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Grandview Council sets wheels in motion for car tab fee

GRANDVIEW - The city of Grandview's TBD (transportation benefit district) is no longer TBD (to be determined).

That's because last night, Tuesday, the Grandview City Council approved the benefit district as a first step towards assessing an annual $20 license tab fee per vehicle in the city limits.

Last night's action didn't formally establish a fee, but Mayor Norm Childress made it clear that council's intention after finalizing the details of forming the district is to eventually levy the $20 tab.

Council decided to form the transportation benefit district as a way to secure steady funds for road repairs.

When it is imposed, the tab fee will generate an estimated $150,000 to $180,000 each year for street maintenance.

Indications are that the city will keep the benefit district - and the eventual fees - intact for the long term. That's because the city plans to repair roads in town on a yearly rotating basis and set aside a small amount of the funds as a match for larger street projects needing grant funds.

At a public hearing two weeks ago, council received one comment and that was positive.

Before taking action last night, though, council heard from two residents opposed to the district and its eventual $20 license tab fee.

Florinda Barajas lives in Grandview's Washington Street neighborhood, and told council she and her family don't want the fee because they are already facing insurance costs on their three vehicles and increased vehicle registration fees because the state charges for tonnage on trucks.

Barajas said the fee would mean an additional $60 out of pocket each year for her family's vehicles.

Another Grandview resident, Maria R. Cuevas, said the $20 tab fee would be a hardship on farm workers who live in the city.

Councilman Jesse Palacios responded that the fees will result in street repairs and that, in turn, will lead to higher property values and better neighborhoods.

Barajas countered that the city hasn't done anything in her neighborhood in the nearly 30 years she's lived there.

"Our street is the ghetto," she said. "They have fixed other streets, we have nothing." Barajas even contended that city snow plows don't even remove snow on her street.

Palacios and City Administrator Cus Arteaga replied that the city is applying for grant funds to repair streets in her part of town. However, matching funds will be needed and the $20 tab would allow the city to set money aside if it receives the grant.

Barajas said she would pay the fee if the city could guarantee her street would be repaired.

Childress pledged the city will do all it can.

"All I can guarantee you is we'll do our best," he told Barajas.

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