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Corvallis Discusses Levy Renewal

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CORVALLIS, Ore. — An option levy that Corvallis voters passed two years ago is about to expire, and residents will have the opportunity to not only renew it again, but also to discuss with the city council what else they would like to see on the ballot.

In July 2011, city budget cuts were about to force Osborn Aquatic Center and the Corvallis Senior Center to shut their doors. But in May, just two months before the scheduled closings, voters passed a $1.8 million annual option levy to reverse the city council’s decision. However, the levy will expire in 2014. The Corvallis City Council is now proposing to renew the levy for five years, but with more services attached.

The council has proposed increasing the levy tax in order to offer more city services, such as longer library hours, more police officers on duty, and re-opening Fire Station No. 5. But an option levy for November’s election has not yet been written, and the city is asking community members for feedback. The city council is hosting a meeting Monday evening at 6:00 pm at Corvallis High School, and members are asking voters to share their opinions.

Some voters say they do not want to pay more taxes for additional city services. Under the 2011 levy, residents are currently paying about 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. To continue funding the pool, senior center, and other services, residents would likely see an increase in taxes.

Other voters say they do not want the risk of city services to close.

“What an absolute tragedy to have such an amenity and something that is positive in a community and decide to close it,” said Corvallis resident Robin McLean. “And do what with the property?”

Osborn Aquatic Center says it is able to offer reasonable rates because of the city’s contribution to property taxes. James Mellein, a supervisor at the pool, says without city funds, membership prices would be unaffordable.

“In the summer time, we can have upwards to 2,500 people here on a daily basis when Otter Beach is hopping,” Mellein said. “During the winter time, we have over ten teams and clubs that utilize Osborn every year.”

To provide feedback for the city council, click here to take a survey and to get contact information for the city councilors.

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