs would be $15 per year.
Oregon residents register cars for two years at a time; the cost would be $60 every two years for passenger vehicles and $30 for motorcycles.
However, the county is exempting a number of vehicles. These are snow mobiles, Class 1 all-terrain vehicles, fixed-load vehicles, antique vehicles, vehicles registered to disabled veterans, farm vehicles, travel trailers, campers and motor homes, school buses, government-owned and law enforcement vehicles and heavy trucks.
County Commissioners are considering the ordinance after years of analysis and discussions with the community and businesses and cities in the county.
"Clackamas County is the only one of the three Portland area counties without a source of local funds for road projects," explained Jim Bernard, chair of the county board. "That means our options for meeting local needs for safety improvements, congestion relief and local road maintenance are severely limited."
State law dictates that 40 percent of the VRF would go to cities in the county, based on their population.
Of the remainder, 50 percent would go to the county and 10 percent will be paid into an investment fund for the county and cities to fund multi-jurisdictional projects.
The county will use its money to relieve congestion, maintain county, local roads and implement safety improvements, said Mike Benzer, assistant director for transportation.
"We already have a long list of needed projects in our Transportation System Plan that was created with extensive public input," Benzer said. "Between that list, our urgent need to maintain local neighborhood roads and to make needed safety improvements, the additional VRF revenue will enable us to provide transportation improvements on roads throughout our county," he concluded.
The hearings are scheduled for Feb. 7 at 10 a.m. and Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. in the Board Hearing Room at the Public Services Building, 2051 Kaen Road in Oregon City. The room is located on the fourth floor. The public is invited to comment on the subject by written comment or at the meeting with an up to three-minute oral comment.
Written comments must be received by Feb. 21.