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Thursday, June 10, 2010

More sewer bill shenanigans in Portland

This time it's "for the children" -- the City of Portland is allowing sewer customers to send some of their sewer bills to the public schools. It's supposed to help the schools pay for their hazardous drainage ditches bioswales and the like, but let's face it: Every dollar that some do-gooder checks off for the schools is a dollar that somebody else is going to have to pay to maintain, repair, and update the sewers that everybody uses.

Portland's fun and games with sewer and water revenues just get sillier and sillier. We're not all that far from this, really.

I'm more convinced than ever that there's a Measure 5 violation in here somewhere.

UPDATE. 12:52 p.m.: Hold your horses! It appears that the school donations will be an add-on to customers' bills, not a check-off of their existing sewer bill amounts.

Comments (6)

It's becoming painfully apparent that this is one of the only sources of money that they can jack up. They'll try to use it to pay for everything until the voters finally notice. But that takes a long long time in Portland.

Attorney General Kroger should issue a SCAM ALERT!

You see, the city builds the bioswales and the city maintains them. There is one right in front of our school. Once every couple of weeks someone from the city pulls the weeds and check the plants. In the summer, the city actually waters the plants. (We water the plants that are supposed deal with problems of too much water.)

Notice I said the CITY. The schools don't do a gosh darn thing with those bioswales. As far as I know PPS does not pay a penny for those bioswales.

SCAM ALERT! Money that you think is "for the children" is actually going straight to the water/sewer bureau. It does not add or save a penny of the schools' money. (And if it did, the legislature reduces the money it sends to PPS, but that is a story for another day.)

I give the scam one year before those voluntary contributions are highjacked to "jump start" one of Sam's special projects.

anyone who wants a determination or to challenge this review ORS 305.580 for info on how to

There are also precedent setting suits on this matter

An appeal must be made in a timely fashion, so act now.

If an ad valorem tax it requires signatures from impacted citizens

I have a bad feeling the Autonomous Oblast of Portland is pulling most of the strings in Salem these days, or at least it certainly appears that way.

And about these bio-swales, which will raise the water tables and flood people's basements (brilliant! - homeowner's will have an incentive to sell at an undercut price to a developer!), and will create more congestion in the streets and byways...

Won't pets and animals defecate in them like a giant catbox? Who's going to clean them out?

And speaking of encouraging property turnover to developers, I know radon is dangerous in certain areas, but anyone else remember the big radon gas scare all over town in the early '90's where most of Portland was supposed to be dangerous to live in?

I'd like to point out this is a customer donation - not more money taken from the BES budget. Here's a link to the document:

Not sure we can gin up the outrage machine too much on this one. It sounds like an optional donation ratepayers can make (or not) over and above their actual bill, just like you can donate a dollar to the presidential campaign fund on your 1040 if you want.

I doubt it will ever help much. Those rain garden retrofits can get pretty expensive, and probably only a small handful of ratepayers will ever opt to donate -- most are pi**ed about the high sewer bill and aren't going to want to give one dime more.

This seems more like a sop from Saltzman to keep his "for the children" reputation burnished. And as far as empty gestures go, this one seems pretty benign. Unless, of course, we learn Sam uses the funds to add three rain garden advisers to his staff . . .

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