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Bonds aim to improve buildings, equipment.

Byline: RANDI BJORNSTAD The Register-Guard

NORTH BEND - City officials hope two things will happen between now and the May 21 primary election: More than 50 percent of registered voters will return their mail-in ballots, and more than half of those voting will support extensive refurbishing of city buildings, streets and equipment.

If Measure 6-83 passes, the city will sell $5 million in general obligation bonds to carry out a variety of projects in the police, fire and parks departments as well as repair and resurface many city streets.

The city also has placed a smaller, two-year "local option" property tax levy - Measure 6-82 - on the ballot. The levy covers items that have a useful life of five to 10 years while the bond issue provides money for long-term improvements lasting 15 years or more.

Because of Oregon's "double majority" requirement for passing tax measures in non-general elections, the city's financial measures will be approved only if more than half the city's registered voters cast ballots, and more than half of those voting vote "yes."

Here's what the city will do if voters approve the $5 million bond measure:

Spend $556,000 to remodel and update the police department, which hasn't had a major overhaul in 40 years. The building doesn't meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, according to information provided by City Administrator Gary Combs.

It also has "cramped and crowded offices, an unmanageable heating system, narrow halls and doorways, poor air circulation, an outdated electrical system, windows that leak, little space for storage, no proper waiting area for citizens ... (and ) both interior and exterior deterioration."

Buy two new fire engines sometime during the 20 years. Two of the older engines -1968 and 1974 models - look "bright and shiny, thanks to years of dedicated care," fire officials say, but both have undergone major repairs and no longer can be used on a day-to-day basis. The two new engines would cost $440,000.

Make significant repairs to the city swimming pool at a cost of $427,800. The pool now can't accommodate many people with disabilities. The bond money would rectify that problem as well as improve changing areas and restrooms, add a physical therapy and weight room, remodel the front lobby and repair the roof.

Spend $2.45 million to repair and resurface streets, buy street-repair equipment and pay for a city shop building instead of paying rent to use a structure at the airport. About $1.5 million would go directly to street repairs, with $670,000 allocated to build the shop building. Purchase of a dump truck, pavement roller, tow paver and grader would cost $275,000.

Provide $40,000 to the parks department to improve play equipment for children in local parks. About $15,000 of the amount would go to resurface the McPherson tennis court.

Upgrade accounting software in the city's finance department, at a cost of $50,000, and upgrade network department computers at a cost of $20,000.

The remaining $1 million would be required to service the bonds, including $618,000 for underwriting and other costs and $389,000 for reserves.


What: Measure 6-82 - A two-year tax levy to provide $580,860 for police computer equipment, firefighting and emergency response equipment, three public works vehicles and finance-related computer hardware.

Measure 6-83 - A 20-year general obligation bond to provide $5 million for improvements to a variety of city buildings, facilities and equipment, including streets, parks, fire engines, law enforcement offices and computer accounting software.

Cost to taxpayers: Levy - 78 cents per $1,000 of assessed value (about $72 for a house assessed at $92,000).

Bond - 92 cents per $1,000 of assessed value (about $85 in the first year and declining to about $63 in the 20th year for a house assessed at $92,000).

Special requirements: For both elections to be valid, more than 50 percent of registered voters must return ballots, and more than half of those must vote "yes."

Information: Call City Hall at 756-8500.


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Title Annotation:Politics
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 13, 2002
Previous Article:Tax assessor, law judge don't face opposition.
Next Article:Firefighters, police would get new gear from levy.

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