Yes, we need public safety but this fee is unfair to all.
Our mayor admitted that raising our safety fee is essentially (quote) "Taxation w/o Representation". We say it's extortion. Pay up or have your water shut off!
The mayor agreed that voting on the issue was "a big mistake". City Council disregarded our NO vote on $10 and passed a $15 fee increase ... 4 to 1 instead. The reason being that many "irresponsible actions and inactions" from the past, such as hiring new officers/personnel that they couldn't pay for, had left the city short of money. And then there are the PERS increases too.
This recent increase raises the fee 100% from last July 2018's $10 hike ... also 100%, bringing the total to 200% in 10 months time!
Many other cities in Oregon have imposed these fees but almost all off discounts to seniors and low income. Our Mayor said the Council had decided this was too much trouble or paperwork!
Corvallis recently passed their Fee based on water meter size ($17 residents). Eugene & Springfield s is wage based (min wage & under exempt).
Other states have discovered the proliferation of "public fee" abuses amongst many communities and put a STOP to it by passing statewide propositions (ie: CA 218). This prohibits collection of fees/increases for govt related services (ie: police, fire, etc.) by utilities companies. These fees must be voted on and accepted by community residents. Perhaps it's time for such a Proposition in Oregon.
North Bend's public safety fee is the highest we found online. It forces low income residents to pay a higher percentage of their income/worth for these services. Example: If the$300 p.year increase is equated to property tax, someone paying $800 will incur a 37% increase p.year while someone paying $2,000 only incures a 15% increase. How is this fair??!!!
For some residents this means forced reductions for food and medications.
North Bend City Council has made a decision that is inconsiderate and unfair to it's community. They must research a better way to collect these fees... something that residents agree upon and accept. Shame on City Council.
Rcall this increase now!
Residents please call, email counsilmen, or better yet, attend Council Work Sessions every other Mondays at 4:30 p.m. Next one is July 8.
Douglas and Debra Bankler