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King City gas tax is on November ballot

Council is trying again on gas tax and also putting marijuana tax before voters.

This story has been updated from its original version.

BARBARA SHERMAN - The proposed King City gas tax would affect the Space Age service station at the Intersection of 99W and Fischer Road, where an A & W drive-through restaurant is now under construction.The two local measures on the ballot this fall in King City look a lot like a couple of measures that voters in neighboring Tigard will consider in their November election.

In King City, Measure 34-271 imposes a 3-cent tax per gallon of motor fuel to help pay for streets and right of way improvements, repair and maintenance, with annual revenue expected to be between $60,000 and $100,000 annually.

A yes vote on this measure would approve an ordinance to amend the King City municipal code and impose the tax. The tax would be collected by motor vehicle fuel dealers and paid to the city.

Net revenue received under the ordinance would only be used for the planning financing, design, construction, maintenance, repair, operation and use of public highways, roads, streets and public rights of way within the city.

The ordinance includes a record-keeping requirement for dealers and allows credits if a dealer makes an over-payment. It imposes penalties on dealers for non-payment and exempts certain fuel (exported fuel, fuel sold to the armed forces and fuel in vehicles coming into King City) from taxation.

City Council members discussed the issue at their Aug. 24 meeting when they voted to place the measure on the ballot.

“I’m concerned because the last time this was on the ballot, it was voted down almost 100 percent. … It’s a rough road,” said Councilor Bob Olmstead.

Mayor Ken Gibson added, “It’s not just about us. Tigard is raising its gas tax. It’s about educating the people who use our roads and cut through the city. We need to contact all the HOAs to make everyone understand the benefits.”

The Tigard City Council voted in July to refer a measure raising the city's motor vehicle fuel tax, commonly referred to as a “gas tax,” from 3 cents to 8 cents per gallon. The city's website states that the increase would add about $1 million in revenue, most of which would go toward street paving and other maintenance projects.

If the tax increase in Tigard is approved, a planned increase in the city's street maintenance fee on utility bills next year will not take effect.

In both Tigard and King City, officials noted that taxing fuel means it is not just local residents and ratepayers who will shoulder the burden of paying for smooth roads.

At the King City meeting, City Manager Mike Weston explained, “We have two gas stations, and the majority of their business comes from transient drivers. … This is to benefit our streets.”

Councilor Chi Nguyen-Ventura added, “Our taxes are low compared to Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood.”

Councilor Al Reu said he had calculated how much extra the tax would personally cost him, adding, “It will cost me 48 cents more per month.”

Like Tigard, King City also has a measure to tax marijuana sales on the ballot. Measure 34-270 imposes a 3 percent city tax on marijuana retailers’ sale of marijuana items.

If adopted, it would approve a King City ordinance imposing the tax on the sale of marijuana items in the city by a licensed marijuana retailer. The tax would be collected at the point of sale and remitted by the marijuana retailer. The measure also includes provisions regarding collection, administration and enforcement of the tax.

Unlike Tigard, King City currently has no marijuana stores within the city limits.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misstated the nature of King City's proposed gas tax. It would be 3 cents per gallon. Mark Miller contributed to this report.

BARBARA SHERMAM - The Arco service station is the original gas station in KIng City, and voters didn't pass a proposed gas tax on the ballot years ago that would have affected the station.