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Let's demand city sell property for light-rail debt

If any of you taxpayers who live in Milwaukie want to find out how you are getting “shafted,” read Jean Baker’s Community Soapbox in the Feb. 26 edition of this newspaper.

This is one of the finest opinion articles about “happenings” around us that I have ever seen. The only thing that Jean Baker forgot was how to go about fixing these problems.

When I ran for one of Milwaukie’s City Council positions last fall, I was asked what I thought of a $4 million bond measure to pay for our share of the light-rail incursion. I said, “It looks like there’s no other solution.”

WRONG!

After thinking about that problemo and other possible ways to solve it, I yelled: “Eureka!” This followed: I asked for and got a copy of all the properties that the city owns. The total appraised value is more than $31 million.

Now, if the city “fathers” can’t find a paltry $4 million in property to sell and put back on the tax rolls, plus pay same to light rail, then there is something terribly wrong — somewhere.

This would save all us taxpayers a lot of money again and again every year to pay for a bond, plus all the interest money (meaning our taxes won’t go up). YIPPEE!

Rumor has it if the bond passes, the city will take over half a million of that money and buy more property to expand the Public Works facility on Johnson Creek Boulevard. If that happens, then that property goes OFF the tax rolls.

Do you think that you will next be asked by the city to pay more taxes to make up for that lost revenue (from light rail) to keep police, etc., at current levels? Hmm... I’m sure our city manager is going to say we have to let most of the police go if the bond measure fails. My suggestion is: Let them ALL go and subcontract their services to private companies that will undoubtedly do a better job for two thirds of what it cost us now.

If you think the cheap ticket costs to ride light rail will ever pay for the unbelievable electric bill (plus train/track maintenance) to run the trains every day, guess again. We lose again — someone is going to pay those bills — GUESS WHO?

One thing you can do is vote NO on the bond measure in May and demand that the city sell off $4 million of its property to private businesses or people, thereby putting that property back on the tax rolls, so we don’t have to shell out a bundle of bucks to pay off the bond measure.

My suggestion is to change how we run things in our little Garden of Eden.

1. Get rid of the mayor and city councilors. If they get into office and don’t do what folks expect, they can do a lot of damage to our pocketbooks during four-year terms — Examples: Water-bill increases and baseball-stadium fiasco.

2. Only hire a city manager if he or she is responsible to our seven neighborhood associations and their local problems. That way we can fire the city manager if he or she is not doing what neighborhood folks want. That way the city manager is very close to each association and can solve any problems immediately without talking forever about any problems like the council does now.

The light rail that is almost here is not going to bring us any prosperity and will only bring us problems and expenses. I hope you dumb idiots who never vote wake up and vote NO-NO-NO on the bond measure. Then our supposed leaders will understand that their raising our taxes every damn year is coming to an end.

Richard Cayo is a resident of Milwaukie.



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