CAPTION: Operating and capital levy to maintain and increase city services.
QUESTION: Shall Tigard issue five-year operating/capital levy, $1.18/$1,000 assessed value, for police, parks, library, and city services, beginning 2019? This measure may cause property taxes to increase more than three percent.
SUMMARY: This measure would help pay for and increase city services, including police, park maintenance, library hours and programs, and safe walking routes and sidewalks.
The City of Tigard has placed an operating and capital levy before voters to maintain and increase city services such as police, park maintenance, library programs, and sidewalks.
Annual performance audits of city departments would be conducted, with an independent oversight committee to ensure levy funds are spent on these priorities.
What would the local option levy do?
The levy would provide funding to maintain and increase city services. If approved, levy funding priorities would include:
- Reducing police emergency response times to under six minutes
- Increasing patrols in all five districts with six additional officers in peak times
- Increasing neighborhood patrols for community policing and crime prevention
- Maintain investigative specialists for elder abuse, drug and human trafficking, cyber-crime, and identity theft
- Retaining the school resource officer program, peer court, and youth programs
- Increasing traffic enforcement by adding two officers to the Traffic Safety Unit
Parks and Recreation:
- Maintaining parks, trail, playgrounds, sports fields, and natural areas
- Expanding recreation programs, activities, and events
- Increasing programs, materials, and events for children and seniors
- Sustaining library open hours
- Delivering sidewalk improvements with a focus on safe walking and biking routes to schools
- Preserving the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
Pursuant to Tigard Charter Section 52, no levy funds would be used to build light rail.
What if the measure does not pass?
Tigard would begin reducing programs funded by the city’s general fund in July 2018. Current budget proposals would reduce police specialist positions for criminal investigation, school resource officers, and youth programs. Additional budget reductions would reduce library programs and open hours, maintenance for parks and recreation programs.
Why is Tigard seeking a local option levy?
Tigard is growing and city services are not keeping up with the demands of growth. Over the last 10 years, Tigard’s population grew 9.7 percent while the number of city staff has gone up by less than one percent, and the Tigard Police Department’s authorized positions have declined. Oregon voters passed Measure 50 in 1997, placing a limit on property tax revenue of 3 percent increase per year, while the costs of general fund services grow at a faster rate. Although property taxes are a major revenue source, they cover about 44% of city general fund costs.
Have other options been considered?
Tigard has implemented other funding sources, including local fees, taxes and rate increases to benefit the general fund. The city has also taken measures to cut costs over the last decade, including deferring needed repairs, asking city employees to contribute to health insurance costs, and drawing on emergency reserves.
The levy rate would be $1.18 per $1,000 assessed value. The five-year levy would start in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018. For the median home value in Tigard with taxable assessed value of $250,280 (different than market value), the yearly cost in 2018 would be about $295.