“The good news is, as home owners, we pay only about 48 percent of the schools’ bond levy. Businesses and utilities pay 52 percent. Also, as our area continues to grow with more residents and business, the tax rate will be lowered each year since more people and businesses will be included to pay the bond, thus lowering individual tax bills over time.” (Dr. Jer D. Pratton, March 29 Hermiston Herald.)
As this comment sounds good, I find a few things with a flaw. As follows:
I have been a Hermiston resident for more then 30 years, and graduated from Hermiston High School.
My taxes have only gone up; the only time my property tax ever went down is when the county devalued my property by $25,000 three years ago and for 2016 they devalued my home value again and raised the property tax. So if there is suppose to be an overall reduction, why did my property tax go up?
If the current bond is voted in I will see an increase. So over time, how much time are you talking about — 10, 20, 40 years?
I’m not against growth in the school system. Our family donated 6,000 yards of fill for the new football field and I helped load it into their trucks for free. What I am against is the school district holding on to $5 million they have now and wanting to spend it on property for future growth, say, 40 years down the road. If expansion is needed, they should spend what they have now to better the community.
Most companies want a 25,000-person base within the city limits. Hermiston’s last census was in 2013; at what point will the city update the census? I feel the time is now to allow economic growth.
How about the school board sell off the Highway 395 frontage in front of the Sunset School to develop commercial business and take the $2-3 million value that I have been told is considered for this. Apply it to the expansion and repair what we have now.
I would vote yes on a bond to help pay for what is needed if they would show good faith in this community and allow Hermiston to grow as well on the commercial side. Sell off one part to pay up to $8 million total and put up a bond for the remainder. Compromise.
I do not feel we as residents need to carry the whole bond. The retired community of the town will not be able to afford the increase. Maybe a smaller increase would work on both sides.