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Commission delays public hearing on vehicle fee

Citing the need to provide residents more information about the need for a new motor vehicle fee, on Tuesday, the Washington County Board of Commissioners moved to postpone the first public hearing on it until June 3, 2014.

The commission is considering creating the fee to fund road maintenance projects. Commissioners settled on annual fees of $30 for cars and trucks and $17 for motorcycles and mopeds on Sept. 24. They also tentatively set the first public hearing for Oct. 15.

But questions and comments from the public convinced them that more time is required to explain the proposal and why it is needed. The commission has not yet decided whether it should be referred to county voters, either.

“The commissioners decided they needed more time to gauge public opinion, both on the fee and a possible election. And the county can always do a better job explaining why new fees are needed,” said county spokesman Philip Bransford.

As originally discussed, the fees would be collected every two years by the Oregon Motor Vehicles Department when county residents re-register their vehicles. The $60 and $34 fees would be added to the other fees collected by the state at that time. They are 70 percent of the current state fees, which are the maximums that can be enacted by the county.

The proposed fees are projected to raise an extra $12.5 million a year for road maintenance projects. Washington County would keep 60 percent of those funds and divide the rest proportionately to the cities within the county.

Trail meeting set for Oct. 11 in Banks

The Salmonberry Coalition — a group of individuals who hope to turn the 86-mile railroad corridor between Banks and Tillamook into a scenic trail — will hold its next quarterly meeting on Friday, Oct. 11 at the Banks Fire Hall, 300 Main Street.

The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will be from 10 a.m. to noon.

The Salmonberry Corridor encompasses 86 miles of scenic coastal and forest lands along the route of the Port of Tillamook Bay Railway.

The rail line was severely damaged in flooding and mudslides in December 2007, taking much of the route out of service.



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