GRANDVIEW -- With a new grant and plans for more renovated streets, Grandview is on pace to be the first in the Yakima Valley to spend its $20 car-tab fee revenue.
Grandview officials learned last week they received a $200,000 grant to resurface a five-block stretch of Second and Elm streets. The grant from the state Transportation Improvement Board requires a contribution of $10,000 from city coffers.
Officials will pay for that with projected income from the recently passed $20 car-tab fee, which they will begin collecting in February as residents renew their vehicle registrations.
Plans calls for grinding and overlaying -- a fancy term for resurfacing -- Second Street between Ash Avenue to Elm Street and Elm Street from Second to Wine Country Road. The sidewalks along that route will get new ramps with the project, which may see construction start in April or May, according to Cus Arteaga, city administrator.
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Grandview's newest project comes on the heels of several others.
A $1 million community center is under construction and the city is almost finished widening and adding sidewalks to Wine Country Road near the east entrance of town. A $5.1 million renovation of the downtown streetscape was finished last year. And construction is scheduled to start in the spring for grant-funded sidewalk and street improvements to Birch, Washington and Adams avenues.
Many cities throughout the state have started collecting the car-tab fees or are considering it by taking advantage of 2007 state law that allows them to form Transportation Benefit Districts. The districts must spend the money only on street repairs and upgrades. Municipalities may impose up to $20 without a public vote.
Prosser was the first city in Eastern Washington to impose the fees, in 2009. Mabton and Grandview followed suit early this year. Sunnyside and Yakima have been considering it. And on Dec. 19, Zillah City Council approved the measure expected to bring in about $35,000 a year, said City Clerk Sharon Bounds.
Grandview plans to collect up to $180,000 per year from the tab fees. Mabton anticipates about $10,000.
Prosser struggled for the first few years with the fee. To collect the money, the city relies on the state Department of Licensing, which started off billing the wrong people -- those who lived outside the city limits and skipping residents who lived inside. As a result, the city collected about half of its projected $90,000 in 2010, said Cathleen Koch, deputy city administrator.
This year, the city will bring in about $87,000, while Koch said there are fewer refund requests.