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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Clackamas politicians dreaming of new taxes and fees

A reader in Lake Oswego wrote us yesterday with this report:

I typically fall asleep during the televised LO Council meetings, but last night I woke up just in time to catch the discussion of Clackamas County's recent appeal to local jurisdictions to enter into joint funding strategies for transportation projects. The issue was presented to the cities at the Clackamas County Coordinating Council (C4) in April. (See minutes here.)

Cam Gordon, county director of transportation and development, and Dierdre Landon, policy analyst, briefed the council on local transportation funding options, including a vehicle registration fee (VRF), a property tax (levy or road district) and countywide system development charges. An interactive spreadsheet was provided for cities to generate funding scenarios. The user can "determine revenue generation potential of various funding scenarios for the county and cities." C4 members were asked to submit draft funding scenarios to the county who would calculate the revenue generation of each scenario.

I was pleased to see that [Wilsonville] Mayor Tim Knapp objected to the process: "Mayor Tim Knapp referred to the recent Clackamas County community survey results, which indicate substantial community opposition to various transportation funding options, including the VRF, countywide gas tax and dedicated taxing district. [Happy Valley] Mayor Lori DeRemer noted that education is key to overcoming opposition."

During the LO Council meeting last night, one funding scenario was presented and discussed. It included a $20 per car VRF plus a $0.25 property tax levy which would yield about $16,116,510 gross. Each city would get 55% of the money that was contributed from their jurisdiction. The county would receive $7.25M of this and the cities would split $8.86M. Lake Oswego's share would be $1.72M. Unfortunately for LO, not enough to fulfill their capital projects (more urban renewal), but not something they would turn down. In fact, Mayor Hoffman suggested there were other ways to tax or otherwise raise fees for transportation use in the city. Sweet.

So in case anyone was wondering where money would come from for the "placeholder" in the Clackamas County budget for the Portland-Milwaukie light rail, maybe more taxes and fees are in the offing

Rebels, grab your pitchforks.

Comments (7)

Mayhem is approaching.

Even though the county has a projected general fund gap of 4.5 million by 2015 they are planning on gutting public safety for light rail.

No media has picked that up yet.

In the face of such malfeasance the county has also been talking about a possible child safety levy in November.

Pitch forks, tar, feathers, recalls.

[Happy Valley] Mayor Lori DeRemer noted that education is key to overcoming opposition.

In other words, more PR and spin.

People who aren't in favor of higher taxes just need to be re-educated!

Spoken like a true follower of Mao. Maybe they'll go ahead and set up re-education camps for everyone who is ignorant enough to vote no on tax measures.

This is a typical respons of elitist politicians. "if you don't agree with me it is because you are too stupid to understand how great and wonderful my ideas are".

Liberals seem to have this attitude in spades.

Clackamas voters just passed a public safety property tax measure last November by a wide margin.

That tax was endorsed by Clackamas GOP, tea party groups, every candidate for public office - there was practically no opposition to it because it's clear purpose was to maintain the funding priority of the County Sheriff's Office.

If the County Commissioners had been upfront with their intent to use the public safety measure as a means to make light rail payments out of the general fund - the measure would have drawn opposition (and possibly failed).

There is no way a county VRF could pass if there was even the slightest inkling that it would be used to fund light rail.

Unless the County Commissioners correct course soon on light rail, the stink from this funding fiasco will hang around for years and stop the passage of any county tax or fee measures.

Unfortunately, our esteemed legislature gave the 3 largest counties the authority to impose VRFs without a vote of the people starting in 2914, while all other counties in the state need to get voter approval. How convenient is that? And why is the state legislature doing the tri-county area this favor, or should I say, trashing only our rights to have a say in how our counties raise revenue. I think it's about time to stop local governments from making huge fiscal and planning decisions on their own with no voter input. The politicians are becoming tyrants!

DeRemer? Pronounced to rhyme with The Reamer? How unfortunate.

Hoffman and increased taxes/fees on L.O. residents? No Problemo Amego! That clown will support any increase in any tax so long as it furthers his agenda of higher density and the Portlandification of L.O. not to mention all the legacy building scams. With Hoffman and his ilk, Lake Oswego is quicky turning into a good place to be from.

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