I gave the council some suggestions about how to fund street repairs without a giant 13-cent gas tax on May 21. The council may talk about ideas for street repair at the workshop on June 11. Here are my ideas:
• A $2.00 fee on all events in Pendleton, no exemptions. If the event sells tickets they can collect the fee. Would be like the transient room tax.
• Parks and Recreation, raise fees for use if city facilities to the national average of 60% of the cost of operation. We are now at about 25% of the cost. The rest is from our taxes.
• Look to letting private companies bid on maintenance of our parks. Sell any park that gets little use.
• Look at Central Services; every time there is a raise in utilities or other income Central Services gets a cut. Does it really need the extra money?
• Work with the county to help with engineering, planning and other ways to work together to cut costs. Our new county commissioner, John Shafer, had that in his platform.
Here are two things that need to stop before any new taxes or fees are imposed:
• Stop giving money to the Downtown Association. Time to fund their own expenses.
• Don’t give the airport anymore money from the General Fund to pay down the more than $2 million owed to the other city funds. Airport should be self-supporting now and able to pay back its debt to the other funds.
The last few will not be popular, but if the city is in as bad of shape as this administration wants us to believe, they should be considered:
• Ambulance service could be turned over to a private company.
• Consolidate the police department with the sheriff’s department.
• Look at consolidating the fire department with other fire departments.
Governments always try to make the voters think that the only way to solve a problem is to raise taxes or fees. I do not believe that is true.
Rex J. Morehouse