Estacada should support fire bond, sewer-rate increase

With mail-in ballots in hand for the Nov. 6 election, Estacada residents are facing decisions on whether to reject or approve two funding measures — a bond to fund a new fire station and an increase of sewer rates.

It’s time to vote yes.

Sewer rate increase

For the waste water measure, there is no question that this is needed. As you’ll read in our front page article of today's edition, you’ll understand that the city is in desperate need of a new waste water treatment plant.

The need is of no fault of the city's, but simply an unfunded government mandate that requires a level of water treatment that is impossible to achieve with the city's 30-year-old facility.

The measure, 3-414, asks voters to accept a $2.85 monthly increase in their sewer bill.

In this economy, an extra $34.20 annually might seem significant to some, but consider this: it’s much cheaper than the alternative.

This plant is going to be fixed and upgraded in the next three years. The question is, who will pay for it?

Option 1 is to vote yes and pay for the upgrade under the current system.

Option 2, however, is to vote the measure down and save yourself the money. In the long run, however, this might lead to privatization of the plant, which surely would raise the sewer rates much more than $2.85 a month.

In fact, the city of Estacada runs the plant at cost, meaning you don’t pay any more than it costs them to run it. If a private company comes in, the only thing on their mind would be profits.

Under option 2, it’s safe to say Estacada’s rates, which are $30 less than the state average, wouldn’t stay that way for long.

The Estacada News strong recommends a yes vote on Measure 3-414. There simply is no other alternative.

Fire District bond

For more than a decade, the folks of Estacada have voted against bond measures to provide funding for improvements to the fire station. And for years it might have made sense.

This year, however, is not one of those years.

Estacada is blessed to have dozens of people who volunteer their time and effort as firefighters. These folks give their time as service to the community they care about.

How have they been repaid? With years of being told they weren’t worth an increase of a few dollars a month in property taxes.

They’ve been left to sleep in a building that's on the verge of falling down, under a roof that's been in need of repair for years and in sleeping quarters that fit only a couple at a time.

Just a few months ago, a similar fire bond failed by 13 votes. Voters were concerned it was too much money and that it wasn’t the right time.

The bond organizers heard those concerns and did their best, coming back with a scaled-down project that is more than $1 million cheaper.

With a trimmed down bond now in front of Estacada voters, this has to be the year. Thanks to the folks who risk their lives, forego their sleep and give their time to make sure we’re all safe by giving them a new building to call home.

This isn’t a question of whether they need a new building. It’s only a matter of how much longer the old one can really stay standing.

Vote yes on measure 3-409.

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