The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, April 19, 2017, Page 5A, Image 5

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Health care: ‘Without new revenue, Water rates: No big increase for 10 years
mean revenue paid from the ways to classify businesses and
Continued from Page 1A
rates would be guaranteed to go residents.
we don’t have a lot of options’
to public works related projects
Why now?
Bertellotti said the rates
Continued from Page 1A
“The goal of the list is to move the pro-
cess along, ” said state House Speaker Tina
Kotek, D-Portland. She also said it was
intended to “educate” the public and the leg-
islative assembly about the choices lawmak-
ers will have to make in order to eliminate the
“It’s definitely a wake-up call,” Kotek
said. “If you look at those reduction lists, Ore-
gonians are going to see things that they care
about on those lists. And without new reve-
nue, we don’t have a lot of options.”
Kotek said that conversations about a tax
on health care providers were “ongoing,” but
that the list of cuts released Monday does not
include that or any other new revenue propos-
als. A group of legislators from both parties
and chambers is meeting privately to hash out
a possible consensus on business taxes.
Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli,
R-John Day, claimed in a statement that
Democrats were presenting a “false choice
of either accepting unconscionable cuts … or
raising taxes.”
In November, voters rejected a pro-
posed gross sales receipts tax on cer-
tain corporations, Measure 97, which was
projected to raise $6 billion in new
revenue for the state’s upcoming two-year
budget. In its wake, some of the ballot mea-
sure’s opponents have called for addressing
the costs of the state’s public employee pen-
sion system and other long-term cost drivers
Kotek said that the list of possible reduc-
tions did not address Oregon’s budget in the
longer term — merely the two years of the
next budget cycle, which begins in July.
The Capital Bureau is a collaboration
between EO Media Group and Pamplin
Media Group.
There has not been a sig-
nificant rate increase in Can-
non Beach for 10 years, Gras-
sick said.
Because of this, the Pub-
lic Works Department has not
been able to fully cover oper-
ational costs without dipping
into the general fund, Grass-
ick said. While this has been
the status quo in Cannon
Beach, Grassick said there are
long-term issues with depend-
ing on a fund that relies heav-
ily on hotel and rental room tax
“During the recession,
the general fund was tread-
ing water,” he said. “It fluc-
tuates, which you don’t want
when you are in the middle of
a project.”
The rate increase is a way to
prove to lenders the city has a
way to pay its operational and
capital costs when applying for
a revenue bond, Grassick said.
He said this approach would
rather than paying down inter-
est passed on to residents in the
shape of property tax on debt
from a general bond.
It would also eliminate com-
petition between public works
and other services in town that
pull from the general fund.
But each year the city
doesn’t approve a rate increase,
the further behind public works
gets on infrastructure projects,
he said.
“This plan is the meat and
potatoes of public works,” he
said. “We’re engineers. We like
to build stuff.”
If adopted, high prior-
ity projects chosen would be
included in the 2017-18 bud-
get and be constructed over the
course of five to seven years.
Public works committee
members hope to explore alter-
natives to how the water rate is
structured, including different
need to be explained in a way
the average resident in Cannon
Beach “can understand how
much they are paying and what
it is for.”
Les Wierson, another mem-
ber of the committee, also sug-
gested proposing a tax levy to
fund the number of high prior-
ity projects listed in the plan.
“I’m not sure it’s worth
spending this amount at an
accelerated rate. This looks like
we are replacing an entire sys-
tem, and I don’t think we need
to do that,” Wierson said.
Both Wierson and Ber-
tellotti advocated for finding
opportunities to rehab projects
rather than full replacements.
Grassick said that the mas-
ter plan is a living document,
and that priority projects would
be evaluated every two years
or so.
“You can kick the can down
the road, but the issues will still
be there,” Grassick said.
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