Forest Grove levy: How will you vote?
- Forest Grove News-Times - Opinion
YES - Services make the city special
By Bill and Norma Muir
While much has been said about the up-coming special election regarding public safety, we as citizens need to remember there are services that citizens use every day. We do not argue with the fact that police and fire services are the most important services the City of Forest Grove provides. We want them when we need them and delays in response times are not acceptable; but we don't use them every day. However, other services the city provides along with police and fire protection are what make our community special. Just a couple of examples . . .
Our parks department
While not a large department, the Parks and Recreation Department provides daily inspections in our parks. These hard-working employees see to it that our parks are safe and clean. Citizens often take for granted that the grass will be green, the weeds will be gone, the playground equipment will be maintained and the trash will be picked up. We hope each voter in our community will vote in favor of maintaining these services and not go back to a staff level that resembles the early 1970s. In our experience, having lived in Forest Grove for over 60 years, the parks department has exceeded our expectations with the resources they have. As a voter, I can't imagine them having less help to accomplish the tasks we expect for us to enjoy our open space and parks. This is what makes Forest Grove special.
Our aquatic center
In 1944, citizens went door-to-door to raise funds for the first outdoor pool. The indoor pool was built in 1968 with Herb Drew leading the way on the 'Swim All Year Committee.'
Our public pool in those days was an example to the rest of the state of what a small group of citizens can do if it's important. Well, our pool is important. The programs provided reach all ages. From the smallest children and infants, to folks like us who use it everyday for the aches and pains of aging. Thousands of children have learned the lifelong skill of swimming which we as a community felt was important and still do!
The pool also provides one of the few opportunities for families to enjoy year long recreational activities in our community. In 2001, we as citizens voted to improve the facilities and were successful. The 'new' pool now serves an even larger population.
If you ever drive by the pool, try and find a place to park. You will not have an easy time. We are supporting this levy to keep the doors open on the weekends. This is what makes Forest Grove special.
We have a choice. The City of Forest Grove is asking us to support a levy that will only maintain the services we already have. No new positions will be added as a result of this levy. But our city has increased expenditures just like we do. Inflation is just one cause for the need of the levy. Have you bought a gallon of gas lately? Please join us in supporting this levy. Let's all keep Forest Grove special.
NO -- Don't fall for scare tactics
By Glenn Berkheimer
What I do not understand is why the News-Times has listed all the reasons for passing this levy but nowhere do you have a single voice against it.
Nowhere do you mention the way this levy is being brought again. After all, we just defeated this.
Is it that if you bring it up again and again sooner or later you're bound to get one election to pass it?
Sooner or later you hope that the voters will finally miss being able to vote, especially since most of Forest Grove, myself included, was clueless to the fact that we have another vote arriving.
I had absolutely no idea the city was trying to slip this under the door on us. How about how much money this levy (especially if it fails) is costing the citizens of Forest Grove?
Who came up with the idea of having another vote? How much money so far has been spent to date, how much is authorized and who authorized it?
Is this levy even legal? I hear that even if it does pass there will be a challenge in court against it, one in which I would be happy to participate with.
How much waste is this vote costing us and how much money is the city spending that it does not need to? Like that boat the city owns… tell us about that one that has been hidden from us tax payers.
I remember living in Seattle and having a vote against the huge taxes we were being charged for car tags. I remember fully how we were told that these funds were needed to maintain safety and service for the ferries.
Low and behold when the taxes were stopped the state suddenly found multiple jobs paying over a quarter of a million dollars a year that were unnecessary. I personally watched six people in the park the other day, one of them was actually working and the rest were either talking on their cell phones or were having coffee and one was laying in the back of the truck bed doing absolutely nothing.
I see absolutely no problem with reducing some library, aquatics center, parks and recreation services.
What services you reduce will most likely not be felt by the paying population I am sure for those that are avid aquatics users, they can afford a token fee hike. Most communities do this including the one I was raised in. So why should the taxpayer fund others when if they want to use the facilities they should fund it themselves?
Overall this levy is trying to be passed by scare tactics. 'If you do not vote 'yes,' your public safety may be in jeopardy.'
Let's face it; you will never be able to pass higher taxes by only threatening to reduce the parks, library and aquatics center.
Let's start doing justice to the term, 'equal time' for all sides.