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Sweet Home, Oregon
October 31, 2012     The New Era Paper
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October 31, 2012

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October 31,2012 VouR CO/ tMUNITV Page 7 eague From page 1 over the past five years, Fick said. Rainy day funds are down 16 per- cent. Some 42 percent of cities re- port being less able to address their financialneeds this year, and nearly half of cities believe that their city will be even less able to meet fi- nancial needs next year. Forty-nine cities saw property tax revenues de- cline in the 2011-12 fiscal year. Cities have employed a num- ber of different strategies to bal- ance budgets, cutting road main- tenance, reduced staff, spending on operations and infrastructure and required employees to pick up more of their health care costs, he said. In some cases, cities have cut public safety. The LOC Board of Directors has made revenue reform a long- term priority, working toward re- forms of Measure 5 and Measure 50, Fick said. Measure 5, passed by voters in 1990, capped property taxes for all general governments, including cit- ies, counties and special districts, at $10 per $1,000 of real market value and schools at $5 per $1,000 of real market value. The maximum tax on a prop- erty valued at $300,000 is $3,000 for general government and $1,500 for schools. Measure 50, passed by voters in 1997, created a new assessed valueby subtracting 10 percent from the 1995-96 fiscal year real market values. It capped the annual grow.th of assessed value at 3 per- cent. It set permanent tax rates for all taxing districts and shortened the maximum length of a local op- tion levy from 10 years to five. Local option levies fund the Sweet Home Police Department, the Public Library and Linn County law enforcement services. A School District 55 local option levy pays for the operation of the swimming pool. Assessed values increase more slowly than real market values, which increased considerably with the housing bubble, he said. As- sessors calculate taxes using the Measure 50 system and then check them against the Measure Five lim- itations. This process creates compres- sion, which occurs when the value of property taxes on an individual property, based on assessed value, is greater than $10 for general gov- ernment or $5 for schools when compared to real market value. Half of all cities are in compres- sion, and lost revenue is increasing dramatically, he said. Cities have seen it increase 161 percent over the last four years. Local option levies are com- pressed first, all the way to zero, before permanent rates are com- pressed, Fick said. "That means that local voters that approve additional taxes on themselves often can't re- ceive the services they support." Overlapping jurisdictions can have a detrimental effect on other governments, he said. Sweet Home illustrates the problem. Sweet Home has a permanent rate of $1.42 per $1,000. Voters last renewed local option levies for police and fire services in 2010. The library's rate increased by 20 cents. In 2011, Linn County renewed its local option levy for law en- forcement. Along with declining real. mar- ket values, the county levy increased compression from from $300,000 a few years ago to $824,000 last year. "As a result, the police and li- brary services the voters voted to support will not be provided at the same levels," Fick said. The prob- lem isn't confined to Sweet Home. A change in the 9-1-1 rate in De- schutes County would increase compression in Redmond. A library district would increase compres- sion in Portland. Albany increased its local option levy rate in 2012, increasing compression on Linn County. Voters may support local op- tion levies they don't have to pay, Fick said. In Portland, a third of property owners don't pay the full cost of a countywide local option levy, and another quarter don't pay anything at all. Measure 50 bases assessed values on 1995-96 real market val- ues, Fick said. As a result many properties don't paytheir fair share for services. In Portland, two similar neigh- borhoods hold different assessed values while sharing similar real market values, resulting in property owners in one neighborhood pay- ing substantially more in taxes. The real market value of the homes in one area runs between $250,000 to as high as $380,000, while assessed values are $73,000 to $82,000, with tax bills of $1,150 to $1,800. In the other area, real mar- ket values run from $270,000 to $311,000, while assessed values range from about $214,000 to $252,000. Property tax bills there are more than $4,000 per year. This problem isn't confined to Portland, Fick said. It appears in cities of all sizes. Oregon is unique in that its as- sessed values are not recalibrated when a property is sold, Fick said. The LOC is pushing for two reforms to the property tax system to address these problems, Fick said. "First, we believe local voters should be empowered to pass local option levies outside of compres- sion and for a'maximum length of 10 years. "Second, we believe property taxes should be reset to market val- ue when a property is sold or recon- structed. The sale of a property is both a market-driven determination of its worth and an owners ability to pay their fair share." Voters across the state support local option levies, Fick said. Since 1997, 45 cities have passed local option levies, and 34 have passed them more than once. Sixteen counties have passed local option levies. The benefits of the two mea- sures the LOC proposes are numer- ous. Fick said. First. it empowers local voters to pass local levies out- side of compression for the services they want. "Second, it can reduce the un- intended consequences, where the desires of additional services in one community can detrimentally harm the services provided in another," Fick said. Third, the measures im- prove the fairness of the system by recalibrating values, requiring all property owners to contribute to a levy passed in their communities. "Neither of these two mea- sures will increase anyone's taxes," Fick said. The video may be viewed at or- cities.org by clicking on the "Legis- lative" link and scrolling down to "New LOC Videos" and "Oregon's Property Tax System." The council took no action re- lated to the video or the LOC legis- lative concepts. Present at the meeting were councilors Marybeth Angulo, Jim Goufley, Greg Mahler, Scott Mc- Kee and Mayor Craig Fentiman. Absent were Ron Rodgers and Mike Hall. In other business, the council adopted an ordinance that will re- quire property owners to maintain their properties to specific criteria when they are considered vacant and blighted. Among the require- ments, the properties must be se- cured to prevent access. Boards used to secure the structure must be painted the same general color as the house. The council also appointed high school students Natasha Ben- son, freshman: Karson Rodgers, sophomore: and Nelson Rodgers, ilyGm ~onle from the kids menu | with each adult meal purchase I | Halloween Day & Night m I Limit:. 1kid/adult Ages 8 & under ] I Expires 10/31/12 | 6305 MAIN STREET | SWEET HOME,OR 97386 - (541) 367-1560 ~ mill m m m m m m m m m m II MUSHROOMI ONION MELTI MAKE IT A COMBO, INCLUDES FRIES & REG. DRINK l Expires11/30112 I Come have dinner, have a few laughs I and help our kids. SHPID will do the clean-up! I Friday, Nov. 9th I IS:OO-8:DO pm 1 The Point Restaurant will contribute a percentage of the "evening's take" | Sh:rU:gS~Pt aKindSstroOp~itm~ A~.th if:cdd.dj(::nE~kseU;an~:btrokgram, Teen / The Point Restaurant 6305 Hwy 20 | eservations suggested for groups of 6 or more: 541-367-1560,) m mm m n n mm .m wholesome I m breakfast m i any McCaf ......... . choices m I espresso I beverage ....... Valid only at Sweet Home, OR McDonald mNot valid with any other offer, dis ount, coupon or # mmeal. Limit one coupon per person per visit. Cash J J J valule la /20 oif i_ccent=ExiPi2s 1==1/2==2/12 i -- J'mJVimn'ijm |........... H I ............................................................. d Sweet Home ,4 l l ik ,"1,, I : (541) 367-5353/Ir . l k: l._ mlk eodedTm'op'o I !"m" -- 1,2) Main Street lmI SteakFries i t kll I e1 W W llllU w.h coopon I ', . "', i Gluten-Free Pmzza~%~ ~-i I " I (ComesinMediumOnly) = i cious & LOTTO FoNI imit3.Exp'es11/07/2012 Void with other offers. , L '"'" ' " =" "-"'1 2 0 7 L O N G S T R E E T * 5 4 1 - 3 6 7- 3 0 4 0 ..I ' rll& lt , Valid at participating Iocationsonty. / He Parents!!