Lakeside is somewhat like the wild, wild west. They are growing and need a way to pay for more law enforcement services.
Lakeside is the largest city in Oregon with no permanent tax income. There are 12 other Oregon cities that lack a permanent property tax (such as Depoe Bay, Dunes City, and Tangent) but none of them are as large as Lakeside. Lakeside depends on limited revenues generated by sewer payments, transient taxes, licenses, permits, grants, and fees to operate and maintain city services.
In November, the citizens of Lakeside will be asked to vote in favor of a dedicated five-year single-item tax levy to cover the development of a Lakeside Law Enforcement Account. This levy will increase property owner taxes by $1.25 per thousand dollars of their Coos County assessed value. For instance, a $150,000 home would experience a modest increase of $187.50 in their property taxes.
If approved, the City would begin receiving tax monies in January which would be placed in a law enforcement savings account. They hope to have enough in that account by 2020 to implement the contract. By 2021, Lakeside would have Coos County Sheriff Deputies on the streets of Lakeside. The contract would provide 32 hours of additional and dedicated coverage (in addition to what the county deputies already provide) each week, plus 8 administrative hours, and create a dedicated police presence in the city limits which includes patrolling, investigating, and deterring crime and other nuisance violations.
“It is important to me, as an elected official,” said James Edwards Lakeside mayor “to provide public health, safety, and welfare.” Edwards indicated that they have made an “all out” effort to educate people in the community on the issue” by creating an educational brochure. The brochure was developed by a committee to help answer anticipated questions and distributed to local citizens. Edwards even spent some of his own monies to mail the levy’s brochure.
The modest tax increase will give the city the option to contract additional law enforcement services from the Coos County Sheriff’s Office in 2020. Estimates top $189,000 for the first year (which includes a vehicle, equipment/maintenance, fuel, overtime, normal hours/benefits, etc.) and reduce in subsequent years.
“It is strictly up to the citizens,” Edwards noted explaining that this levy is “the best way to go about getting what we can and see if it [the levy idea] works.” Lakeside residents reported 324 cases of crime for the first six months of 2019 based on the Coos County Sheriff’s Office of Public Information. The list shows a mix of relatively minor crimes (such as assault, burglary/theft, traffic/vehicles, trespass, animal complaints, etc.).
Law enforcement is considered a critical infrastructure element for community development. The development of a safe and orderly community was recognized by the Lakeside City Council as the first principle for the future city. Hopefully, this levy will help them begin to achieve that goal.
REFERENCE: Law Enforcement for Lakeside? Brochure and interview with James Edwards
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