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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

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View More Portland Commissioner Steve Novick on street fee, studded tires, why apartments would pay less than households

May 9, 2014 | Portland Commissioner Steve Novick participated in a live chat with OregonLive readers last week.

The topic: The street fee Novick and Mayor Charlie Hales have been discussing for the past few weeks.

A reminder, this is the proposed $8 or $12 per month fee on all households, which city officials said could generate up to $53 million annually. This week, the Portland Business Alliance said it wants Novick to slow down the rush to approve a funding plan.

In case you missed it, last week's chat included some technical difficulties. We promised to follow up with questions that Novick couldn't answer at the time. The questions below were asked directly by readers last week. Novick's responses were sent via email:

Is the city looking at a studded tire fee? Why not?

Because of the damage they cause Portland roads, I agree that restrictions on studded tires should be imposed. That is why the City Council asked the Legislature to ban studded tires in the last legislative session. The legislature did not. But we’ll try again.

This is referred to as a street fee. How is this not a tax?

Taxes are generally used to raise general revenue and fees pay for a specific service based on the use/benefit. Since our revenue mechanism is structured to create revenue for a specific purpose, the safety and maintenance of our streets, it is more a fee than a tax. A second factor used to distinguish a fee and tax is whether or not the fee is based on your level of use of the resource: Fees have a strong connection to use/benefit and taxes generally do not. Since our fee is based on the estimated number of trips READ FULL ARTICLE