ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene’s Street Maintenance Fee will likely continue past next year even though it was originally scheduled to sunset in 2023.

City staff is recommending that the Street Maintenance Board take action during a meeting Thursday that will extend the Street Maintenance Fund Program past the original limit.

The Street Maintenance Fund Program, which began in January 2019, has raised nearly $26 million for road repairs since its inception.

Water customers, both residential and commercial, have been paying a flat rate fee on their utility bills each month for the duration of the program, which was set to last 5 years.

A single family residents generally pay $6.75 per month, multifamily complexes pay $6 per unit, income-qualified residents pay $1.75 per month, and commercial businesses pay $25-$75 a month depending on different factors.

In addition to the $26 million raised by the street maintenance fee, the Development Corporation of Abilene will have provided an additional $8.5 million in funding for the program through 2023.

This program has allowed for roadway improvements all over Abilene and council members see the benefit of not only extending the fee, but increasing it to allow for more projects in the future.

“The City’s recent overall pavement evaluation illustrated the need to increase funding of roadway projects in order to sustain acceptable roadway conditions across the City,” an agenda memo for the Street Maintenance Board reads. “An increase to the Street Maintenance Fee allows the City to continue roadway improvements across the City necessary to maintain a safe and passable roadway infrastructure system.”

City Manager Robert Hanna confirmed the fee increase is a good possibility but nothing is official until the next budget session, which will take place in July.

“Staff is recommending a street maintenance fee increase to the Street Maintenance Board, as this was an outcome from the Council Retreat. Specifically, Council directed staff to continue with pay-go financing for our street maintenance efforts,” Hanna explains. “The Street Maintenance Board will hear this and make any comments they feel are appropriate. Fee increases are set by the Council during the budget process, and I would anticipate this would be one of the items Council takes up during the FY 2023 discussion in July.”

Thursday, the Street Maintenance Board will decide if the fee will continue, as recommended by city concil, or if it will sunset as originally planned.

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