I am coming at this in several directions as I work at an electric bike shop downtown. We do sales, service, tours and bike rentals. The rentals are an important part of our revenue during our busy tourist summer. Saturday morning 6/5 I arrived to work to find several Bird bikes parked outside of our location. We have a sign out front that states that we rent ebikes. At that time, I contacted Bird and reached their call center. I explained to them they would need to have their bikes moved. The call center employee stated that she would have the handler in Bend move the bikes to a different location. This did not happen until we were about to close shop for the day. During this same day, I witnessed a woman on a Bird bike riding on the downtown sidewalks dodging pedestrians, three kids that could not be more than 12 whizzing through people without helmets and later that evening another few on Galveston riding against traffic and then hopping onto the sidewalk. Can you imagine the people that will utilize them as they leave bars?
- Don't forget to pack your bike shoes! @pamelitaskitchen offers some sound advice for bikers looking to crush the single track this season. But even if you do, it's no reason to turn around; looks like all you need is a pair of Converse to have a good time out there! Thank you for tagging us this week. We enjoy seeing everyone's adventures. Share your photos with us and tag @sourceweekly for a chance to be featured as Instagram of the week and in print as our Lightmeter. Winners receive a free print from @highdesertframeworks.
The ebike shops that rent out bikes make sure customers not only sign waivers, are given thorough instructions on how to ride, where to ride and where NOT to ride, but along with that we do not rent to children. If a teenager is accompanied by an adult, they must be 16 and wear a helmet. After renting they return them in great shape back to the store they rented from. Maintaining the bikes as well as safely storing the batteries in a fire safe cabinet is a huge concern. There are 100 bikes in this contract so I would assume double that in batteries for the Bird bikes.
The locally owned ebike shops here in Bend have major investments in bikes, paying high rents in this area and everything else that comes along with running a small business. These businesses pay taxes and create jobs. Finally, I spoke with Tobias Marx who also holds the agreement for Diamond Parking here in Bend. He told me that data shows that the Zagster bikes did well here. I had to explain to him the truth which he did not know because he did not live here when they were in town. The company contracted with our company to maintain these bikes and store the boxed bikes. The whole thing was a nightmare. Junked by people everywhere and dumped in the river. Then Zagster filed bankruptcy and just left them here. Matter of fact, those bikes cost us for storage fees that we were never paid on. I asked if I could speak to the City Council in regard to this but was told no, that he handles the contract.
Truthfully it feels like the City of Bend and Tobias Marx is giving us the Bird!
—Michelle A. Tager, Let It Ride Electric Bikes
RE: Deschutes County's Lowered Tax Rate Brought a Predictable Outcome: Future Debt Opinion, 6/2
Future debt is not the predictable outcome of lowering the tax rate in 2018.
Local Government budgets are far more complicated than A results in B. The 2018 adopted budget was 348 pages in length [although some are 'intentional left blank']. Despite the $0.06 per $1000 property tax reduction, assessed valuation revenue from all sources increased $23.5 million the following year. The Fiscal Year 2022 budget indicates the revenue picture between 2018 & 2022 increased by $119.5 million. Despite the pandemic and every interruption to increased revenue, the proposed budget estimates increased revenue in the 2023 Fiscal Year of $3.3 million over 2022.
In 2018 Property Tax was 11.4% of total revenues. In 2023 Property Tax is expected to be 9.7% of total revenues. But over those five years Property Tax is expected to have increased by $7.7 Million.
Interpreting these numbers in local government budgets can strain all of us. Many decisions are made by elected officials within each year's budget. Deschutes County made choices in this time period, including to increase the number of employees for example. Since 2018 thru the 'proposed' budget for 2023, Total Personnel Services increased over $50 million at almost a 50% increase.
The proposed budget sure looks healthy. A Contingency of $76.4 million and a Reserve for Future Expenditure of $44.3 million. We should not be hearing elected officials calling for property tax increases or telling us about "Future Debt." If these short paragraphs didn't put you to sleep, take a look at the Deschutes County 258-page proposed 2023 budget!
RE: Proposed Managed Camp has a Site News, 6/9
I am happy to hear this is a high barrier shelter where one can get the social services needed, there are requirements for the residents which will provide some space for stability in order to get back on their feet. I do hope there will be 24/7 on site management from a professional, not a resident. And there will be good neighbor agreements as indicated at council meetings. And when there are issues they are addressed swiftly.
Letter of the Week:
Thanks, Nicole! Come on by for your gift card to Palate.