Election
Bethany Baker, The World

LAKESIDE — Residents shot down a tax levy that would have paid for sheriff's patrols, more planning, storm drains and other services.

According to unofficial Tuesday night election results, 64.08 percent of Lakeside voters defeated  the levy. Only 35.92 percent said yes to the proposal. The results are as of 10:30 p.m.

If residents had approved the measure, property owners would have paid $2 per $1,000 of assessed value.

That money would have paid for:

  • Coos County Sheriff's Office deputy patrols;
  • additional planning department services and code abatement;
  • storm drain work.

This would have marked a significant shift in financial services since the small community doesn't have a tax base and instead operates on RV fees, alcohol and cigarette tax money and other funding sources.

Despite repeated efforts, Mayor Dean Warner could not be reached for comment.

However, Councilors James Edwards and Danny Gonsalves expressed their frustration with the news.

Reached by phone shortly after polls closed, Edwards said he was "very discouraged" with the preliminary results. For Councilor Edwards, the $2 fee would've meant progress.

Edwards said he was "quite frustrated" to see how many weren't voting for the levy, adding that he was "discouraged to see the results so far because it doesn't look very encouraging."

Councilors had examined a $15 fee to pay for services and instead, after discussions with residents, opted for a $2 fee that would've paid for all of the above. Now Edwards said it may be time to look at eventually going for the $15 fee again but for law enforcement. That fee would be attached to one's sewer bill.

"I think we have to keep initiating the change," Councilor Edwards emphasized. "Otherwise the city's going to deteriorate without it."  

Gonsalves agreed.

"I supported it (the tax levy) but it wasn't a surprise that it went down to defeat," Gonsalves said, adding that in "this day and age" that can be common for voters to defeat tax measures.

Gonsalves touched briefly on the $15 fee, saying that the $2 fee was the best option.

"The best way to go is the levy. No doubt," he said. "We're tired of kicking the can down the road so to speak."

Gonsalves listed sheriff's services and abatement issues just as two examples.

"We've been kicking the can down the road for some time," Gonsalves said.

He praised City Administrator Curt Kelling, saying he's doing a good job.

"How we're able to get by without a tax base is amazing to me," Gonsalves said.

The councilor referred to the sheriff's office, saying "we're at the far end of the sheriff's department range" and then there's the travel time factor for deputies.

The 2017 fiscal year funding would have gone toward the following:

* $166,795 for police;

* $64,152 for community development;

and $25,661 for storm drains.

According to information Kelling provided to the Coos County Clerk's Office, that amount's anticipated to be $1,335,399.

For further updates, please check the worldlink.com or a print edition of The World.

The Umpqua Post Editor Shelby Case can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 296 or shelby.case@theworldlink.com.

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Umpqua Post Editor