PUEBLO, Colo. – City Council hit a bump in the road when it comes to collecting money for road improvements.
It’s a measure approved by voters in November to allocate millions of dollars for that purpose.
But the city has not collected a dime, yet.
The fund, called the Street Repair Enterprise, relies on charging Pueblo residents different fees – depending on much traffic goes in and out of their property.
But that distribution proved to be unfair to businesses so now city council is working on fixing the plan, so they can get to work on fixing the roads.
“The roads definitely need it around here,” said Taylor Blanchard, co-owner of Cody’s Upholstery.
He likes the idea of a smoother drive for his team and his customers…
“We could use a good tarmac on the top of this,” he added.
Pueblo City Council says the price tag on those repairs, ranging from overlays to crack sealing, totals $3.5 million.
“We don’t have a lot of extra money and streets need to be paved and the citizens would like that. That was […] one of their top priorities,” said Ed Brown, Vice-Chair of Pueblo City Council.
Voters approved a user fee, which initially promised to charge homeowners just a dollar a month.
However, business owners who would pay based on the amount of traffic are crying foul, saying it’s unfair because they would wind up paying thousands more.
“We have to overlay the streets, even a dollar amount would help us,” explained Brown.
When business owners complained, Brown says council-members struck down the measure.
“My colleagues, I think, feel the frustration and I think we’ll come up with something.”
Now, they’re working on a proposal to redistribute those fees in a more equitable manner.
Although it means fees for homeowners could go up, businesses would at least catch a bit of a break.
“Being disseminated more evenly, I think that’s great,” said Blanchard.
“We get as much pedestrian traffic down here as we do business and the whole union area, we hope to get more so better streets and road conditions would help.”
“Pueblo City Council originally wanted to implement these fees at the beginning of 2018 but now they’re aiming to have them implemented by January of 2019.
They still have to present a proposal, which is likely to happen by October 2018.