Ask Me Firsts numbers appear exaggerated
Please join me in voting no on 3-269 and understand the real numbers about our taxes.
I have worked as an accountant for nearly 30 years and appreciate accurate numbers. So I have taken time to compare Ask Me First's suggested future debt load for Lake Oswego taxpayers with the official report from the city Finance Officer, Richard Seals. Ask Me First has exaggerated these numbers by four times the real values.
Ask Me First wants us to think that we will be swimming in taxes and other expenses. This is not true. Mr. Seals explained at a recent city council meeting that we have two infrastructure projects in Lake Oswego. The sewer interceptor project has begun, and will gradually show on our utility bills within the next 10 years. The water improvement project has cost us $5 million in bonds. The remaining water improvements will not occur for about eight years and will probably be shouldered 60 percent by Tigard. These are not big debts. In addition, we currently have one of the lowest utility rates in our area.
We should not be frightened by these expenses.
Ask Me First's assertions also add multiple urban renewal projects to our debt load. First of all, these projects are not within an urban renewal area and would not increase taxes. This is inaccurate.
Ask Me First also adds streetcar expenses. We have not voted for this project and these costs should not be included. Transportation projects are generally underwritten by metropolitan, state and federal funds.
Finally, they add a community center of $100 million. No community center has been voted upon, no community center has been approved. The community center is not a debt.
Don't be scared by totally inaccurate numbers. Our city has obviously practiced wise financial planning, or it would not have received the highest bond ratings possible from both national bond rating firms.
We will not have higher taxes unless and until we vote for a bond measure.
Karen Jacobson is a certified public accountant who owns a business and property in Lake Oswego.