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Eugene Services Fee Up to Voters

EUGENE, Ore. — Another budget-related issue has landed on the May ballot.

Eugene city councilors voted Wednesday to send a city services fee to voters.

The county decided Tuesday to put its public safety levy on the ballot, and Wednesday with a vote of six-to-two, the city will also be looking to the public to help maintain its services.

“There’s been a lot of conversation about whether to even ask the voters for something,” said Jon Ruiz, Eugene City Manager.

But they will ask for no more than $10 a month for residents.

“There are other things we could do. We could sell our assets. We could do all sorts of things, to me which are less palatable than going to a fee,” said Alan Zelenka, Eugene City Councilor.

The council also entertained a property tax levy and even a stormwater and parks fee, but those were both taken off the table Monday. After months of discussion and research, this is the chosen one.

“I think the reason why they chose a fee is because primarily it’s ongoing revenue for ongoing costs. One of the reasons we find ourselves in these structurally imbalanced budgets is we use one-time money for ongoing costs,” Ruiz said.

The fees would help maintain services to a number of departments including fire, police, parks, pools and libraries.

“It’s not meant to expand anything. This is meant to preserve what we already have and prevent deterioration of these very important services that make this such a great town to live in,” said George Brown, Eugene City Councilor.

But the $5.3 million measure still leaves a gap that needs to be filled.

“If this passes, we will still need to make another million dollars worth of cuts. The city manager has not brought us those options to us yet, but I’m sure it’ll mean as it has meant somewhat less of everything,” said Kitty Piercy, Eugene Mayor.

If the measure passes, it would last five years and an oversight committee would review it each year to ensure accountability.

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  1. Postone says:

    This is an excerpt from this story: “But they will ask for no more than $10 a month for residents.” “The fees would help maintain services to a number of departments including fire, police, parks, pools and libraries.”

    This is all to common of Cities and Counties in this Nation! I’m sick and tired of paying because the powers that be (in this case the Mayor, City Manager, and the City Counsel of Eugene) who continue the status quo of spend, spend and spend some more, and usually with money they dont’ actually have!

    Forget it!

    This city counsel is talking about (Among other things) spending $15 million (what ever the number is, certainly in the millions) or so on a new or retrofitted City Hall!?!

    I don’t get it, if you don’t have the money how can you purchase something? Don’t give them another dime! This will not be the end of it! Make these people use their brains instead of money… Make them figure this out, because its their responsibility because generations before them caused this in the first place. There were plenty of decades when the city could have been flush but the powers that be blew the money as it came in, instead of saving and investing it!

    This is problem people, the powers that be, Mayor, City Manager, City counsel members and anyone and everyone else in power in this city do NOT care that the money they collect is TAXPAYER MONEY NOT THEIRS! All they’re concerned with is spending, spending and spending some more! Give us more money, so we can spend it irresponsibly, like we have done since the beginning of time to date!!! This is why the city of Eugene and just about every city in this nation has no money because they refuse to be “frugal” and to SAVE AND INVEST! They have to have it and they have to have it RIGHT NOW!

    We’re not just talking about services that are vital to safety. We’re talking about all services…. At some point you have to say NO, we will NOT give you anymore money! Tighten your belts and deal with it! When you get to the point where you have some extra money than and only then would you talk about spending …

    The powers that be, are irresponsible period! Stop the damn spending and do what you were elected to do, not what you want to do! It isn’t your money! And that building (City Hall) isn’t your either it belongs to the taxpayer and to the citizens of Eugene!

    This will never stop, they (powers that be) will continue to come to you for more money! Why would they do anything else if all they (powers that be) have to do is say we need more money and you give it to them!?!

    1. Bill says:

      They don’t have the money. That’s why they want to get it. I’ll gladly pay $100 a year for a community, for Sheldon pool,. for fire trucks, for police detectives, and for a better Eugene. You may be sick of paying, but there’s not a lot I wouldn’t do to keep this place, my native home, “A Great Place for the Arts and Outdoors.”

      The problem is, we’ve been starving municipal governments for far too long. Buck up and pay up–it’s your civic duty, and a patriotic obligation. If not, please just get out of my America. Thanks.

