|Volume 4, Issue 10||
VOTE November 7, 2006
A number of taxation
measures are appearing on the ballot for the November 7 election.
While few people enjoy sending money off for taxes, we know that
they’re necessary to create the quality of life that we enjoy in our
valley. For our region to remain competitive, we need great schools.
And we need clean drinking water and open spaces for mental and physical
health. Public safety spending is in everyone’s interest. And what
would Cedar Mill be without our wonderful library? The Cedar Mill News urges
you to vote YES on all these measures. Taken all together, they will add
about $150 to the tax bill of the average homeowner. One latté a week?
We think it’s
By Virginia Bruce, editor
In 1995, voters in the region approved Measure 26-26, a $136 million bond measure devoted to the acquisition of open spaces, parks and stream front properties to preserve as natural areas for current and future generations to enjoy. That effort has exceeded expectations. Working in partnership with local parks providers, cities, counties, conservation organizations and other community leaders, more than 8,000 acres and nearly 74 miles of stream and river frontage have been purchased and preserved as natural areas. In addition, $25 million of the bond funds were distributed directly to each jurisdiction in the region for the completion of more than 100 land acquisitions or capital improvement projects.
Continued growth in the region requires the acquisition of additional natural areas in order to protect fish and wildlife habitat, enhance water quality, preserve farm and forest land, and provide educational and recreational opportunities in natural areas.
A blue-ribbon committee of 18 business leaders, public officials, and citizen advocates advised the Metro Council on the size and scope of the Bond Measure. Their recommendations included establishing the total measure at $220 million.
20% of the funding will be set aside for local park providers and distributed on a per capita basis for acquisition of natural areas, wildlife and trail corridors, and neighborhood parks, as well as for capital improvement projects that can include restoration or enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat, improvement of public access to existing natural areas, development of public use facilities, design and development of trails, and development of environmental education facilities such as nature centers and interpretive displays.
5% of the funding will be dedicated to an opportunity grant program whereby local groups and entities can identify local conservation projects and apply for funding.
The remaining 75% of the funding will be used by Metro to acquire, from willing sellers, regionally significant river and stream corridors, headwaters, wildlife areas, and other natural areas and trail corridors to hold in public trust. These areas were identified by leading ecological experts working with Metro staff. A citizen advisory group would oversee spending, and annual audits would be published.
Jordan/Husen Park – develop visitor facilities: about three years ago, the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District (THPRD) board approved a master plan for the improvement of this natural-area park in Cedar Mill. Plans included a trail that would stretch from Husen Park on Reeves through Jordan Park and into the neighborhoods to the north. Also included was a playground and picnic area in Husen Park. If the Metro measure passes, funds would become available to do the planning for this work and to build the playground. Park Planner Steve Gulgren notes that the district doesn’t yet own all the property needed to complete the trail, and possibly some of the funding could include this acquisition. A hopeful phase one funding amount would be between $250,000-500,000.
All the streams in Cedar Mill are part of the Rock Creek Watershed. Scientists have identified protection of the upper Rock Creek Watershed as a high priority for meeting water quality protection goals in the Tualatin River. Opportunities to improve and protect habitat also exist through the protection of key tributaries, like Abbey Creek, and their associated wetlands and floodplains.
By Bruce Bartlett
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s operational goal is for firefighters/paramedics to reach 90% of emergency calls within 6 minutes of being dispatched. The goal is based on the speed at which fire can spread and medical emergencies can worsen. Over the past 10 years, call volume has increased over 60% in TVF&R’s 210 square mile service area, with emergency medical incidents constituting the largest percentage of emergency response, approximately 62 calls a day.
In an effort to keep pace with the growing demands and continue to provide the level of service the community expects, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s Board of Directors has decided to place a $77.5 general obligation bond on the November ballot. If approved, the bond will be repayable over 20 years and would fund the safety improvements to stations, new facilities, and replacement apparatus listed below.
In the first two years, the anticipated tax rate would be .07 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. In 2009, as more construction projects begin and the remaining bonds are borrowed, the tax rate is expected to increase to its maximum of .15 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. By 2013, the individual tax rate is expected to decline slightly as new residents and businesses share the fixed annual cost of TVF&R’s bond payment. This decline is expected to continue through 2026.
The Bond provides for:
The Board of County Commissioners has asked Washington County voters to consider two levies at the general election this November. These two proposed levies would provide funding for:
This measure would maintain current services at 12 local libraries throughout Washington County, including libraries in Banks, Beaverton, Cedar Mill, Cornelius, Forest Grove, Garden Home, Hillsboro, North Plains, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin and West Slope. Levy passage would avoid likely additional reductions in hours, book purchases and programs and would restore open hours at some libraries. The levy would also provide annual summer reading programs serving some 17,000 children each year as well as provide literacy programs for preschoolers to increase reading readiness. The library levy proposes a fixed rate of 17 cents per $1,000 assessed value for four years, or an increase of roughly $33 in 2007-2008 for a home with an average assessed value (not market value) of $192,000.
This measure would continue public safety services approved by voters in 2000 to combat crimes such as homicide, domestic violence, crimes affecting children, property and methamphetamine crimes. The levy would provide funds to operate the County jail and work release center at full capacity, minimizing the early release of offenders. The levy would pay for special enforcement teams, prosecutors, probation and parole officers, juvenile counselors and other public safety personnel serving all areas of the county. Finally, the levy would provide victims’ assistance and emergency shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Because the County has determined it can provide roughly the same services at a lower tax rate, the public safety levy is proposed at 42 cents per $1,000 assessed value, 1¢ per $1,000 less than voters approved in 2000. Owners of a home with an average assessed value (not market value) of $192,000 would pay $81 in property taxes for this levy in 2007-2008.
Please take time to review the materials provided here and in the voters’ pamphlet this fall, and be sure to exercise your right to vote. If you have any questions, please call the Washington County Administrative Office at (503) 846-8685 or visit the County’s Web site at www.co.washington.or.us/levies.
By Michele Fricke
The Capital Bond Measure 34-139 is urgently needed to relieve overcrowding due to population growth, protect the quality of our children’s education and make critical repairs.
The state school funding formula is the mechanism that determines the amount of tax dollars allocated to each school district to pay for the operations such as teachers and materials. Major construction needs must be met at the local level through capital bond measure requests to voters.
Last month, one proposed elementary school plan was highlighted in this publication (the new elementary school on McDaniel). Currently, 19 out of 31 elementary schools have enrollment near or over 100%, and 4 out of 5 of the district’s comprehensive high schools are operating over 105% capacity.
Voting YES on this Capital Construction Bond Measure 34-139 will enable the district to address new capacity construction that includes 2 new elementary schools, 2 options high schools and over 135 classrooms; renovations of existing space for more effective learning environments, land acquisition for a future high school, and physical facility improvements such as heating, ventilation, and roofing.
“We have great schools. But this overcrowding has a direct impact on the quality of education our children receive.” says Pricilla Turner, Chair of the Beaveton School Board. “Crowded classrooms mean that rooms are serving more kids than they are designed to hold. The need is urgent,” she adds. “We have more than 200 portable classrooms that strain the infrastructure of the schools they are parked around.”
The bond measure will cost the property taxpayer in the Beaverton School District an estimated average of 51 cents per $1000 of assessed value per year during the life of the bonds. That amounts to an estimated $127.50 per year or $10.63 per month on a $250,000 home.
For more information and to learn ways to help the Campaign to Vote Yes, log on to www.GiveRoomToLearn.com. Another great resource is the Beaverton School District’s web site at www.beaverton.k12.or.us.
Remember to vote on November 7 to Give Room to Learn for our Beaverton students!
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