Evening session at Community Auditorium Oct. 18 will give citizens an opportunity to ask questions

Attention Forest Grove residents — Did you know there's a big vote for you on the Nov. 7 ballot?

The News-Times and the Forest Grove/Cornelius Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsoring a public forum on the city's request for residents to renew its local option levy, which is set to expire June 30.

If passed, the levy would raise $2.4 million yearly, about 80 percent of which would help fund police, fire and emergency medical services. The rest would help fund parks, aquatics and library services.

The renewed levy would run for five years, starting next July 1.

The current levy rate of $1.60 per $1,000 of assessed property value was first passed in May 2012 with 61 percent of the vote. City officials initially considered raising the rate this time to $1.95 but backed off after a poll indicated the higher rate would not get enough support to pass.

In addition, a new method of predicting city finances five years into the future — based on historical averages for revenue and spending — indicated the levy amount could remain the same without creating a budget deficit.

In cooperation with the city of Forest Grove, the forum will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the Community Auditorium, 1915 Main St.

City officials — including Administrative Services Director Paul Downey, City Manager Jesse VanderZanden, Police Chief Janie Schutz, Fire Chief Michael Kinkade, Parks and Recreation Director Tom Gamble, Library Director Colleen Winters and Mayor Pete Truax — will all be on hand to explain the levy and answer questions.

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