By Scott Unger • Of the News-Register • 

Berschauer 'stunned' at city's tax levy action

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Comments

tagup

According to the county website, none of the commissioners live in McMinnville. I fail to see how City of McMinnville tax/budget decisions are in the purview of the county commission. Blasting people in the press and sending an ineffective letter smells like poorly thought out politics to me.

CubFan

Completely agree with Lindsay Berschauer. The city leaders misled us. I have not spoken with ONE person who completely understood the financial implications of voting for the fire department levy. ALL were led to believe it would cost them an extra $.50 per thousand, with the city removing the complete former fire department allocation of $1.50. THEN they would ask voters IF and HOW to bring back none/any of that $1.50. The flawed survey didn’t give respondents a clear option for rejecting the $1.50. For the mayor to conclude that passage of the fire department levy indicated general consensus among voters that they were accepting the new fire department levy of $2.00 + the addition of the old levy of $1.50 is ludicrous. If the city is in a financial pickle, they should have just come clean with voters from the get-go, instead of playing the fancy footwork game. This most definitely should be placed on a ballot for general vote. Chris Chenoweth is the ONLY city leader with his finger on the pulse of the public. As Lindsay Berschauer stated: the city is being dishonest, and this shouldn’t sit well with anyone.

BigfootLives

I completely disagree with the evil 'Commissioner' on this one. She is way out of bounds. How could she be stunned? The city has been dishonest up to this point, and there was no indication that that was going to change.

Can the NR ask the city what fat was trimmed out of the budget before they decided to once again dig into our pockets? Or is everything that the city does vital to national security? Maybe some of the reserves some of the departments are carrying could be trimmed back to get us through these dark times. Reserves like the water treatment department carry, oh, never mind, we spent that on the RB Rubber factory to build the wine Disneyland. With this track record of financial decisions, what could go wrong?

Why doesn't the NR put the main story for this on the website and not just the e-version of the paper? There was a TON of comments on this topic a few days ago. Who makes these decisions? You want traffic to the website...? The same paying customer is seeing both versions. Let the clowns in the circus tent on 2nd Street read the comments.

BigfootLives

This will be on the ballot, and everyone besides Chenoweth needs to go.

Bleepbloop

I am absolutely for raising our taxes if it means better services. PLEASE figure out the community center / public pool. I will be happy to pay more for that.

Bleepbloop

And let me bet what the next comment will be: "Well you can pay my extra taxes then". Everyone should do their part. Buck up snowflakes (that goes for ultimate snowflake, commissioner B). If you can't afford it, move to Sheridan.

Grapevine

Berschauer claiming that she's been lied to. Ha! First, this issue has nothing to do with the County so stop the political gaming and get your own house in order. Second, Berschauer's own actions are pretty stunning (not in a good way) on a consistent basis. She's out of her league. Finally, Berschauer claiming that others are dishonest is the pot calling the kettle black. The Commissioners certainly do not understand the concept of building partnerships with those that they should be, i.e., The City of McMinnville and the State of Oregon. No leadership whatsoever. The dumpster fire continues......

madmacs

Just more theatre from Berschauer. I doubt very much that she bothered to delve into the issue further than the headline. At any rate none of the county commissioners live in Mac; we would be better served if they focus on doing their jobs instead of pontificating on matters outside their purview.

Grapevine

BTW, Berschauer and Starrett forward the notion that this should be put on the ballot. I suggest that the Yamhelas Trail also be put on the ballot. Lindsey and Mary, if it's good for one it's good for the other.

Bill B

Great idea Grapevine

bonnybedlam

We did vote on this. Anyone who read the entire ballot measure knew what the cost would be. I voted against it because the increase in property taxes was so extreme, but it passed so I'm paying without complaint. And unless it hasn't taken effect yet, I was wrong. My taxes didn't go up nearly as much as I'd feared. At this rate it's perfectly acceptable for the improved services promised. (I live so close to the existing fire station that it doesn't even affect me, I'm just against unwanted fire in general.)

Ossie Bladine

Main story on this from Friday's paper now posted. Apologies it didn't get activated yesterday during upload.
- Ossie Bladine, Editor

Mac Runner

Berschauer is lying. This is just their latest attempt to gin up false outrage so they can take over the city. The whole point of the creating a fire district was so the city would retain this taxing authority, That has been publicly discussed since Scott Hill was Mayor.

tagup

Hmmm… silly me! I thought the aim of the Fire Dist was more efficient & effective fire protection. I didn’t realize the goal was to free up tax dollars for the city budget.

