A public informational session concerning taxing districts will be held Dec. 9 in Brookings by the Curry County Board of Commissioners.
The session follows Commissioner Chris Paasch’s efforts to alert the public about the number of taxing districts in Curry County and the amount that is distributed to the districts by the county.
In a release announcing the public informational meeting, Curry County Director of Operations Julie Schmelzer said that according to the Curry County Assessor’s Office, the tax roll summary is $27 million for 2019-20.
“How much of that amount funds county government? $1.9 million,” Schmelzer wrote in the release. “At first glance that sounds like a lot of money—but the school districts (excluding a bond)—receive $14.9 million; the local community college receives $2.2 million of that amount collected for the school districts.”
“Most of these districts were set up years ago when monies were needed to run their facilities, but the revenues most districts realize far exceed what anyone imagined when the districts were created," Paasch said. "I think people need to be aware of where their money goes."
Accordion to Paasch, the county has five school districts, five cemetery districts, thirteen fire districts, three sanitary districts, three water districts, and five library districts. Paasch said the county also collects for bonds, cities, urban renewal districts, and a road district.
“The county assesses the taxes, and collects them, and gets no money to do so,” Paasch said. “People complain because the assessments are out of date, but how can you effectively run government when you’re expending money collecting for special districts from which you can’t charge for your service? The system is broken.”
Earlier this year the Board of Commissioners met with leaders of the Southwest Oregon Community College to discuss the Board’s concerns over the amount of local tax dollars going to the college for what Paasch said is to fund services in Coos County.
Paasch also has met with Chetco Library Board to see if the board would voluntarily contribute a portion of the library revenues to help fund law enforcement and the smaller library districts of Langlois and Agness. According to Schmelzer’s release, fellow Commissioners did not support Paasch’s proposal to make a formal request to the Library Board.
The Board of County Commissioners has agreed to host the informational session about Special Districts.
“We just want everyone to understand the roles and rules that govern special districts," Paasch said. "We want to make sure our residents understand where their tax dollars go, and what they can do about it if they think they are paying too much."
The informational session will be held from 2-4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, at the Elks Club, 800 Elk Drive in Brookings. Speakers include the representatives from the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Oregon Special Districts Association.
Read more about the special taxing districts in guest columns at currypilot.com.