      1. Postone says:

        And you sir (and many, many, many more) is the exact reason that the powers that be in City government (in local government all over this nation) continue to ask for more money. Because of people like you who buy into to their fear mongering about what will happen if you don’t pony up! Even if what they say is true its because of “their” mis-management! These people (Mayor, City counsel, City Manager) who were hired to do the business of the people! They don’t have the option of spending and spending and spending just to be spending! That isn’t their jobs, they are to be frugal and professional and prudent at all times because the money they have access to isn’t theirs, its the taxpayers and the citizens of this community! As is the office they all hold, the city buildings belongs to the taxpayers and the citizens of Eugene, Oregon! They are not the play ground for these spend thrift unprofessional knucleheads!

        My duty is to have make sure my elected officials are doing their jobs. My duty is to my fellow citizens in the community including the homeless and less fortunate. My duty is to use common sense when ever possible. My duty as you put it is to rein in these irresponsible, (and sometimes criminal) elected officials and hired heads of agencies.

        You say you would be glad to pay $100 a year for a community, for Sheldon pool,. for fire trucks, for police detectives, and for a better Eugene. And that is noble if a bit naive. Because what happens the next time they want more money? What happens next year when they need another $50, $75, $100, $200 a year, do we continue to pay? When do we say enough, or stop? The reason they need this money is because of mis-management, period! The Mayor gave some money to keep a golf-course afloat. Is that a wise way to spend money (money the city says they don’t have, hence that fee of $100 a year that you would gladly pay) the city doesn’t have?

        The heads of the Police departments, and the Sheriff’s departments (which includes the Jail) budget has been in the black for many years. But because of the 2008 crash they now don’t have money! And this is because of spending like there is no tomorrow in years past! And because they have enjoyed unlimited overtime for their officers (when it really wasn’t necessary) and all the police toys and not saving a dime for a rainy day? There was no budget except, spend all you can as soon as you get it! These are the reasons the city and the police agencies don’t have any money. The powers that be in the city hall, Mayor, City Manager, City counsel members have never saved or invested in this City. They spend, spend and spend some more without regard for anyone or anything…. And because of the 2008 disaster, now they don’t have a dime because reality caught up with them…. Emergencies happen, and like you and I we have to plan for them with SAVINGS! AND WITH INVESTING! The city did none of this!

        And because of people like you who are either too stupid to know this information or has his/her heads so far up their collective arses you and people like you spew forth comments when you have no clue about what you are talking about! This needing fees and more taxes every year, will never stop unless the taxpayers and citizens (citizens with a couple of brain cells) finally say no more! Only then will local, state or federal government realize they have no choice but to do the jobs they were either hired or elected to do!

        If they can’t or won’t then fire them and start over. If the new people can’t or won’t fire them and start over. Pretty soon the powers that be will get the message… Of course this will probably never happen, because most people don’t have a clue and even if they did they are lambs and followers who will never make their voices heard~!

  2. Ron says:

    Hey Kitty………….Screw you inept inbred’s at city hall.

  3. jason marks says:

    we have the money, its just in one of dozens of accounts..

    so when you want more money, you move the money to the other account and then claim you are broke and show the balance of the account as zero.

    That is how we got the new police dept bldg. Did you hear any squawking about it, NOPE, the money was rat holed in a reserve account for it.

    What I disdain, is the arrogance of thinking we are ignorant.

    We know more about living in our means that the government EVER could.

    I think ZOMBIES run the government.

  4. jason marks says:

    I bet we have the FULL amount to replace city hall in a reserve account already.

    The funny part is: they said (like we forgot) that the complex is seismically unstable.

    And now that we have a new police station and the city has moved out, magically, its okay and just needs remodeled.

    How stupid do we look? I guess I have stupid on my forehead like some perverted mark of the beast, because I keep hearing these statements that contradict what was previously said.

  5. jason marks says:

    quote: “If the measure passes, it would last five years and an oversight committee would review it each year to ensure accountability.”

    why start now, what is the need all of a sudden?

    Why does this money need a committee to oversee it and the rest of the budget doesn’t?

    CLUE: you can’t trust the city government.

    LETS GET AN OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE FOR ALL OF THE CITY MONIES BEING SPENT.
    Tax payers are getting ripped off, VOTE NO.

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