Council refers parks, water measures to Nov. 3 ballot
The City Council referred two measures to the Nov. 3 general election ballot on Thursday, July 23, and will consider another next week.
The measures are a five-year, $240 million Portland Parks & Recreation operating levy and a City Charter amendment to allow public uses of Portland Water Bureau properties.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is in charge of the parks bureau, said parks facilities and programs may not reopen next year without additional funding because of revenue shortfalls caused by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
If approved, the new property tax would levy 80 cents per $1,000 of assessed value and is estimated to cost the owner of a median residential home, assessed at $190,000, about $150 per year.
The charter amendment would allow water bureau properties outside of the Bull Run Watershed to be used for community gardens, park benches and other amenities. Water ratepayer funds could pay for the uses, although there are no cost estimates for any future projects yet.
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty also has announced she will ask the council next Wednesday to refer a new police oversight program to the November ballot. Details have yet to be released.
Several other measures already have been planned or referred to the general election ballot. They include: Metro's $5 billion regional transportation funding measure to be financed by a new .75% payroll tax on businesses with more than 25 employees; a Portland Public Schools $1.4 billion property tax-funded construction bond; and a Multnomah County $260 million-a-year universal pre-school program funding by income taxes on higher-earning singles and couples.
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