DALLAS - Following public comment on whether to impose a construction tax in the Dallas School District, the board on Monday evening unanimously voted to table the idea.
At least three district patrons shared their concerns about the implementation of Senate Bill 1036, the Construction Excise Tax/Impact Fee. The tax would be assessed on new residential and new nonresidential construction. The dollars collected could be used for capital improvements, which include: cost to acquire property; facility improvements; and equipment and furnishings.
This tax was never intended to replace bond measures, which would be necessary for new construction.
Westview Products owner Bob Ottaway, a former chairman of the Dallas School Board, indicated that he felt that no part of this tax makes any sense.
He went on to say, "that the district has never had a targeted tax that went after new construction and commercial development, from the retired citizen who builds at Dallas Retirement to commercial businesses, whether new or expanding that provide needed jobs. Why would we penalize these people who will help Dallas grow and be paying property taxes to support our schools?"
Ottaway also added that "it would be counterproductive when the district would need to go out for construction bonds to build the needed facilities for the district."
James W. Fowler, owner of Dallas-based James W. Fowler Affiliated Companies, had a letter read to the board "expressing their support of the Dallas School District implementing an excise tax on new construction, pursuant to the recently enacted Oregon Senate Bill 1036."
It went on to say that "we continually witness the impact schools have on a community. A strong school district and quality school facilities are crucial to the future growth and vitality of a community such as Dallas."
Kevin Crawford, attorney and former member of the Dallas School Board, expressed his concerns for the need of the tax. He noted that the tax would place an undo burden on new homes in the district and increases home prices.
"We need to be competitive in the market in order for our community to grow and be viable," Crawford said.
He was also concerned about the impact that the tax would have when seeking bond support to build needed facilities to house and give students the learning environment that they need to be successful.
In other business, the board reluctantly accepted the retirement requests of Chris L. Schmitke, who teaches at LaCreole Middle School, and Vickie Boer, principal at Oakdale Heights Elementary School. They will serve until the end of this school year.