Newport: Log export company told to come back next meeting to see if they get an “SDC” discount from the city council
The log exporting company that is expected to begin exporting logs off the Port of Newport’s new International Terminal later this year asked the Newport City Council Tuesday night to give it a 50% break on System Development Charges, or SDC’s as they’re called.
Newport Community Development Director Derrick Tokos and City Manager Jim Voetberg both recommended that Teevin Brothers pay the full rate which amounts to just over $200,000. Teevin Brothers representatives said the new log handling yard they are building at the port will be completely self-contained to capture and treat all storm water on the site. They point out that their system won’t even be connected into the storm water city’s system. And for that they figure a 50% discount on their SDC permit fee is in order – roughly $90,000.
But Tokos told the council that although Teevin makes a good argument for the discount, there are other considerations that the council needs to think about like the impacts on streets and roads and storm drain systems that Teevin’s logging trucks will be making as they drive through town on their way to the terminal. Tokos said that SDC’s exist to ensure that new companies that put greater stress on any city system pay their own way so current residents aren’t required to subsidize their effects. To put it simply, Teevin Brothers will be running 50 log trucks a day initially down SE Moore Drive from Highway 20 and then onto the Bay Road to the terminal, and then back up to Highway 20. They’ll be hiring new workers who will be coming into the area, living here and contributing their part to storm water run off, street wear and tear and other stressors on sewer and water systems. Tokos says it all adds up and the city has to raise the money somehow to expand those services without putting more financial stress on those who already live here.
Councilors also wondered whether giving Teevin Brothers a break on SDC’s might prompt other Newport businesses, also next to the bay, to ask for discounts on their SDC’s since they are at the tail end of the storm water system and therefore don’t contribute much to flows.
Tokos said the city’s formula for determining SDC fees was carefully formulated and closely mirrors state laws on the issue. Tokos asked rhetorically, “Is it perfect? No. But it’s what state lawmakers and regulators recommended as they attempted to standardize procedures for determining SDC fees statewide.”
In the end, the council said it needed to think about all this at some other time that isn’t ten o’clock at night. They put off any further discussion on the matter until their February 19th meeting. In the meantime the council asked Teevin Brothers why a 50% discount? Why not more? Why not less? Councilors also said they want their city attorney, who was not at the meeting, to help them better navigate the issue.