Mac Runner

The fire district does provide more services. The rural district set a $2 tax rate to increase fire and ambulance staff and the city dropped its rate from around $5 to $3.50. But creating a new district meant the city could still use its full $5 taxing authority and for months we have been seeing fliers and materials asking people about plans to use that money first to start fixing buildings and improving things like the parks. So, I don’t think this is news to anyone.

The people who seem shocked are the usual handful who have nothing good to say about the city but live here because everything in the low tax towns outside of Mac is broken. Go spend $400 a month on water and double what we spend for electricity in Lafayette or Amity then come back and talk to me.

CJW

Hmmm...she'll be even more stunned when we vote her off the BOC. Yamhill County deserves better than her ilk.

tagup

Runner-
I think the confusion for me is how we went from deficit panic mode that required a service charge added to utility bills, to not needing the full levy amount and putting out a survey to figure out how to spend the additional ( $ 5mil?) fire levy money. So …when the full levy is added to tax bills in a year or two, will we still be paying the service charge for a long retired deficit? The idea of a service charge feels like an end run around voters to me.
On a side note, the incredible foresight shown by the Water & Light leadership in the 20’s and again in the 60’s to buy and manage the watershed timber holdings is a significant driver of the rates we currently enjoy.
Ms. Berschauer and the county commission could take a lesson from those decades old decisions. Foresight is severely lacking from county leaders at the moment.

Mac Runner

Tagup - The bottom line is that if we want public services like well maintained parks library, recreation center, good police service, we need to pay for them. There are plenty of communities that don’t offer those things. I see people from outside Mac every day at the aquatic center using resources we offer that they don’t have. Whether we pay through property taxes or a fee from Mac Water and Light services doesn’t make much difference. There is a claim that the water and light fee is better because we still pay much less for those services and, unlike property taxes, they can do a reduced rate for people with lower incomes.

tagup

Adding a service charge for a stated purpose ( a budget deficit in this case) should end when the purpose no longer exists. That is how many people feel about the Fire Dept levy as well.
I personally don’t feel the council or the budget committee have a solid read of what the community actually wants. The survey process was flawed and decisions about what people value vs the tax cost is cloudy at best.
The council has the balance of the fire levy to work with….why is that not enough?

Mac Runner

Tagup - When is this magical day you imagine when we no longer going to need to maintain our buildings, our parks or to expand them as the city grows. Have you been paying attention to labor negotiations lately? Do you have reason to believe costs will go down?

Mac Runner

People want public services and they dislike the idea of paying for those services, That “tragedy of the commons” is one of the main reasons we have government in the first place. If you want roads, schools, libraries, parks, recreational facilities, sewer, electric grid, someone has to invest in it as a service. In general, I think people are not okay with deterioration of public buildings or lower than reasonable maintenance of public spaces.

tagup

So are you saying that the service charge and the additional revenue from the fire district are needed now? That doesn't seem to be the case, as the council only initiated a portion for the next fiscal year.
Are you onboard with a service fee being added for a specific purpose then left in place for eternity?
No doubt that costs are rising, but so is the tax base and system development costs also are being increased as I recall.
As I stated previously, this is where the hard decisions need to be made, and quite frankly, I'm not sure the tax payers have the stomach to expand parks in place of paying their own bills. As you know, the service fee hits all citizens, not just property owners.

tagup

**all rate payers**

Mac Runner

As I said before, whether they pay for services with a 50 cent increase in one place and a $12 per month increase in another or a 65 cent increase doesn’t really matter. The question is what is being provided for that money?

Mac Runner

I do not believe Oregon is structured for local governments to succeed financially because of the Sizemore tax initiatives from the 1990’s.

YamCoCan

Bottom line is this is a city issue and not a county one. The BOC don’t understand their jobs. Compare to other counties and see what their BOCs work on. They don’t self-aggrandize and attempt to manage cities.

tagup

I guess when you have no strategy for economic growth, or county improvements, you end up with a lot of time to write letters that have no impact & meddle in other jurisdictions business.

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