We applaud the Baker City Council for making street maintenance a high priority for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
But the proposed street user fee that councilors discussed Tuesday (no action was taken) - $5 per month for homeowners, $10 per month for businesses - would be too heavy of a burden on too many city residents.
That fee would bring add an estimated $250,000 per year to the city's street-maintenance budget. Those dollars could be put to good use. City officials say it would take at least twice that much new money each year to reverse the decade-long downward trend in the condition of city streets.
But in a city with a significant number of residents living on Social Security or other fixed sources of income, an extra $5 per month can be painful.
We suggest a more moderate fee - say $2 per month for everyone - which could be increased by modest increments in the future. That would help smooth the streets without making for too bumpy of a financial ride for residents.