|Letters to the Editor published Saturday, February 25, 2012|
|Written by The Curry Coastal Pilot|
|February 24, 2012 09:34 pm|
County veterans position in jeopardy
Veteran’s Service Officer Position in Jeopardy AGAIN!
A new Veterans Service officer, Kimberly O'Neal, was hired a few months ago, and now there is talk that the County will cut 35 percent of her pay. If this happens, the State will not fund their portion. Her contract was already cut 20 percent before she started.
As far as I am concerned, this type of cut is nickel and dime compared to the bigger financial mess the county is in. Curry County is the second largest per capita of veterans in Oregon. The veterans alone bring in about a million dollars a year to our county.
We have a great need for a full-time Veterans Service officer. We have 3500 veterans in Curry County at this time. With more troops coming home, this number can grow. If it wasn’t for the veterans, we wouldn't have a country, state or a county.
It’s not the Congress that gives us the freedom, it's not the TV station, it’s not the radio station, it's not the newspaper, and it’s not the preacher. It’s the veterans who have sacrificed their lives for this country.
There will be a special budget meeting by the county commissioners on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. at their offices in Gold Beach. Show up and show support for our VSO! I know she is working hard for us.
Low tax rate but high property values
It is often stated that Curry County has the lowest property tax rates in the state.
While this may be true, no one has addressed the fact that Curry County also has some of the highest assessed values and market values in the state. The majority of property owners in this county live in average or even below average homes and yet the taxable (assessed) value is much higher than it would be if it was assessed in a different county. When I read the article (Bend Bulletin Feb. 22) suggesting, more or less, that we pay up or shut up, I felt the need to respond.
In Deschutes County a newer home consisting of approximately 3,000 square feet can be had for about $125,000 and sometimes even less. That same 3,000 square foot home in Curry County would probably cost in the $350,000 or more range. Let’s compare apples to apples when discussing property taxes, folks.
From what I understand, the majority of property owners in Curry County are retired and live on fixed incomes. With a sales tax we would at least have a choice in how we spend our money, plus the sales tax would not be applied to necessities such as groceries and medicine. We can only hope that items such as toilet paper and soap would not be taxable since many of us fall into the lower income bracket.
It’s true that a sales tax could cause distress to small business owners, especially if the rate is a greedy one. At the same time, folks are not stupid and can easily calculate the cost of fuel to shop 100 miles away versus the cost of a sales tax to shop locally.
If our system no longer works, we need to find one that does. Perhaps the zero-based budget is indeed worth investigating.
Don’t let fear stop you from endeavors
Winston Churchill said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
For people who fear the economic downturn will continue to worsen, please stop to consider that the planet is a closed ecosystem, and no one is burning the money. The root cause of the crisis is the games of greed people are playing. The ultimate conclusion of the games is they achieve the opposite effect. Those who grab for something, ultimately lose it.
The games are now coming to an end. As the games reach their ultimate conclusion, a new paradigm must replace the old. What will it be? If we were in a worst case scenario, such as the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia or Japan, and there was no help from outside, the survivors would have to first help the injured and deal with the dead. Everyone would help, such as first aid or scrounging for supplies. The strong would do the heavy work. Society would evolve as people worked together to rise out of the abyss. Each would find a niche, based on their talents and gifts. Everyone has a niche. Each of us has an abundance of untapped potential. Each of us has a dream in our heart for the life we would like to live.
Don’t allow the fear to stop you from following your dream.
Blame the greedy good ol’ boys
When will the people of Curry County understand that the good ol’ boys that have their puppets in positions that control this county will not allow the residents to interfere with their plan to raise taxes so they can line their pockets more.
No matter how much evidence the residence of Curry County produce to show the gross spending of the good ol’ boys, their spending will not change until the residents take a stand against them and not fear the rumors and threats that will come for standing up against them. The letter to the editor was right on the money “Zero-based budget instead of sales tax” on Feb. 22.
