7/2 Letters to the Editor (

*Rec Center is unfair competition*Oregon's reps fail to do jobs*No more taxes for rec center*M-I rec center plan is foolish*Taxes shouldn't pay for rec center*Public can't afford rec center taxes



Rec center is

unfair competition

I am opposed to the creation of a park and recreation district in Monmouth and Independence with the purpose of building a recreation center.

The proposed center is not just being built for children. The plan includes a full fitness club for adults. They would sell memberships and directly compete with the two fitness clubs already in Monmouth. This recreation center will not be free to the public. There will be a fee to join and substantial monthly dues.

This recreation center would not only be on donated land, but would be nonprofit, free from paying property taxes and supported by your taxes. This is not a real fair competitive situation for private businesses which invest their own money for land, building and equipment and pays property taxes.

The governments of Monmouth, Independence and Polk County should not be involved in any business that could be operated by private enterprise. We only need to look at the Dallas Aquatic Center to realize the financial holes government can create.

To fund this recreation building, the proponents want voters to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds for $7.25 million. In addition, they will need to raise $2 million in private donations.

Much of their information is several years old. Who knows what the real costs will be when and if this building project happens.

This year, voters will be faced with a school bond issue, increases in electric, water and sewer rates, along with the slumping economy and high fuel costs. The people and property owners of Monmouth and Independence cannot afford another tax increase.

Please, do not sign the two petitions the proponents are asking for to put this matter on the November ballot.

John McGonegal

Salem

Family grateful

for support

Thank you to a wonderful community from the family of Parker Stewart.

Thank you to Dallas High School and the Polk County Association of Realtors for their fundraisers. Thank you to each of you individually, as I do not know who most of you are, for your generous donations during our time of crisis.

May you all be blessed for the kindness you have given us. Our family's experience has made us realize how much good there is in the world.

Parker's recovery has been a miracle, for which we all are very grateful for and thankful of your prayers and support.

Cathy Stewart

Dallas

No more taxes

for rec center

I am not in favor of a tax increase to support a recreation facility in Monmouth and Independence that we have no clue how much it will really cost.

I pay enough taxes now and am asking all Monmouth and Independence residents not to sign the petition that you will be asked to sign over the next couple weeks: A petition to have on the November ballot a request to approve creation of a recreation district in Monmouth and Independence and a petition that places a request to approve a $7.25 million bond measure. The bond, if approved, will significantly increase our property taxes for a recreation facility we can't even support.

Do not sign this petition.

Larry Kruljac

Independence

Oregon's representatives

fail to do job

In the recently passes Farm Bill, Weyerhaeuser got a $182 million tax reduction.

Polk County lost PILT and Rural School Support, the supposed replacement for now missing O&C timber money. Evidently, Weyerhaeuser is bigger than Polk County and has more clout in Congress.

Two years from now, after they are cut out and gone, Weyerhaeuser will be looking for tax reductions here, too. We will be watching.

Perhaps the Commissioners ought to lobby Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, as it was he who claimed victory in the special interest tax reductions which were in play to keep Plum Creek Timber (PCT) from developing forest lands in Montana.

Montana environmental zealots oppose PCT's plans, so Baucus put special language in the Farm Bill to buy out some PCT land and give Weyerhaeuser a tax break.

Oregon's Peter DeFazio, Darlene Hooley, David Wu, Earl Blumenauer and Ron Wyden all flap their gums with authority, but it was their fellow traveler Baucus who brought home the bacon for timber barons, while Oregon counties got nothing.

Rep. De Fazio's shrill outrage at not being able to find the money for PILT is dishonest at the least.

Democrat Baucus got it, and gave it to the timber barons.

Peter ought to look at his own party first as he searches for the money.

John Thomas Jr.

Independence

Unanswered questions

make plan foolish

The promoters of a Monmouth/Independence recreation center are asking taxpayers for $7.25 million plus interest, but they have not presented a business plan to tell us how they will spend it and how they will run the center.

When a business wants to borrow money from a bank, they have to present a business plan or they don't get the money. It would be foolish to authorize the expenditure of $7.25 million without requiring the promoters to produce and make available a business plan.

Promoters say this recreation center is based on the plan of the Sherwood YMCA, which charges $75 to join the YMCA plus $879 for a family of four each year to enter and use the building.

Is the YMCA going to run this building? The promoters are YMCA board members. As you all know, the YMCA is a religious organization that has traditionally been funded with private donations only. Do you taxpayers want to pay for a YMCA building?

Who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the building? Is it you, the taxpayers? Take a look at the Dallas Aquatic Center.

We do not know enough to support this matter. I urge you not to sign the petition to put this on any ballot.

Carolyn Baker

Independence

Taxes shouldn't

pay for center

Secret? Yes. Plot? Yes.

The "plot" is against the Independence and Monmouth taxpayers who pay the highest tax rates in Polk County. Independence paid $15,000 for this secret M-I YMCA action plot from the Public Affairs Research Consultants of Independence.

The "secret" is the National YMCA has a 25,000 minimum population guideline, and our twin cities only have 16,000. The YMCA will go broke.

A worthy YMCA is donor built, but smart donors like corporations are not deceived and know these guidelines.

Ah, but wait. The taxpayers are not smart. We can fool them. Have the renters and taxpayers pay $7.25 million. Create a new tax district. The 10 M-I YMCA members, Greg Ellis, Mayor John McArdle, Dr. John Hunter, Tim Barry, the Joost Vanderhaves, the Don Edigers, Darin Silbernagel and Joe Penna are responsible -- some live outside this new tax district.

The 31 action item plot is now at action item 10. This is what Ellis and Penna called the plan in the public hearings. They now need 1,071 twin city voter signatures to get this on the November ballot.

Do not be fooled. Don't sign the petition. You would pay taxes for 30 years for the M-I YMCA building regardless. Then you would pay $879 per year to join and use the YMCA you financed.

National statistics show that local fitness centers go broke when a YMCA arrives. The final result is another empty building in Independence on Monmouth Street -- the YMCA, and no fitness centers.

Norman Farb

Independence

Public can't afford

rec center taxes

Can you afford more property tax increases? Stop it now. Get the message to the proposers of this Monmouth-Independence YMCA project to find other funding sources and get out of our pockets.

The cost to each of us for this recreation facility will not stop with the $7.25 million bond proposal to build it. There will be additional costs. They don't have any idea what the total costs will be until it's too late. If it can't sustain itself, who will pay for the operations and maintenance of this facility?

Do not sign the petitions asking voters to place these issues on the November ballot: A special taxing district and a second petition asking for a bond measure to increase property taxes for at least $7.25 million. The amount would help build a recreation facility that cannot support itself and will generate a significant increase in property taxes for all Monmouth-Independence residents. Say no to the tax increase.

Monmouth residents are facing utility increases per May 28 Itemizer-Observer article: Sewer rates increase 15 percent at an annual cost of $333 per resident; monthly water bills increase by 6 percent, with flat fees for 5/8- and 3/4-inch residential water lines increasing to $10.10; water rate increase to $1.45 per cubic foot; power costs increase by 5 percent with a new base fee of $9.93 and the energy rate is 7.05 cents per kilowatt hour. Total average utility bills will increase by $9.

City Manager Scott McClure said the decision sets annual electricity increases for the next two years and water/sewer increases for the next three years starting in July.

First gas price increases, then utility increases, and now possible property tax increases. What's next? Just say no.

Victoria Lynn

Independence



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