Critical City Services | Editorial | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Opinion » Editorial

Critical City Services

by

1 comment

It's time to find the money—and that doesn't mean yet another bond

During the past election season, several City Council candidates ran on a platform that the financial woes the City of Bend faces (potholes, general road improvements, support for septic-to-sewer transitions, a new Urban Growth Boundary) could be solved through more judicious spending. The mantra was, "The City didn't have a revenue problem, it had a spending problem."

After a harsh winter, at least one of the areas of the budget—the Bend Streets Department's winter operations budget—has been more heavily utilized than expected. The Council has indicated support for prioritizing the Streets Department with discretionary funds—but those funds will eventually run out. On top of winter operations, there are the continuing challenges of improving the pavement conditions of many streets.

Will the "spending problem" that eager City Council candidates decried actually be resolved? Has that hidden pot of money now been uncovered? Let's not hold our collective breath. Like most Oregon cities that labor without a sales tax, Bend does have a revenue problem.

There are numerous remedies to a revenue problem. One remedy—already being proposed by Bend-La Pine Schools in the upcoming May election—is to ask taxpayers to pitch in through a local bond. Bonds, of course, are financed through an addition to homeowners' property tax bills. In the case of the Bend-La Pine Schools bond, the amount proposed would be 44 cents per $1,000 of taxable value of the home. For a home with a taxable value of $200,000, that amounts to $7 per month, according to the district website.

It's not a lot—and the school bond is necessary—but those monies can add up when compounded by another bond levied by the City. Bonds have a bigger impact on people's fixed expenses. In the case of the homeowner who rents his or her home to someone else, that could mean an increase in rents that are already too high for many in our community to sustain. What this community does not need is added pressure on property owners to raise rents. We support a school bond, but we would struggle to endorse yet another bond from a different government entity at this time.

What we hope to see is a revenue stream based on consumption—paid for at least in part by the hundreds of thousands of tourists who use our roads each year. A proposed gas tax was shut down by voters in Deschutes County last May, but today, as candidates become councilors, it should be even more apparent that it's what the City needs in order to continue to move forward and provide critical services. Compared to passing the burden only onto property owners—and their stricken renters—it's simply more equitable, and we venture to say it may even get local people out of their cars a bit more often. Our region is booming with tourists, and it's high time they, too, contribute to maintaining our public resources.



About The Author

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

 

Add a comment

More by Source Weekly

  • Little Bites: Thanksgiving Dinner is Served! Restaurants that will cook for you on Thursday

    While many of us are going to be slaving over stoves, stuffing, brining or the always fun deep-frying our butterball turkeys this Thursday, there are options for those who don't feel like sticking their hands in the cavity of a 20-pound bird or cutting up the neck to stew some gravy. For all of you who would rather have a skilled chef prepare your fixins, here's a list of restaurants serving Thanksgiving Dinner, courtesy of Visit Bend.
    • Nov 16, 2017
  • Picks 1/25-2/1

    • Jan 25, 2017
  • Picks 10/12-10/19

    • Oct 12, 2016
  • More »