Ballot Measure 6-176 would limit the ability of the City of North Bend to raise fees or taxes without voter approval, except for normal cost-of-living increases. I understand the thought process for this, but think it is a bad idea. We have a representative form of government. We elect City Councilors who hire an Administrator who oversees staff to crunch the numbers and make recommendations for a budget. That is not something that can or should be done at the ballot box. There are too many variables and unknows for this to work effectively. If we don’t like how things work, we have a chance to replace the City Council at the ballot box. They in turn can replace the Administrator who can replace the staff to crunch the numbers and make recommendations for a budget. NORTH BENDERS - PLEASE VOTE “NO” on Measure 6-176.
Ballot Measure 6-177 would roll back the Public Safety Fee in North Bend from $30 per month to $15 per month. The City says it is a matter of economics with costs rising faster than income and that we need to pay our police and fire staff and the cupboards are bare. Those folks who support the measure think the city should learn to live within its means and don’t like the way the fee came to be. Some folks can’t afford it and the City is looking at ways to offset the fee in those cases. Others CAN afford it, but just don’t want it.
Honestly, I don’t like the way the fee came to be either. The whole process, although in open meetings, didn’t play out very well. Regardless, the cost of running the City is going up faster than revenues. PERS and medical insurance are a big reason for this and the City has no option but to pay these. In other areas, there is not any fat left to cut. Myself, I want to live in a place where I know the police or fire will show up when I need them. A place where we are known for taking care of our public servants and First Responders. Personally, I can afford the $15 and am happy to pay it. Steps should be taken to offset the fee for those who truly can’t afford it. Although I don’t like how we got here, I recommend a NO vote on Measure 6-177.