The public, the gasoline dealers, the hotels, the restaurants, and the large event organizers all oppose increased fees or additional taxes to raise revenue for a city street repair program that's promised to be completed in 10 years, and city officials don't understand why. With very little business experience, they really can't comprehend how thin retail profit margins really are all, too eager to raise fees and taxes as the sole solution to increase revenue.

Rather than make any significant budget cuts, they continue to increase budgets by planting more trees and managing a bicycle trail program, while adding additional dog and nature parks rather than addressing the city's real problem, crumbling infrastructure. They assume residents would rather drive on pothole-riddled streets than cut any "quality of life" programs. As with all past city sponsored surveys, their conclusions are based on a very small sample of the city's population.

Yet, they claim overwhelming community support for more gas taxes and an event fee. They'll be basing their decisions on just over 400 returns, while the silent majority remains just that, silent. The fact that so few surveys were completed should be a signal the public has very little support for any of the city council's proposals. Convinced, and rightly so, the council is going to unilaterally raise existing fees and institute more should any tax ballot measure fail.

The city council takes great pains to profess their openness and transparency with periodic reminders that meetings are open to the public. However, with the public barred from any discussion on topics included in the agenda, it's really a waste of time to attend city council meetings, workshops, or those of the Pendleton Development Commission. There's a reason those public town hall meetings were so poorly attended, and I doubt it's because residents are bubbling over with joy at the city's plans for raising more revenue.

Not long ago in a discussion concerning the effects of a proposed gas tax on overall prices in the local area, a councilor professed this: The price of gas to me is inconsequential, when I need it, I get it. Unfortunately, low and fixed income residents don't have that luxury, must shop around, and in many cases, buy out of town where prices are often cheaper.

Rick Rohde

Pendleton

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