Taxes and Fees

Recently, a constituent asked me what I was doing to lower her property taxes. My direct answer—there’s really nothing within my authority to do that. Property tax rates are set by the state, and by local voters when they approve special levies.

Lincoln County voters have been generous in approving a number of levies in recent years, including a new hospital in Newport, new water and sewer plants in Newport, new buildings for the Community College and School District, a new dock for the Port of Newport, a new fire station in Yachats, and a new pool district for Toledo. So how does this translate?

  • Lincoln County School District, $77.3 million
  • Pacific Communities Health District, $48 million
  • City of Newport, $25.4 million
  • Port of Newport, $19.5 million
  • Oregon Coast Community College, $12.2 million
  • Yachats Rural Fire Protection District, $7.7 million

As for Lincoln County government? Our bonded debt is $2.2 million.

I’ve never asked the voters for a property tax level or bond measure in my more than 15 years on the job, and I don’t think I ever will. The only tax increase I have proposed (and the voters approved) was in the hotel and motel room tax, paid by visitors to the community.

As for permitting and fees, we’ve had a policy in place as long as I’ve been on board that these will not be revenue centers. We charge no more than the actual cost of providing the service, and in some cases, the fees don’t fully cover that.

I grew up in a family that struggled to stay on the lower rung of the middle class. I didn't have a car until I finished college because I paid for it myself. I still remember my father laying out slightly used paper towels to dry and use later. Thrift lessons like that stay with you for a lifetime and help us all stretch our dollars further, personally and within the community. 

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