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City Wasted Its Surplus 

Letter to the editor.

It comes as no surprise to me that Bend's real estate taxes have gone up, even in these extremely difficult times. Deschutes County has the highest foreclosure rate in Oregon. Many homes that can't be sold are sitting vacant with untended yards, causing an even bigger decline in neighborhood property values. A very large number of commercial buildings are also vacant. Judging by the signs in front of these properties, their owners are desperate for someone to take these properties off their hands. It's obvious that Bend is dying on the vine, which makes it a lot less attractive to potential buyers, resulting in less sales and even bigger decreases in property values. What is our local government doing to help Bend get back on its feet? Why, raise taxes of course!

Approximately 10 percent of taxpayers couldn't afford to make last year's real estate taxes. So what does the government do? Raise the taxes even higher this year. Yet another raise in taxes means that this year there will probably be another 10 percent or more who will be unable to pay their taxes. That'll sure help us taxpayers out and help Bend get back on its feet!

There is another solution to a budget shortfall... economize and eliminate wasteful spending. We're frequently told there isn't enough money for basic services such as fire and police protection, schools, etc., yet there was enough money in the coffers for Bend to give a fire truck to a city in Nicaragua. Our truck was being replaced by a newer model, so it was just given away. That truck could have been sold, and the proceeds used to help defray the cost of the new truck. Additionally, just how much did it cost to ship that truck to Nicaragua? I could go on and on with examples of wasteful spending, the BAT buses and Juniper Ridge fiasco come to mind first.

If our city council won't economize and eliminate waste (as we taxpayers are forced to do) we have one solution: VOTE!

I, for one, am going to vote "No" on any ballot measure that costs money. I urge others to do the same, and let the city council know it isn't going to get any more money to waste. Let them know they'll be voted out of office if they don't get the message.

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