The Source Weekly should be giving itself The Boot for its lack of research and for misleading its readers in the April 26, 2012 The Boot.The Source bestowed this honor on the Bend City Council for its consideration of renewing the deferral of payment of SDCs by developers. The paper wrote, “What it will do is deprive the city of money it can ill afford to pass up—money that could be used to fill potholes, improve sewer and water systems, hire police and firefighters and pay for a hundred other things that help make the city a good place to live.”
What the paper should have known, or at least had the intelligence to find out, is exactly what Oregon law allows the city to do with SDCs.
In Oregon, by law, SDCs may be collected to build water, sewer, drainage, transportation, and park and recreation infrastructure. SDCs may not be used to operate or maintain these systems, nor can they be used for schools, general purpose government facilities, or solid waste facilities (emphasis is mine). SDCs are to be used only to pay for growth-related infrastructure and intended to recover a fair share of the costs of existing and planned utility, park, and street infrastructure that provide capacity to serve new growth. SDCs cannot be “used to fill potholes… hire police and firefighters and pay for a hundred other things” no matter how much the Source thinks the city can or should.
Whether or not SDCs should be delayed, deferred or eliminated I am not going to argue. What I will argue is that the Source, for its lack of honesty and journalistic integrity, deserves THE BOOT.
Editor’s note: While Lester is correct that cities are limited in how they can spend SDC revenues, we would argue that a shortfall in revenue in any fund will reverberate throughout the entire city budget. That’s even more true in Bend where the city has traditionally required development to pay only a portion of its share, meaning the rest of us subsidize the system. Just look at the proposed city-wide water rate increases if you have any doubts that we haven’t kept pace through the boom years.