Forest Grovers pass funding for fire, police, parks and library
Forest Grovers appear to have voted in favor of funding for their fire fighters, police officers, parks and library services.
According to results released by the Secretary of State's Office Tuesday night, 60 percent of ballots were cast in favor of increasing property taxes to fund the city services.
"I feel very good about it. I think it's an indication that people of Forest Grove took a deep breath and said it's worth it. City staff have done their homework and we're moving forward," Mayor Pete Truax said after the initial results were released.
Currently, residents pay a levy of $1.60 per $1,000 of assessed home value which expires in June 2023. The measure would increase the levy to $1.95 per $1,000 of assessed value. A homeowner with an average assessed value of $233,550 would pay an additional $82 per year, according to a city estimation. The new levy would contribute over $4 million per year, or about 14% of the city's general fund. Around 80% of the revenue goes to the city's fire and police departments, while the rest goes to parks and the library.
Results released Tuesday night counted 3,677 ballots. In the 2020 election, which included Biden, Trump and city council candidates, over 25,000 voters cast ballots in Forest Grove.
City councilors and Mayor Truax were in a budget meeting Tuesday when the first results were released. Council President Malynda Wenzl said over the phone she was excited the funding would be used to create a new recreation coordinator position in the parks department.
"I'm thankful the voters trust the city and want to invest in increasing its livability. Beyond public safety and fire, this allows us to start building out our recreation branch," said Wenzl, a teacher at Neil Armstrong Middle School. "I first ran on investing in recreation opportunities eight years ago. Government runs slow sometimes, but when it finally comes around, it feels really, really good."
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