Wescom News Service
GOLD BEACH The Curry County Board of Commissioners are debating whether a temporary local option tax should be stated as a dollar amount or a percentage increase when county residents vote on the proposal in May.
"We've been telling people it will be $4 million a year," Commission Chair Marlyn Schafer said. "We went out and said we would go for $3 million or $4 million. This is the decision time."
Commissioner Georgia Nowlin said the simplest way was to make the increase a percentage.
"If you cap it at a dollar amount, it stays stagnant," she said.
Commissioner Lucie La Bonte said she's "heard a lot of negativity about that," however.
The commission on Wednes-day was presented a preliminary ballot measure that would call for a $1.86 per $1,000 assessed valuation for five years beginning in 2007. At that rate, a home with an assessed value of $100,000 would pay $15.50 per month or $186 per year in additional taxes.
The commissioners would reduce the tax levy in any year in which reauthorized forest payments are received.
At the maximum rate, the levy is estimated to impose taxes of $3,867,494 in 2007, $4,022,194 in 2008, $4,183,081 in 2009, $4,350,405 in 2010 and $4,524,421 in 2011.
The commission will make its final decision at its meeting Monday, the final day to present the ballot issue to give Kolen time to approve it to be placed on the May ballot.
Schafer said setting the dollar amount at $4 million is a constant, unlike a figure such as $1.86 increase per thousand dollars of valuation.
"Running a household or a business, your expenses will increase," Nowlin said. "The biggest thing is getting out there and let people know."
La Bont disagreed.
"There's a lot of people that work hard, don't have time to come to meetings," she said. "We need to word this so people know it's a fixed rate. A guy who doesn't go to meetings, they can pick the ballot up and see it's a fixed rate."
And she said they should know that if they have a $200,000 house, they are only being taxed on $100,000.
"The $200,000 home on average will be assessed at $100,000 or less," said County Assessor Jim Kolen. "Some will be a bit more. The more information we have the better. This ballot will spell it out to the voters out there."
The commissioners presented three tax proposals at town hall meetings. One would raise $4 million a year to leave the county budget close to the present budget, the next would raise $3 million with severe cutbacks and the third would be to do nothing, with the state, perhaps, taking over Curry County if Congress does not extend the county safety net funds this year.