Charlotte Koepke wrote (The World, Feb 22) that Jordan Cove will be paying ”some fee” in place of regular property taxes and wondered “what is in that agreement that benefits us more than property tax revenues and what is the benefit to Jordan Cove to pay the fee instead.”
The fee that Ms. Koepke references is a community service fee, through which Jordan Cove will pay the same amount in community service fees that it would have paid in property taxes, resulting in no financial benefit to Jordan Cove. The community service fee structure instead benefits the citizens of our region by providing a vehicle for our community to determine the highest and best use for those funds through the framework titled the 'Community Enhancement Plan' (CEP). In addition, the CEP ensure that the funds stay here in our community. Under the normal taxing structure, 50 percent of those funds would go to Salem for distribution throughout the state’s educational system. Under the CEP, those funds will be retained locally and distributed to educational programming in Coos County.
The cities of Coos Bay and North Bend, Coos County, and the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay have worked together for the past four years to establish a framework and method for how to equitably and effectively distribute the funds made available to our community through the CEP.
Over the course of construction and the first 15 years of operations, these fees will amount to more than $500 million in payments to our community. That includes more than $40 million per year during operations, half of which will be allocated to local education programs, with the other half directed to support waterfront development programs and districts with taxing authority on the North Spit.
The hundreds of millions of dollars in community service fees will be used to improve and support the vital community services that Ms. Koepke cited in her letter. The funds that will flow into our community offer a tremendous opportunity to strengthen and revitalize the economy and services in southwestern Oregon.