for April 25, 2014

The math on levy doesn’t make sense

I support the measure for fire, police and parks, but I don’t feel the Gresham residents are getting all the facts.

In the Gresham Outlook on Friday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 22, there were several pro and con opinions to the levy, which appers on the May ballot.

In the article on Page A1 (“Gresham residents asked to OK tax measure,” April 22), it states that our current rate of $7.50 per month raises $90 per year per household, and $5 million per year citywide.

The proposed levy would average about $114 for the average single-family home per year, or about $5.4 million per year. This is an increase of $24 per year or an increase of 26.6 percent, which normally can be handled by fixed income residents.

However, the new rate will be $1.25 per $1,000 of taxable assess value of property.

On a home with $170,000 taxable assess value, the cost of this levy comes to $212.50 per year, or $17.70 per month. This is an annual increase of $122.50 or 136.1 percent.

How is Gresham getting the average of $114.00 per single-family home? Do those living in apartments pay this increase since they also use the services? Are homeowners paying for everyone thus lowering the average to $114.00?

I feel that these questions need to be addressed if you expect to get 26-157 passed.

John Drynan, Gresham

Dear Oregonian: I’ll miss you, but not much

For years I have been a faithful newspaper reader. I loved the Oregonian when we moved here. But you did what no one else could do. You pretty much killed my love of the daily paper.

First, you quit delivering the paper every day. For the first time in my adult life, I got out of the habit of reading the paper every day.

I tried the app, but you can’t share an app at the breakfast table. And I just never remembered to look at my tablet because I plug it in every morning.

To give you credit, the price did go down. But that didn’t change the simple fact that reading the Oregonian was no longer a habit.

Second, you changed the size and it’s an ugly mess now. The sections are in a different place everyday (on those days we actually get it.)

The size is awkward — too big to hold open and too small and uncomfortable to fold. And those staples — the only clue about where the sections are — keep me from folding the paper open and often are misplaced to keep me from seeing the end of the lines.

The coup de gras: You raised the price.

The man who answered my call about canceling the paper told me I was wrong, that the price hadn’t gone up; actually, he yelled it over my explanation and I hung up on him. Whatever.

The price on my bill went back up almost to the price of

the paper before the changes. Either the price went up or you are too incompetent to produce a bill that is accurate and clear.

So, I will miss you, but not the current Oregonian. I’ll just miss my old daily paper, the well written one, the readable one, the one with the meaningful, intelligent stories.

Fortunately, there is still the Gresham newspaper, reasonably well written and with stories that are actually more relevant to me.

Gail Johnson, Gresham

Where do you get your numbers?

I do not know where your figures come from for the new Gresham tax, but $114 would put the average house in Gresham at $91,000.

I am on Social Security and mine would be $450 a year.

Gary Clark, Gresham

City won’t make cuts to public safety services

Measure 26-157 is about how public safety services will be funded, not if they will be funded.

The Outlook’s opinion article and the accompanying letters to the editor assert that Gresham’s public safety services will be negatively impacted if this measure is rejected by the voters.

In fact, these essential services will remain at approximately the same level regardless of how you vote.

If the levy is rejected the existing monthly fee will be re-enacted, at a somewhat higher rate, according to a contingency plan already discussed at a council meeting.

If the fee remains in effect the cost will continue to be born with reasonable uniformity among most types of housing.

On the other hand if measure 26-157 is successful, the majority of the burden will shift to the owners of single family residences.

To me the real question is why the mayor and council, along with other supporters of this measure feel this is either fair or equitable?

It is allowing the proliferation of low cost rental units that is the primary cause of this funding problem.

Advisory committee members have been trying for more than a decade to impress on the mayor and council that unless they adopted a realistic balanced growth strategy revenue would not be able to keep up with the demands for critical services.

In 2002 the Planning Commission concluded in a memo, resulting from a round table discussion that, “A Balanced Growth Policy would be based on the principle that the primary responsibility of government is to provide for the health and safety of its citizens. This would require regulating growth so that the average of tax revenue generated by various classes of new improvements (i.e. industrial, commercial, single family and multi-family residences) would be sufficient to maintain acceptable levels of essential services.”

The reasonable way to address this issue, at this time, would be to continue to impose a fee in the hope that our city government will address the cause of the problem and not continue to treat the symptoms with unreasonable tax proposals.

Richard Ehr, Gresham

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