No on any increases in taxes until our city government can manage not to waste what is already given them. The Murphy road project that connects Business 97 and Brookswood Blvd. was a sheer waste of $30 million. It does nothing to improve any transportation issue. It does nothing but connect two streets. The bridge over the Parkway has no access to the Parkway. Powers Road already provided access from Business 97 to Brookswood Blvd. The city did not need to take the backyards of the residents along the new Murphy Road and waste $30 million. Nor do they need to build yet another round-about at Parrell and Murphy Rd. The Reed Market roundabout is yet another huge joke and another waste of money. This roundabout has become a locked tight bottleneck at a busy intersection. Stop with the roundabouts already, and STOP WASTING our tax money!!!!!
~Nik Myles via BendSource.com
Rework the fuel tax proposal
The debate around the proposed fuel tax to raise $2.5 million per year for street maintenance is not about wanting the best for Bend, nor is it about the additional cost or even about street maintenance. This debate is about Bend taxpayers making good decisions on how to use taxpayers' money. Do you remember the last special election to raise the transient room tax in 2013?
The opponents argued against the TRT increase to primarily fund tourism marketing because that funding goal could have been achieved without a tax increase through growth and reorganization. We now find that if we exclude the approved TRT revenue increases since June 1, 2014, that 75 percent of that marketing goal is now met annually through growth alone. If the reorganization had occurred, the tax increase would have been entirely unnecessary!
The city also receives a share of TRT revenue. The city's 2014-2015 share of $4.1 million has risen more than 18 percent for each of the last two years, exclusive of the TRT increase. It is difficult for citizens to know the details of the city budget. There already are dedicated funds for streets. It is your property taxes, as well as the state fuel tax and other sources. It is up to the city to allocate these funds. The property taxes that you pay to fund police, fire, streets and some community initiatives have increased over six percent per year for the last two years and have exceeded city forecasts. Though state law limits the tax increase on existing property to three percent per year, the thousands of new properties that have been developed or are under development continue to bring steep increases to the total property tax collection. Although Bend has a relatively low base property tax rate, this is overcome by the high rate of growth.
The problem then is not a shortage of funds for streets, but how to distribute these increasing funds for all public works. Streets take a lower priority to other public service functions, perhaps partially at least, because there is the expectation that an additional dedicated tax could be levied for streets, but not for police or fire. For this budget cycle, police and fire received increases of six percent and 13 percent respectively, both above the rate of inflation. The city is also hiring 37 new employees this budget cycle.
If you look carefully at the Transportation Operations Budget, you will see that the increments received by Transportation Ops – "Support services" and "Personnel" have risen significantly much more than the increment received by "Street preservation." Why is this so?
Finally, the city decided to gamble on spending an additional $70,000 to hold a special fuel tax election to possibly capture the summer tourist fuel tax revenue stream, if approved. But why did the city decide to delay a guaranteed revenue stream from the implementation of the revised water services rate increase? Yes, many tourists visit Bend, but city data shows that residents would supply the large majority of the tax as residents account for 80 percent of the city use days. City tax receipts are growing steadily and are available to fund public services if properly allocated. However, the incomes of many taxpayers are shrinking. Do your research and if you agree that city revenues and expenses should not increase more than your income, then vote no and ask the council to rework this issue.
In Reply to "Tree Ordinance Needed" (2/25)
"What is most disturbing is that—as a neighbor—one is not notified that the trees are coming down. No proposed-action signage is necessary. You just hear the chain saws and then within four or five hours the neighborhood is changed forever."
Not your trees. They are the property of the landowner of the plot on which they stand. What those private property owners do with their possessions is none of your business.
~Jon Jegglie via BendSource.com
Troy Laundry Field
I'm not sure I remember this correctly, but my dad talked about the Troy Laundry Field as a gift to the school district to be used as a park. There was a big fight over the kids from St. Francis using the field to play on since it belonged to the school district. While it was owned by the school district, it was to be used as a public park, hence there was no problem with the St. Francis kids playing on the field. Small town politics in the '50s. The manager of the laundry, Marion Cady, became the Chamber of Commerce director. I'm thinking mid-1950s.
~Bob Cannon via BendSource.com