A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany takes another step toward new fee

Written March 24th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Residents on this block of Main Street (north of Queen) and everywhere else in Albany would be charged a monthly city services fee if the council imposes one.

The Albany City Council took another step Wednesday toward imposing a new city services fee by adopting, without dissent, a plan for how the charge would be structured.

City Manager Peter Troedsson stressed that the council has not decided to impose the fee. But it would need to choose one of several options for structuring it.

Now that this decision has been made, the city’s consultants say they need 120 days before the fee is ready for council action.

Only one council member, Bessie Johnson, on Wednesday expressed reservations about the burden the fee would put on ratepayers.

No amount for the fee has been set. The options before the council assumed a charge of $9 a month per single-family household. With that as the base fee, apartment complexes might pay from $36 to $72 a month depending on size, a high school $450, the hospital $144, a restaurant $22, a small store $9, a store the size of Target or Kohl’s $72, and Fred Meyer $225.

The numbers would be more or less if the council eventually set a monthly base fee higher or lower than $9.

Troedsson has told the council that the details of the fee have to be settled in advance so it can take effect if and when the council decides. He says that because of the city’s structural budget problem — expenses growing faster than revenue — sooner or later the fee will be needed if service cuts are to be avoided.

The fee would be added to the city’s monthly utility bills and would help support programs such as police and fire, the libraries and parks.

To prepare, the council hired a Portland consulting firm, Galardi Rothstein Group, which also helped the city on other utility rate projects, for up to $35,850. So far they’ve submitted one invoice, for $11,902. (hh)

Posted in: Commentary, News


19 responses to “Albany takes another step toward new fee”

  1. Pat Essensa says:

    How can us seniors take another service fee?There is nothing left over from our 15.00 raise we got from social security in January everything has gone up. The city of Albany needs to live within their means.

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    “City Manager Peter Troedsson stressed that the council has not decided to impose the fee. But it would need to choose one of several options for structuring it.”

    We need to strap that guy to a polygraph!

  3. Mark Nicholson says:

    This is utter bullshit! The city government needs to cut spending! This new “tax,” will disappointantly affect fixed income individuals like my family members….

  4. Terry Sitton says:

    Wth is this fee for ? The one thing this city needs is those tracks driveable on Queen… Makes me wonder how many hubcaps have popped off from..

  5. Soon to be moving homeowner says:

    Albany and their fees, assessments and tax increases are chasing homeowners out. Manage what you have. Perhaps funds used for expert appraisals/opinions/assessments could be directed to your determined shortage areas. Or possibly more metal ill-functioning flowers and black bucket lighting downtown. But whatever the city decides, heaven forbid they put a open query out to the taxpayers whose pockets are being rifled.

  6. Lisa says:

    How can they say the city needs to charge a fee when they have the money to pay that group! At a all time high of homelessness they want to make life harder especially for those on a fixed income?! The fee you pay should be based on your income. Not to mention no new businesses will come here. Albany needs new business, more jobs.

  7. Wendy Benke says:

    This new fee appears to pay for either wage increases or retirement for Parks, Librarians ,Police and Fire employee’s. We have other measures voted on to improve their lively hood. Live with in your means. Taxing and taxing will eventually cause homelessness to the ones who are paying these fee’s and taxes.. Then who will be paying for these new taxes and fee’s.The city of Albany needs to be strict about staying with in their budget. You that have been elected by the people work for the people.

  8. Debbie says:

    Ridiculous!! Add another fee ?? What happened to all the money for fire/police we already pay?

  9. James Engel says:

    So while our “Rome” burns itself out of money Troedsson spends 80K on silly yard lamps and and another 2M on a riverbank study. I’d say strap him to a railcar & run him outta town! The disheartening thing is they just won’t listen. AND, they always play the police & fire card as the necessary reason. With this new fee I’d better see a patrol car parked outside my house every night.

  10. Jeff Senders says:

    You don’t suppose its really a backhanded way to help pay for their PERS retirement benefits? No, they wouldn’t do that.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      The city’s 2002 PERS obligation bond (imposed without voter approval) expires in June 2028.

      Then the city will have to borrow millions more (or impose a bogus “fee”) to cover its unfunded PERS liability.

      Thankfully, the city charter now requires the council to get voter approval of new debt.

      I doubt the city plans 6-7 years in the future, but I wonder….is a PERS “fee” planned for future water bills?

    • Suebee says:

      Mr. Sanders…The old PERS is sucking us dry adage eh?

      I am a PERS retiree…this retirement was hard earned over my 27 years of employment… I watched it grow, and know it was self supporting up until the state “borrowed” against it…to get out their financial “pinches”. It’s never been the same since their sticky fingers got into it.

      I understand there are problems with the system…like coaches, and
      higher administrators who found loopholes and are abusing it…sure ask the state to correct those loopholes, but for those of us who just want a retirement offered like other corporations i.e. HP, Nike, Non-profits…for the love of whatever god don’t lump my slightly better than SS Payment into your battle.

      Look back in the Tom McCall days how the state told public employees they couldn’t afford to give their contracted employees raises, so instead the state promised to provide a lifelong retirement plan they allow the employees to invest in…it was self supporting and was strong…

      • Birdieken says:

        Thank you for your service. While raided funds should be replaced, I thought the other problem was guaranteed return? Just asking.

        • Hasso Hering says:

          I’m not sure where this idea of “raided funds” comes from. There have been legislative actions to try to reduce PERS costs to the state and local governments, but as far as I recall there hasn’t been any “raid on PERS.” (A few years ago the governor proposed to take money from the State Accident Insurance Fund in order to support PERS, but that’s the only “raid” that comes to mind.)

  11. Ted says:

    A public high school paying a city “fee” (read tax). Just in what universe do they think that would happen? And if they actually do then I hope they put the students out there to do fundraising (car washes come to mind) to pay this fee. If not, it’s just more dollars out of the taxpayer’s pockets and the school administration couldn’t give a hoot. Please, please, please, remember decisions like this at the next election. If you don’t vote against people that hide taxes under other names it just shows you agree with them. And you can try, but you really can’t “spin” that any other way.

  12. Mike says:

    I just bought a home here 2 years ago, am thinking of moving out of Albany. Sounds like the elected officials don’t know how to budget. I was going to start a business here, but will move on to another city.

  13. Birdieken says:

    The city will never have enough money. Employees hold the taxpayers hostage for more pay, city caves, repeat. City council has protected downtown business owners from keeping their properties up, then comes along CARA to spend the taxpayers money for that purpose. Who are the councils target audience, the taxpayers or the tax funded? If the council concentrated as much energy on job creation as they do spending taxpayers money, the tax increase issues would be a mute point.

  14. sonamata says:

    The per-resident policing budget for a Linn County resident living in Albany is ~$600 per resident/yr (includes proportional LCSO & total APD budget). The fire budget is an additional ~$375 per resident/yr.

    Multiply $975 by the number of people in your household. Don’t think people realize how much just those few services are costing.

  15. Rachel says:

    Why is it so hard to manage those that manage. So sad. Thank you Hasso.

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