<<Removing leaves from streets in the City's 28 designated leaf districts provides for safety and environmental services for these specific neighborhood streets where our street cleaning equipment cannot effectively clean the streets when leaves accumulate. Leaves that fall in the leaf districts are just too large and heavy in volume for sweeping. The City recently completed a review of the program and this year has implemented several changes to services, service areas, and how the program is funded. Areas with lower leaf volume have been removed from service, and some areas have been added for service based on their tree canopy and volume of street leaves.
The leaf removal program costs the Bureau of Transportation about $800,000 to operate, and the leaf removal fee is expected to help us cover the costs of service for the program. Crews work full shifts seven days a week from November 3 through December 15 this year. The program serves 25% of all City streets. Prior to implementing this fee, everyone in the city paid for this service at the gas pump through the State Gas Tax, which is Transportation's primary source of revenue for street maintenance. With this new fee, we're charging the residents and businesses that most directly benefit from our leaf removal service.
To clarify, this is a fee and not a tax, and we understand how they might be confused. Gas tax and vehicle registrations fund the Bureau of Transportation's maintenance budget. No property or income tax dollars are used for our maintenance budget. Your property taxes do not pay for the cost of maintaining and repairing Portland city streets, signs, sidewalks, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure.
The City's fee for leaf removal services is in compliance with City financial policy (FIN-2.06). >>