If Washington County is asking for more money for public safety, why should voters in Forest Grove pony up more cash for a similar levy inside the city? Because the forces at play in the county -- soaring fuel costs, rising health-care premiums and the lingering legacy of the meth trade -- don't stop at the city limits.
Measure 34-135 would raise more than $5.5 million for police and fire protection from 2007 to 2011, the life of the four-year levy. It would substitute the city's current public safety levy, which has a rate of 99 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value with a new rate of $1.35 per $1,000.
This amount breaks down to about $270 in annual property taxes for a home with an assessed value of $200,000, which is $72 more than the same homeowner pays under the current rate. Although property owners would be paying more, city officials stress that they're simply trying to keep up with rising costs.
'We're not buying any new toys in this proposal,' Police Chief Glenn VanBlarcom said last week. 'We're just trying to meet the needs that we have right now.'
Those needs are growing, in part, because of the city is growing, in numbers and square miles. Both the police and fire departments have taken the initiative in recent years to find ways to keep costs down while serving more people. Without this levy, the city will be forced to make painful,and potentially dangerous cuts to service. That's why this measure deserves your 'yes' vote.