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Politicans and the city budget

To the Editor:

Sometimes politicians can drive me crazy.

During a recent budget committee meeting one position in the police department was not filled and we are told the problem is Keizer has such a low tax rate. Then we are told how the city has “stretched, matched, leveraged, granted and volunteered tremendously” and the “elastic has worn out.” This is a city staff managing an approved budget and not a financial crisis.

The mayor states there needs to be an honest conversation about what type of community we want to live in. In 2011, the mayor and several others conducted a very misleading campaign for a “Public Safety Communication fee” which failed by 80 percent. Last year the mayor brought in the management from the transit district to discuss their proposed tax increase on the business community, again this tax increase was defeated. I believe this is the community voicing their opinion.

The mayor also points out that our tax rate of $2.08 was established in 1992 and comparable cities pay a higher tax rate than we do in Keizer. That comment begs the question, “So what?”Our mayor fails to note that the total city revenue has not been stuck at the 1992 level, it has increased with the growth in new homes, increased assessed value of homes and business. The mayor also left out the other funds the city receives such as license and fees, fines and forfeitures, charges for service and intergovernmental revenue sharing. (Note: the assessed value of a home rises 3 percent every year, provided it’s lower than the market value.) Additionally, the mayor doesn’t mention that the Keizer Fire District has its own tax rate of $2.04, which is separate from the city operation.

In my opinion, the city staff hears the community and lives within our means. The politicians seem to hear, tax me more because comparable cities pay more than we do.

Sometimes politicians can drive me crazy.

Jim Keller
Keizer