Possible $4 million levy to be discussed

The money would be earmarked for public safety items

DALLAS -- Things have gotten tight on Court Street.

The Dallas City Council will consider asking voters to support a new public safety tax, possibly as early as November.

The possibility of a levy will be discussed at workshop Thursday, May 9, at Dallas City Hall.

Officials could seek a $4 million bond.

That money would cover a training facility, remodeling the fire station, buying a fire ladder truck and renovating the Dallas Civic Center for use as a new police station.

The police station expansion would meet the needs of a growing population.

Currently, Dallas police fill three separate sections of City Hall.

Such an arrangement leads to confusion, said Police Chief Jim Harper. "It's cramped and convoluted."

"It makes it hard for interviewing when you have to lead people around and downstairs."

The expanded civic center would eliminate some of the confusion of having police officials in separate offices.

"There won't be communication issues when our hub is centrally located," Harper said.

"It makes a difference."

Having a larger police facility would make it easier for officials to serve the public, Harper said, because locating them would be less of a challenge.

"When you're one-on-one you're not worried about keeping people directly connected."

If councilors decide against a seeking a public safety levy this coming November, the next likely opportunity wouldn't come until November 2004.

Oregon's double majority law -- requiring a 50 percent voter turnout in addition to the majority's support -- does not apply in even-year November general elections.

That rule has the effect of moving most money measures to such general elections.

When factored into the City of Dallas' proposed budget, the $4 million bond helps the budget increase $3 million over last year's figure. Without the bond, the city's total budget would actually authorize less total spending than last year's.

The Dallas City Council will talk about a proposed budget levy during a workshop from noon to 1:15 p.m. Thursday, May 9, in the Dallas City Council Chambers.

The meeting is open to the public.

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