Why does this county put these gross expenditures out there? Why does this county continue to spend monies on “specialist” to see if it would be feasible to do? The county has spent enough monies on “specialist research” to pay for the police, sheriff, and fire and rescue for a couple of years but they would rather raise taxes in order to keep their pockets full. Those of us that can see what the problem/problems are will never be allowed to make changes because we do not donate to the “Curry County mafia”/good ol’ boys. ...
The residents of Curry County should not have to accept higher property tax or a sales tax if the board would learn how to budget accordingly and stop trying to scare the residents into accepting one or the other. It seems that their new plan is to target the elderly into scare tactics of not providing them with the protection that our Constitution gives us. ...
Instead of blaming the Republicans, tea party members or Democrats, blame the greedy good ol’ boys that only care about their comfort level. ...
Thank those who contributed, today
Editor Jef Hatch’s “A childhood hero gone” article of Feb. 22, was indeed “One Last Point ...”
So many wonderful people who have contributed quietly to better the lives of others move on to heaven without so much as a whisper.
Let’s do better to thank them today while we can, and carry on their legacies after they are gone.
Jan and John McCollister
Officials don’t want off the gravy train
This letter is regarding the Feb. 18 Pilot article “County officials favoring sales tax” and a letter by Alan Jensen “$5K to study tax is a waste of money.”
Alan, the last “tax study” in 2009 cost taxpayers $95,000 not including the costs for city and county staff time.
One suggestion discussed in the news article was that the commissioners hire a competent administrator and transition themselves to part time status. Contrary to what commissioners would have citizens believe, this could be initiated in a matter of minutes with commissioners executing a legal “order” to begin the process. Commissioner Waddle is reported saying, “To me, this is a long-term process. It should be a vote of the people. Any citizen out there can form a PAC (political action committee) and go about it.” Translation – We’re not getting off the gravy train.
Commissioners apparently voiced disappointment that more committee members did not attend their Feb. 15 meeting so they could learn the thinking behind some of the committee members’ suggestions.
Approximately three weeks after the committee first met Nov. 30, 2011, and after review of information provided by the county, I submitted 18 written questions to county personnel along with an explanation and reason for each question. Fourteen questions were for county counsel and the finance director.
One question submitted to the county attorney was, “What types of decisions now made by the commissioners could be delegated to others?”
Counsel was asked several questions regarding mandated services such as, “What services could not be outsourced?”
The finance director was asked, “What were the current total cumulative negative balances (liabilities) of county departments by individual department?”
Not one question was answered and these commissioners have the audacity to express disappointment in committee members not showing up to explain their thought process.
It’s all happening at Rogue Grange
By the time this article is printed, the Grange Fund Raising Event, The Mardi Gras Party, will be a thing of the past. We know it will have been a success … many community members and businesses have contributed generously for the auction and prizes. I will list them next week with the prize winners for best costume, most bead necklaces accumulated, etc.
Have you seen the Grange’s new sign? It is on the front of the Grange Hall and identifies us as The Rogue Grange & Community Center. The sign was painted by our neighbor and good friend of the Grange, Ralph Scheeler. Thank you Ralph … it is a real eye catcher and we truly appreciate it.
The Grange has been given a thorough cleaning and newly painted in the basement-kitchen area. We are now ready for company. If you need a place to meet, have a class, exercise, dance or crafts, please call for more information or reservations, 541-247-9103.
Currently scheduled activities include:
•Italian Dance Classes, the first and fourth Sunday of every month at 1:30 p.m.
•Family Potluck and Game Night, the third Sunday of each month at 5:30 p.m.
•Monthly Flea Market, the third Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you want to sell items indoors the fee is $5 for a 6 foot table or $2.50 for a card table. There is no fee for outside sellers.
•Regular meeting time, the first Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. The next meeting will be March 5. Visitors always welcome.
We hope to have a dance with live music at least once a month. Watch for future activities and information.
If you want to get involved and have an idea or suggestion, please call 541-247-9103.