City hosts Saturday forum on safety levy

a chance to sound off - Saturday's session is designed to answer residents' questions about Forest Grove services and the May election

Do you worry that Forest Grove isn't doing enough to support its public safety agencies? Or do you think the city is bluffing when it says it will cut police and firefighter positions if next month's tax levy fails?

Either way, members of a city panel will be glad to hear your views and provide some facts about the levy at an open house from 10 a.m. to noon this Saturday, April 21.

Last fall, voters narrowly rejected a proposal to extend the city's current public safety levy, which expires next June.

Without the levy, city officials estimate that they will need to trim about $770,000 from next year's budget, and potentially even more in subsequent years.

Before breaking out the budget ax, city councilors decided to go back to voters and try again.

The levy on the May 15 ballot, like the one that lost in November, would extend the existing levy and raise it to cover increased expenses attributed to the city's growth.

The proposal would raise the current levy from 99 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, to $1.35. The increase would cost a typical homeowner $6 a month.

On Saturday morning, members of the city's Committee for Citizen Involvement will be offering a chance for residents to learn more about city finances and the upcoming levy. The town hall meeting will be held in the Community Auditorium at 1915 Main St.

City staff will be on hand to answer questions.

Mayor Richard Kidd said this week he encourages everyone to come to the forum, regardless of how they plan to vote.

'Your vote is your voice in this election,' Kidd said. 'Without it, the city will not know how you feel.'