Some people must think the City of Brookings is flush with money.
Why else would financially-strapped entities such as the Curry County Health District, Salmon Run golf course, Southern Curry Cemetery Maintenance District and a private developers all ask the city for breaks on lease payments, development fees or water rates?
While we sympathize with these agencies, it should be obvious to them and most everyone else that the city doesn’t have money to spare. Brookings has a long list of deferred maintenance projects, and it just raised the water and sewer rates for all residences and businesses because of a shortage of system development charges – and will likely do so again next year.
It’s the same story – even more so – for Curry County, which has been slashing department budgets and attempting to spin off certain public services as independent agencies.
The reality of the situation became clearer, at least for the Southern Curry Cemetery Maintenance District, on Monday, when the city rejected the district’s request to lower its water rate. And rightly so.
The district is already paying the lowest rate available – that afforded to single-family homes.
The Curry Health District recently asked the city to forgive approximately $467,000 in remaining system development charges for its Fifth Street clinic – in return for giving city employees free immunizations, physical exams, and mental health evaluations.
First, is it legally possible for the city to forgive the charges, which are based on an existing ordinance? Second, the health district’s offer is laughable considering most city employees already have access to such services through city-provided medical coverage.
Then there is Salmon Run golf course, which has asked the city for a second two-year extension on its annual $30,000 lease payment.
Add to that a recent request by a private developer for the city to partially fund a sewer extension to a proposed development on North Bank Chetco River Road that can’t financially stand on its own.
While Brookings’ government is fiscally healthy (at least compared to the county or the Curry Health District), the city first has a responsibility to adequately fund basic services such as public safety, streets, fire, water and sewer services.
Simply put, the city does not have money to dole out all these breaks.