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June 15, 2016

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Brian: Salem taxpayers are notoriously cheap. I while back I calculated the impact of the levy on my tax bill. The impact was large enough to really piss me off. I usually support levies, but this one is ridiculous for all the reasons you mentioned. Consider adding a point that shows the tax impact to some sample tax bills.

sue, yes, the tax bill issue is another thing to point out to voters. The way I understand it, is that the $82 million bond measure ($1 million of the $83 million police facility cost would be paid from Urban Renewal funds) would cost an owner of a $200,000 house about $108 more each year in taxes.

The City tax rate now is $1.01 per $1,000 assessed value. So currently an owner of a $200,000 house is paying $202 to pay off existing bonds. So $108 more is greater than a 50% increase.

But City officials are planning to raise the tax rate to $1.25 per $1,000 assessed value, which is about a 25% increase. The real cost of the police facility is still a 50% increase, but this would be spread out over time. As other bonds are paid off, instead of the tax rate going down, it would remain at $1.25 per $1,000.

Depending on one's point of view, this is either sneaky behavior on the part of City officials, or a good way to keep City taxes steady and predictable. Like I said, though, the cost to taxpayers is still $83 million, including bond financing costs, which should almost double the final cost (as with a home mortgage; you typically pay as much in interest over time as the loan amount was).

I think the city needs to be honest about the true cost of the bond. Add in the interest, fees, staff time and all other costs, then let the citizens decide. I heard Chuck Bennett say the Roads/Bridges bond will be paid off before the Police Station bond is sold. I checked, and the Roads/Bridges bond will not be fully paid off until 2018. . . So is the City just paying interest only on the Police bond until 2018, or will taxes increase because we will be paying off both bonds for a couple of years? I would like to know more about how Bennett could tell citizens there will be no increase in their property tax bills when the current bonds won't be paid off until 2018.

I like the "Salem Can Do Better" slogan. I believe we can do better, and should.

Nice anti-tax-and-spend article by my closet conservative friend, Brian!!
Thank you for your work.
Right on every point.
In November, I hope that you will (for once) ignore the suffix and vote for the candidate that best suits Oregon as you see it.
Bud Pierce Bud Pierce Bud Pierce Bud Pierce Bud Pierce
Go Bud!!!

Carole, the 2008 Streets and Bridges bonds will not be retired until 2028, not 2018. According to a recent City budget report, the next City bonds to be retired will be the Fire Station bonds that were approved in 2006. They will be retired six years from now in 2022. There have been three issuances of Streets and Bridges bonds, in 2009, 2012, and 2013. Those bonds will be retired in 2024, 2026, and 2028. And we should not forget that we are still paying off the huge school district bond measure approved in 2008 and a community college district bond approved in 2006. Everyone who pays property taxes should look at their bill and ask if they really want to take on more debt for an oversized and overpriced police facility.

Thank you Brian Hines! You are a great and invaluable citizen of Salem. Salem is so lucky you live here. I say this as a native-born Salemite, having lived here all but about 6 of my 66 years!

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