Tigard continues discussion of local option levy
Asking Tigard residents to approve a proposed local option levy is a measure that could reach voters' mailboxes this spring.
At issue is whether citizens would be in favor of approving a levy that could potentially range from $1 to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
A Tigard Levy and Bond Advisory Task Force set up to examine the issue has previously said that such a taxing measure should be sent to voters to not only maintain city services but to improve them, having said a rate of $1.25 to $1.50 per $1,000 would be its preference.
That task force was back to discuss the issue at the Dec. 12 meeting of the Tigard City Council.
Eric Zimmerman, Tigard's assistant city manager, said the rate of $1 per $1,000 over five years would only result in maintaining current services.
That amount would add an extra $252 annually on the average homeowner's property bill, city officials have said.
However, raising that amount to $1.50 per $1,000 would mean improvements to city services, Zimmerman said.
At the Dec. 12 meeting, each of the levy and bond committee members weighed in regarding their thoughts on the levy.
Darlene Dick, co-chairwoman of the levy group, told council members that the higher levy amounts would add to police services, maintenance and cleanup of parks, along with adding sidewalks and paths around the city. Dick said she often uses the parks and supports the parks; she's recently noticed condoms, human waste and beer bottles near a play structure.
"That was really my big 'aha' moment about safety for everyone," she said.
Mayor John Cook later said plans are to continue discussion on levy plans during a January meeting. If the council agrees, Cook said his preference would be to approach voters with the measure in May 2018.
Regarding the possible amount sent to residents for their consideration, Cook said: "I want to know how much it affects the average Tigard household."
Cook said the city has never sought a local option levy.
Part of the push would be to improve public safety by increasing officers and reducing their response times, he said.
Still, he said public safety means different things to different people, including such things as installing lights on park trails and providing sidewalks for children to walk on.
When polling residents on what types of public safety they are interested in, Cook said, "It meant a heck of a lot more than (simply adding) a police officer."